He’s the Seabiscuit of Park Slope!
A man with an insatiable appetite ate his way to victory during a local creamery’s annual ice-cream-eating contest on Saturday, becoming the first person to win the Slope’s “triple crown” in competitive eating following his triumphs in two other timed chow downs earlier this year, according to the neighborhood’s biggest small-business booster.
“He shattered all records,” said Mark Caserta, executive director of the Park Slope Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District. “He has the Fifth Avenue Triple Crown!”
Veteran eater Wayne Algenio’s ability to inhale without abandon earned him the top prize at the contest hosted by Fifth Avenue’s Sky Ice, whose proprietor purposely waits for cold weather to settle in before staging the event, where brave competitors are each fed a pint frozen at a rock-solid negative-12 degrees Farenheit.
The ice cream’s temperature is so cold that Sky Ice’s owner Jonathan Bayer bought special spoons for his third-annual contest, after last year’s winner bent his utensil during the competition and used the deformed silverware to his advantage, Bayer said.
“He was able to use the leverage from the bend to eject ice cream from the pint,” he said.
Algenio — a Queens resident whose superhuman stomach earned him first place at such past Kings County competitions as Golden Krust’s 2015 Jamaican Patty Eating Contest — swallowed his pint of ice cream in a stunning one minute and 13 seconds, 28 seconds faster than last year’s champion finished the dessert. And he wasn’t the only winner at this year’s ice-cream-eating contest — 10-year-old Naavah Kanto took first place in a separate, new bracket for youngsters who wanted to try their luck at filling their guts.
Algenio’s recent victory concluded his unprecedented sweep of similar swallowing contests in the neighborhood, including the July empanada-eating competition hosted by Fifth Avenue’s Empanada Loca, and the August pizza-inhaling spectacle staged by Artichoke Pizza just down the block — all three of which Algenio won by simply powering through the pain, he said.
“Don’t stop, because once you do, you slow down and give someone the opportunity to catch up,” the eater said. “I just keep going, even if my teeth hurt, or my mouth hurts, just keep going, and deal with the pain once you’re done.”
Now that he’s won the crown in the neighborhood’s three biggest eating competitions, however, Algenio said his stomach is full of something else — nerves.
“I have a little pressure to defend every title,” he said.
The hungry man who first tried competitive eating in 2012 said he now enters roughly 20 contests annually, which this year included a dumpling-devouring event at September’s Atlantic Antic street fair, where he netted second place and a cool $1,000, his largest cash prize yet.
But Alegnio — who took home a $100 gift certificate to Sky Ice among other treats for his win — said monetary awards take a back seat to any trophy his eternal hunger may earn.
“It’s not really not about the money aspect these days,” he said. “It’s more about having a good time, and, also, I like trophies.”