Dozens of people with impressive facial hair gathered in Coney Island to compete for titles like “Best Partial Beard and Chops” and “Best Mustache Styled.”
Is this your first competition?
I’m not even supposed to be here. Me and my girlfriend came to Coney Island straight from her niece’s bat mitzvah in Gowanus. I wanted a hot dog and some clams. I’m eating my Nathan’s, and this guy Lou comes up, and he’s like, “Hey, are you going to the beard competition?” I’m like, “Very funny, man.” He leaves and comes back with this other guy, and he’s like, “Tony, this guy’s coming to the competition.” Then I realized he was serious. My girlfriend was hoping for a nice dinner, not a beard competition, but I was like, “Babe, I gotta go with Lou and Tony.”
How’d your beard do?
It was like bringing a knife to a gunfight. Everyone’s dressed up like a colonel, and there’s one guy trying to bribe the judges with cash. And there
I am in my bat-mitzvah khakis.
Do you ever admire other men’s beards?
Well, I love when Sikhs give me a wink on the street. Those guys are beard goals, so it’s a big compliment.
Does the beard cause any problems?
You know, you wouldn’t believe how many people just come up and touch it. I’m like, “Don’t do that, please.”
Do you enter these often?
Yes. I placed eighth at the world competition in Antwerp. I have a vanity license plate that says XLBEARD.
Do you get a lot of attention?
Once someone told me they saw me on a documentary about sideshows. I was like, “I’ve never been in a documentary.”
*A version of this article appears in the September 30, 2019, issue of New York Magazine. Subscribe Now!