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March 15, 2011

Papaya King @1:07 am
Upper East Side

Okay, it’s Monday evening and if you’ve been following this blog, you know what that means—The Papaya Wars continue! Tonight I’m traveling to the Upper East Side. There’s a Papaya King up there and I read on Grub Street that it got a makeover last September. Grub Street reported that there’s vintage photos in here and one of Anthony Bourdain in the hotdog house. So it’s off to Papaya number five, to see how they fare. Oh, and I hope you realize that the Papaya Wars are brought to you exclusively via MAD, you won’t find this reporting anywhere else. And yeah, I know it’s because I’m making the whole thing up, but still, it sounds good. Right?

I had to work late tonight, it's almost one in the morning and a little deserted outside on this Monday night.

We'll catch a cab out here on 6th, I'm tired and want to get this shit over with can't wait to start this fun evening of mayhem and hot dogs.

And here we are headed to the Upper East Side, we'll be there in minutes.

Wow, this looks like a good Papaya!

I love their neon, let's go get a dog, I'm in the mood for this all of a sudden!

The hot dog pictures look inviting, but the door is locked, what's going on here?

This fellow told me through the glass that they were closed. Closed? Papayas never close. This is sad news, indeed!

And it's a shame, this looks like a first-class Papaya King...except it's closed.

You may be the original, but you go to bed too early, Papaya King. What about all of us late-shift workers who long for a dog at one in the morning?

I wish I could back this boast up...but you're closed!

One last ebony and ivory, ketchup and mustard photo. Shot through the window. So close...but yet so far away. Sob!

Lets see if there's anything else open, this whole neighborhood is kind of dead.

Sheesh! This is the only all-night hot doggery on the block open all night. This is my cue...

To get back in a cab...

To come home and say hello to my little friends. Goodnight everybody and see you after dark.

Okay, I got home and did some research. I found out from a review in New York magazine that they close at midnight on weekdays and are only open till two in the morning on weekends! What kind of a sorry-ass Papaya King is this? I thought they all were open 24 hours. Well, it certainly doesn’t bode well for their rating in the Papaya Wars, here’s the new numbers. As always the rankings go from worst to the best.

5. Papaya King on the Upper East Side, I have no clue what this place is like because they close at midnight. They may be the original and the oldest in Manhattan, but still, they should be up all night to wage war against the 7-11 down the street. Come on, those clowns are selling hot dogs all night, where’s your fighting spirit, Papaya King? You disappoint me, sadden me and now I’m crying Papaya tears. They’re tasty!
4. Hell’s Kitchen Papaya, because it’s not there anymore.
3. Chelsea Papaya, it’s clean, people were nice in there, but there’s no beer.
2. Gray’s Papaya on the Upper West Side, it brings back good memories and the signage is nice, but there’s no beer here and I don’t know if I’ll ever get that horrible taste of the papaya drink out of my mouth or mind.
1. Penn Station Papaya...they’ve got beer!

Last night I Twittered about this cruel and bitter Papaya moment, and the Papaya King took note. Here’s the Tweet’s.

I posted a twitpic of the closed hotdog hut.

They replied with this Tweet.

And so, the dance begins! I'll let you know on further updates.

If they stay true to their word and stay open later, I’ll pay them a return visit and maybe their rating will improve. I’m nothing but fair...in the Papaya Wars!

Stay tuned to see who wins in the ratings of the Papaya Wars only here on MAD!

Papaya King
179 E. 86th St. (Near Third Ave.)

Further reading: New York Magazine, Time Out New York, Eater and A Fine Blog.

Some Things I Did Before Work Today
Listened to Joan Jett’s Greatest Hits.
Read some news items about Japan.
Got freaked out.
Drank a bottle of diet Mountain Dew.
Obsessively checked my blog stats.
Combed my hair in a thousand ways.
But I came out lookin’ just the same.


We won't follow or imitate,
We can break away.


Reader Comments (27)

I kinda like this new thing,,,"things I did today". As long as you have time to listen to music,, everything else works out.

March 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAl

If they're truly sorry, they'll invite you back for a special late night hot dog and tour of the place. If I was in last place in the Papaya Wars, that's what I'd do. And screw 7-11!

March 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBarfly

Cosmo Kramer: "If you're not gonna be a part of a civil society, then just get in your car and drive on over to the East Side."

March 15, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercp

Yo...Papaya King...as far as I'm concerned, everclear and orange juice is nature's own revitalizer Ha, ha ha...uuuuurrrk!

March 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJaws the Cabbie

@Al: Music is the soother that gets you through this horrible thing called, "daytime."

@Barfly: I hope they take your advice!

@cp: Kramer loved the Papaya dogs!

@Jaws: Cheers to that!

March 15, 2011 | Registered CommenterMarty After Dark

loving the papaya wars! and the fact that the "king" tweeted you back and apologized was a classic moment here! oh the power you wield! lol!

March 15, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterrita r.

