Summer weekends are here and it’s got me thinking about BBQ’s, hot dogs, and cold beer. There is still nothing like a good beef hot dog grilled to perfection when you get that snap from biting into it. Gray’s Papaya is almost synonymous with New York, and their “Recession Special” of a couple of tasty dogs and a sugary papaya drink is a NYC institution. Gotta love hot dogs that snap! Every once in a while while walking the city streets you just get a hankering for something to eat. This is the quintessential quick bite meal. Just a small standing room window counter to hunker down and munch out on your beefy hot dog feast. Open all night and pretty much every day of the year. I have stumbled into this spot and a few of their other locations after a night (or afternoon) of drinking to fill my belly and help soak up the booze. It’s a little hole in the wall hot dog spot that gets non-stop biz from passers bay. I think it’s that intoxicating aroma of hot dog that wafts into your nose as you walk by that lures you in to this divey piece of hot dog Heaven.
It really saddens me though that many of these old school NYC businesses are closing shop. Driven out by greedy building owners and corporations that keep raising rates to astronomical levels. There used to be a mini-chain of these in the city and now this is the last Gray’s left. In their places we see another crappy froyo biz, or some sort of cell phone store, as if we really need more of these. Um, nope. Not that I have anything against frozen yogurt or cell phones as I enjoy both, but once in a while you just crave something tasty, cheap, and maybe even a bit unhealthy to satisfy the taste buds. Nitrates be damned! Give me that hot dog with sauerkraut, onions, mustard, and ketchup. Stat!
Heck, Gray’s Papaya is also a part of pop culture as it’s been featured and/or mentioned on TV in “No Reservations” with Anthony Bourdain, the show Glee, How I Met Your Mother, Castle, Sex and the City, along with movies such as Fools Rush In, You’ve Got Mail, and Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Been mentioned in books and songs too. It’s actually pretty famous and still popular among NYC hot dog lovers.
Fast, cash only, efficient, and delish! It gets the job done. Cough up only $5 and you have a “Recession Special” meal. So much better than a dirty water dog cart, and way better than Nathan’s. I do feel that Papaya King on the UES is a smidge better, but since I live up there I am biased. Gotta rep my hood and my tasty weiner!
Honestly, I don’t care what’s in these things, even if it kills me. Think of it as a once in a while treat. I can never live a vegan lifestyle! I loves me some beef! Sorry, not sorry!
Gray’s Papaya –