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Every Fourth of July the best eaters in the world congregate at Coney Island and go head to head in the world's greatest hot dog eating contest. Half of those eaters are women. You might not know that from the media coverage of the contest. After all, the men's eating contest gets broadcast on ESPN while the women's is only ever available online. The women's contest is lucky to get a thirty second spot on the televised broadcast. And Joey Chestnut and Matt Stonie, ranked the number one and two eaters in the world, dominate the press, become trending topics on Facebook,...

Joey Chestnut and Matt Stonie took their prime spots at the center of the table and, from the moment the clock started ticking down, they were both fully focused on the win. For the first few HDBs they were neck and neck but, by two minutes in, Joey Chestnut had eaten to a steady lead. As the minutes ticked down and more hot dogs were eaten it was no longer a question of who would win, it was a question of whether the record would or would not be broken....

I spent Fourth of July weekend in New York. Obviously. It was my eighth visit since my first time in 1999 and my seventh Fourth of July spent in the city since 2007. Whew. I was there, mainly, for the annual hot dog eating contest but, with an extended weekend, I also got a little chance to wander the city. I suppose the more times I end up in New York the less time I spend in Manhattan and the less time I feel the need to do actual things there. This time, I hung out in Park Slope with Amber, who...

On July 4, 2007, at the Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, Joey Chestnut ate 66 hot dogs to Takeru Kobayashi's 63. It was a historic feat: no one had ever out-eaten 6-time champion Kobayashi in hot dogs and some speculated that no one ever would. That day, Joey Chestnut did the impossible. He out-ate the man who couldn't be out-eaten. He brought the victory back to America. I watched this all go down that morning on the TV set in my parents' living room, wishing I was there, in person, to witness that historic event. Most people may think of fireworks...

It was in bar in Sevilla, Spain, many years ago now, when a fellow backpacker asked me what I liked most about traveling. I paused for a moment before saying, "When you're home and wake up the first thing you think is, 'what do I have to do today?' But when traveling you think, 'what do I want to do today?'" I've been home "for good" from traveling for over 8 months now and my life has become a list of have tos. I have to clean before guests come over. I have to do dishes before the entire place starts...

I didn't know Amber until I showed up on her doorstep three years ago to crash on her air mattress in Brooklyn for a few nights. Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago and I was moving in again (this time upgraded to a pull out couch). In the three years in between, I've read every last word of her blog. Seriously, it's one of very few blogs I read cover to cover. She's always up to something interesting. Her photography is amazing. And she's incredibly honest, even when it's something difficult to write about. And I like that...

It was my sixth time in New York but the first time I stepped back and thought, time and time again, "I could live here." I could live in New York. I really think it had to do with the advent of the smartphone, allowing me to be anywhere in the city and figure out anywhere I wanted to go. Or maybe that I didn't walk through Times Square once. Or maybe that everyone I saw was up to something awesome: kite clubs, sideshow performing, backyard s'mores, launching a new company in a day. It's the kind of place where I think...

The one touristy thing I had on my New York to-do list was to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. When Kristin said she'd never done it before either we decided to meet up one afternoon for the trek across the East River. It was a shorter walk than I'd imagined. I somehow had it in my head that the walk across the Brooklyn Bridge was miles and miles, an afternoon, an excursion. Instead, the expedition seemed to be over fairly quickly, but that's OK, it was a lovely walk, a thing to be done....

Every time Molly Schuyler does something, I can count on at least five people sending me a link to it. Which probably says something about both my reputation and hers. There was that time she ate 363 chicken wings in 30 minutes. And that time she ate a 72-oz steak in just under 5 minutes. And then ate another one. The woman is a phenomenon. A few days before my hot dog eating contest I went to Coney Island to watch her eat 5.5 pounds of brains to win Glutton Force 5 and the NYC Zombie Crawl's Brain Bash at the Beach brain eating...

I was a celebrity. Being approached on the street for photos. Getting asked for an autograph at a bar. Receiving random high fives from the crowd. Being told by a mass of self-proclaimed groupies that they were rooting for me. For me. A self-proclaimed groupie myself. I told that group of guys that they picked the wrong girl to cheer for. I told them I came in dead last, far behind all the other totals. I told them I only had qualified by default. But no one cared. "But you did it," they'd say. They'd all say, when I'd sheepishly tell anyone who asked...