New Yorkers Spend $105 Million On Hot Dogs. Is That All?

I was flipping through Instagram (BTW, if you have an account, I’m at @joycehuang1126), and saw two people commenting on a picture of the sign that said “New York City residents spend $100 million on frankfurters at the grocery store each year.” It seemed about right to me, but the people leaving comments were saying that they didn’t buy into it. Maybe cause I grew up here, maybe because hot dog prices are rising, I dunno what it was, but I was really curious. Could my food radar be that off? Do New Yorkers not love their hot dogs as much as I thought? I was the only one who believed the number, but then again, I am pretty naïve. So I went to the website of the National Hot Dog & Sausage council to find out. Well, since they had that name and their own .org website, I am assuming that they are legit, at least legit enough for my own purposes. Again, I am very naïve and believe anything I read on signs or on the internet.

According to this council, retail sale wise, New Yorkers spent $105 million on hot dogs last year. 2 points and a gold star for the sign in that picture…which I kind of want for my apartment now. So if you happen to see one, please steal it for me, leave $20 in its place and give it to me.

I got to thinking about it then, probably because I have insomnia and have nothing better to do at 1AM in the morning right now, let me go even further than that. According the 2010 US census, there are 8,175,133 people in New York City. But people usually lie to the census, so I’m going to round that up to 8,500,000 people, which will also make calculations cleaner. Last year I probably spent about $50 on hot dogs. That’s about 2 $6 packs of franks + 12 $3 hot dogs from a restaurant or hot dog stand. If every single person in NYC bought the same amount of hot dogs I did, that would have been $425 million dollars in sales. Say 1/4 of the population didn’t eat meat due to religious purposes or because they were vegetarians, retails sales at $50/person for the rest of the population come out to $318,750,000. Say that same 3/4 of the population didn’t even buy packs of hot dogs and just went to Gray’s Papaya and bought 6 hot dogs for the entire year, retail sales would still be $229,500,000.

So if you think about it, $105 million seems pretty reasonable after seeing these numbers that I am babbling about due to my insomnia.

And the thing about hot dogs in NYC is that you can get it so many different ways. Plain, with ketchup and mustard, there’s sauerkraut, Mexican versions, bacon wrapped ones, I’ve even had ones that have been topped with fried mayonnaise. FRIED MAYONNAISE! It’s no wonder that we can’t stop eating hot dogs in NYC, there’s so much variety, it’s very comparable to dating in this city. Well, my brain has stopped functioning and now all I want is a damn hot dog, which I will get tomorrow, and therefore be contributing to the retail sales again.

Sweet dreams everyone.

-Joyce Huang

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