Gray’s Papaya – a Little Bite of Hot Dog Heaven in NYC.

Photo credit - Yelp
Photo credit – Yelp

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.

Photo credit -Yelp
Photo credit -Yelp

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!

Photo credit - Yelp
Photo credit – Yelp

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!

Photo credit -Yelp
Photo credit -Yelp


Gray’s Papaya – 

Gray's Papaya on Urbanspoon

40 thoughts on “Gray’s Papaya – a Little Bite of Hot Dog Heaven in NYC.”

  1. Ohhhhhh… (Can you hear me moaning from the other side of the Atlantic?) They SO don’t get hot dogs here. When I was in NY last week, I got dog & shake at Shake Shack and ate in the park. If it wasn’t for the radioactive dye they must put in the mustard (okay — I’m a sloppy eater, but my pink sweater will never be the same…) it would have been the perfect meal.

    Holy hey, I just looked at their website and discovered Shake Shack has opened a branch in Covent Garden in London. Anyone up for a road trip?

    1. Hey Barb!

      What? No hot dogs over there? That’s just not right!

      The Shack makes a tasty shake. Now in London too! Yeah, that yellow mustard dye is killer.

  2. I must be the only American that doesnt like hot dogs. Every so often (once a year) i will eat one but it has to be off a grill and practically crunchy with tons of yellow mustard. I do hate that little businesses like this get pushed out. Glad theres one left for yall to enjoy.

  3. I don’t even like hotdogs and I want to eat a hotdog after reading this.

    Also, I’ve seen all of those movies and several of those shows and don’t remember the mention of this hotdog Haven- BUT I probably passed it over without thought- now I wanna go back and watch with intent. Haha.

    Great review, as always. Keep on sharing your tasty wiener.

    1. Hey Starr!

      Really? Go watch some again and now look for it. In Fools Rush In it’s a big thing. Now go shove a tube of tasty meat in your mouth! 🙂

  4. Great place Phil… I now wanna eat a hotdog…
    Cool review as per usual!
    I hope you are doing fine and send you my best wishes.

    Aquileana 🙂

  5. Now I’m hungry. I’ve got to stop reading your posts before lunch.

    My favorite Phil quotes: “Gotta love hot dogs that snap!” – Agreed. “Nitrates be damned!” – At least while you’re enjoying your dog. And, my favorite, favorite: “Gotta rep my hood and my tasty weiner!” – Here’s to your weiner, long may it snap.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  6. Finally, a place in NYC that I’ve actually been to! Those hot dogs were pretty darn delectable and I sadly missed out on the papaya drink. I first heard about it from Fools Rush In and vowed to dine there if I was ever in New York. I’m glad that I was touristy enough to stop in at such an iconic joint. I’m sorry to hear there’s only the one location left. Enjoy it while it’s still there, Phil!

  7. I love a good hot dog or brat a few times a year – it’s too bad your little hole-in-the-wall had to close its other locations. Places like this are part of the culture and I hate to see them go away.

  8. Love me some Gray’s Papaya! Best hot dogs ever, except maybe those at a baseball game. These franks are not health food, but there are worse things! Just wash 2 down with papaya juice and that will make up for any crap you’re eating…right? Every now and then won’t kill you. GP is an NYC institution! Haven’t been in a while. Need to go!

    1. Hey Tracy!

      I know you must have experienced Gray’s! Every once in a while is quite fine to enjoy a treat such as this. Hot dogs are a NYC institution. Thanks for dropping by and commenting!

  9. Oh my…what a great place to indulge a little! I can totally relay on the part that I can never live on a vegan diet! Okay, maybe for a day, here and there. 😛 Gotta give this place a try the next time I visit NYC!

    1. Hey Amy!

      Thanks for dropping by and commenting!

      I agree as some days I need to lay off the meat products. Gray’s is an old school NYC cheap eats spot that I hope never leaves.

  10. You’re not freaking sorry!!! And you know why? Cuz you’re eating Gray freaking Papaya hot dogs!!! You know, there are some of us Vegan’s and Vegetarian’s who are not into the special diet due to cruelty to animals or because of grossing out at the thought of eating meat. Like me for example; I’m ready to take a bite out of my laptop I’m so damn hungry now!! lmao 😉 Funny enough, every time I watch Fool’s Rush In and see them sitting on that Canyon’s edge stuffing their faces with those loaded dogs, my mouth waters and I hate my location as we have no GP close by! I am able to cheat 1x every 2 weeks and do so engorging myself in those calorie riddled bastards that add to my hips normally. You know…hot dogs, a rare steak, dripping…a thick-ass, juicy, cheeseburger!! Oh Lord, Sunday Sunday, please come!! Although the Papaya drinks sound delish the dogs are definitely the star of that show. 😉 great post sharing now!!

    1. Hey InionMathair!

      Before you sink your teeth into your laptop make sure you cover it with some mustard, relish, and sauerkraut!

      I’m actually on my way to Vegas now and just might go to In N Out Burger! Oh, the gluttony!

  11. I’ve long said one of these days when I go to NYC, I’ll hit up Grays. I love hot dogs, so exploring a good hot dog joint is something I always enjoy!

  12. Great post. I’ve never been there, but I can almost taste it through my screen. Agree 100%, the world doesn’t need to lose these little bits of personal heaven to generic blandness. Calories be damned; if you’re going to live once, live.

    1. Hello Michael!

      Thanks for dropping by my blog and commenting!

      You put it just right! Every once in a while we need to throw caution to the wind and enjoy the simple tasty things in life!

Feel free to comment! We all have opinions!