This is the story of a family business selling frankfurters-in-a-bun at Coney Island, a precinct of Brooklyn famous for its amusement parks.
Even before the tiny store opened in 1916, Coney Island’s illuminations were visible 30 miles out to sea. To inbound immigrants like Nathan Handwerker—a Polish Jew who in 1912 fled poverty, hunger and war—the glow whispered: “This is the land of opportunity.”
Handwerker—who died in 1974—made the most of every opportunity. His business, at its height, sold 75,000 hot dogs in a single weekend.