New York, NY
When the history of New York City's Little Italy is written—and it will be written—spare a chapter for the story of Yasir Salem. Maybe Scorsese will direct the movie version, which would be good because then you wouldn't have to read the book. (Seriously, a lot of it would be dry, to put it kindly. Imagine trying to get through sentences such as "The neighborhood retains a majority of mid-19th through early 20th century buildings, usually constructed with brick buildings three to seven stories in height.") Maybe Scorsese's feature will include a scene in which old men of Italian descent debate the merits of pancetta vs prosciutto. Maybe some attention will be paid to Little Italy's earlier incarnation, when it was known as Mulberry Bend. Maybe it will address the neighborhood's emergence as a tourist destination. Who can say? But it will feature Yasir Salem. That much is clear. Since making his MLE debut in 2008, Yasir spent five years on the circuit without a championship title to his name. Then it happened. On September 12, 2013, he ate 31.75 cannoli at Little Italy's Festa di San Gennaro Cannoli Eating Championship for the win. His heart filled with light. His thoughts danced. His mind erased the years of trying and he could see only warmth and calm and peace. The next day he flew to Brunswick, OH, and ate in the Mapleside Farms World Apple Pie Eating Championship. Yasir lives in New York City and is an avid marathon enthusiast, as even the most cursory glance at his Twitter feed will prove.