One iconic Coney Island corner has gotten an iconic co-naming to go with it.
At a ceremony held on Saturday, September 24, coincidentally the 100th anniversary of Nathan’s Famous, the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues was co-named Nathan & Ida Handwerker Way – to honor the founders of the beloved Brooklyn institution.
“Nathan and Ida Handwerker worked together for over 50 years and were part of the few generations who formed the rich Coney Island culture that is now renowned throughout the nation and all over the world,” said grandson and former Nathan’s Senior Vice President William Handwerker. “It is an honor to celebrate their legacy by memorializing their names on the street corner that houses the original Nathan’s.”
Founded in 1916, the original Nathan’s opened up shop at the intersection when Handwerker, originally an employee of Feltman’s German Gardens – a Coney Island restaurant that charged 10 cents for a hot dog – decided to sell his own hot dogs (created using a secret spice recipe developed by his wife, Ida) for five cents, according to Nathan’s Famous.
“Nathan’s Famous is an integral part of the New York City experience and the American experience,” said Nathan’s executive board member and 26-year President Wayne Norbitz. “The unmatched quality of our hot dogs and fries, and the cultural significance of the Nathan’s Coney Island experience, has helped the brand to thrive for 100 years.”
“The corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues in Coney Island is now known as Nathan & Ida Handwerker Way, after the husband and wife team who grew a hot dog food cart into a brand that is known worldwide,” added Councilmember Mark Treyger, whose district includes Coney Island. “The inspiring story of these two immigrants, who came to this country facing an uncertain future, working hard to create a product that means so much to so many, is what the American Dream is all about. Nathan’s is synonymous with Coney Island, and it is only fitting that we honor Nathan and Ida 100 years after that first hot dog cart went into business.”