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Takeru Kobayashi Downs 69 Hot Dogs at Unofficial July 4 Contest

By Patrick Hedlund | July 4, 2011 3:32pm | Updated on July 5, 2011 7:23am

By Patrick Hedlund

DNAinfo News Editor

FLATIRON DISTRICT — Talk about guts.

Famed competitive eater Takeru Kobayashi chewed his way to an unofficial world record in hot-dog eating Monday atop a Manhattan high-rise — timed to coincide with the annual July 4 competition on Coney Island from which he's parted ways.

The Japanese eater, who claimed the Nathan's title six years in a row from 2001- 2006, chose to battle the lineup of Brooklyn contenders from atop the rooftop nightclub 230 Fifth, due to a contract dispute between him and organizers of the Coney Island contest.

As a massive screen simulcast the live coverage of the Nathan's contest, Kobayashi stood at a table nearby and downed 69 dogs in 10 minutes — one better than reigning champ Joey Chesnut's record-breaking 2009 mark, and seven more than Chesnut's winning 62-dog intake Monday.

Kobayashi posed after the contest.
Kobayashi posed after the contest.
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DNAinfo/Patrick Hedlund

Hundreds of spectators packed the roof to watch the gustatory feat, offering chants of "Kobi!" as he neared the world record.

Kobayashi — who weighed in at 140 pounds before the contest and 158 pounds after — said history was made in Manhattan Monday, despite Nathan's organizers refusing to acknowledge the win.

A spokeswoman for Coney Island contest host Major League Eating said she could not comment on Kobayashi's claims of a new world record, except to say that the group did not recognize it as valid.

Organizers said earlier that Kobayashi was not banned from the contest but elected not to participate.

He was famously arrested for trying to take the stage in Coney Island last year after being denied the chance to compete as a result of an ongoing contract dispute with Major League Eating.

Steven Greenberg, the owner of 230 Fifth, said he reached out to Kobayashi after seeing his inglorious exit last year.

"It was a no-brainer, he's such a huge name," he said of deciding to host the championship eater at his nightclub.

"Kobi takes it very, very seriously," he added. "He created it as a sport."

Fans flocked to the rooftop retreat to get a glimpse of Kobayashi in action.

"I always wanted to see him in Coney Island but never had the opportunity," said Marlene London, 39, of New Jersey, N.J., who wore a "Kobi Unleashed" T-shirt as she cheered him on.

"It was terrible what happened to him at Coney Island last year, but he came here and showed he could beat them all."