Two glasses of water were overshadowed by four baskets filled with identical "skyscraper" pastrami sandwiches — exactly 12 ounces of meat straddled by rye bread and weighed for accuracy — that were the center of the eating competition Friday at Tommy Pastrami New York Delicatessen.
Preparing himself to devour two sandwiches as quickly as he could, Daniel Fraley, 27, immediately took the crust off the rye bread and stuffed it into a small container of au jus. He and his competitor, Chris Staggs, 26, topped the enormous sandwiches with mustard and soaked it all in the au jus.
Then they ate.
The two stuffed pastrami and soggy rye bread into their mouths, using two hands, as friends, employees and customers cheered them on and shouted advice.
"Don't wipe your face — just eat," Alesia Staggs said as her brother, Chris Staggs, tried to clean up a little during the competition.