NEVER EAT THESE ... EVER ..... trust me ........


March 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGENE

@rita r: I don't have the power, it's all done by the man behind the curtain!

@GENE: Thanks for the warning! Those things look like vomit wraps!

March 15, 2011 | Registered CommenterMarty After Dark

In the ongoing Papaya Wars...MAD win this round as the King waves the white flag and surrenders.

@Gene: Vomit Canelloni anyone?

w/o hesitation...damn clacky looks like you are drinkin" better stuff than "45"

gene...you dog that link even though it stated sumthin' bou t packed with...awesome reminded me of the "closing" scene of "pink flamingos"...

all MAD followers...we should...no no no...we should request a MAD "24 hour day" UES...

damn way off topic...great tunes/videos....

"my body stunk but i kept my funk"


March 15, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterraginrr

Maybe the UES Papaya shouldn't even be considered in the MAD Papaya canon! You might as well try writing about the NY Public Library after dark - it doesn't happen and is irrelevant to your beat

(unless you're going to start breaking into places, that would be something to write about too I suppose)

March 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHandel

@Clacky of Bunt's Downunder: Thanks, it's good to be the new king!

@rr: Great lines in that song! I always loved: "On the Peking Ferry I was feeling Mary." Rod Stewart wrote great lyrics back in the day.

@Handel: The only reason I'm keeping them on is that they did Tweet back and say they'd try to stay open late, so we'll see what develops. Breaking into places is a great idea! What did you say your address was again?

March 15, 2011 | Registered CommenterMarty After Dark

Oh sad. The dog with the onions and peppers on it looked so good. Awesome that they responded to your tweet though. Ahh the internets. Don't tell anyone but I like gas station hot dogs. Only place to get them here though. I might have to see if my grill still works and cook some up because you keep talking about them!

March 15, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkari

Love reading your papaya wars. Love the blog too.

March 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMelanie

@kari: Your secret is safe with us! If you fire up the grill, send in a photo!

@Melanie: Thanks, glad you're enjoying the blog and the Papaya Wars. Stay tuned, there's more Tweets from the Papaya King today! I'm going to go check out your blog now. Here's a link for all of you:

March 16, 2011 | Registered CommenterMarty After Dark

Papaya War History: (A.K.A. Gee you looked up wiki, GG.)

The original Papaya King was opened in 1931 on the corner of 86th St. and Third Ave. on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.
Over the years, the chain has had numerous competitors, including Gray's Papaya (The chain was founded by a former partner of Papaya King in 1973) and Papaya Dog, open around the city. In 1976, Nathan's Famous set up shop next door to Papaya King, and a "hot dog war" ensued. Nathan's cut the price of its hot dogs to 35 cents (normal was 50 cents), while Papaya King sold its hotdogs for a quarter. Six months later, Nathan's capitulated and left the block.

March 16, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercp

Pumpable "cheese" goop on a dog?!?!?! GENIUS! Me hungry.

March 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBiff

No beer in my fridge! You'd be disappointed

There is that Papaya Dog around the corner though - 14th and 1st, not sure what to tell you about it except they write "LOVE" and other messages on the cheesesteaks displayed in the window

And, that is decent of PK to acknowledge your journey on twitter. It's not them, it's the UES

March 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHandel

@cp: Thanks for the history notation!

@Biff: Those dogs looked good!

@Handel: I forgot about that one! I'll go there next Monday and tell them you sent me! Let me know if you want to come along and be a guest star on the blog! There's further talk with the King today, I just have to put it together now. I'm just waking up and hating morning. Mountain Dew time!

March 16, 2011 | Registered CommenterMarty After Dark


Excuse me as I am not from NYC. I wanted to ask I do not understand what papayas have to do with hot dogs. Maybe it is just the Tiki-ness in me but Papayas are more of a tiki food.

March 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTiki Bar Susie

@Tiki Bar Susie: The papaya refers to the papaya drinks they serve in there and they are not good, from what I've sampled! That's why I love it That Penn Station Papaya has beer.

March 16, 2011 | Registered CommenterMarty After Dark

the neon signs were/are great...hell even when not "lit"...first concert...not even sure whatever hey were was called than...sumthing to do w/ dick clark and if memory serves me well lou christie and dion did thier thing...the best was thumbin' out to ohio to catch the stones, thumbin' back to catch bob marley in central park, dropping back into the city to catch the stones at msg all in around nine days...

Neon signs...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neon_sign


March 16, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterraginrr

@rr: You lost? Your comment is in the wrong post! Sounds like you saw some good shows in the day, though! Thanks for the neon link!

March 16, 2011 | Registered CommenterMarty After Dark

damn...the evil computer is fuckin' w/ me again...oh well tomorrows another day...


March 16, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterraginrr

MAD as far as being "lost' am not sure i was ever found...


March 16, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterraginrr

@rr: Ha ha ha!

March 16, 2011 | Registered CommenterMarty After Dark

Papaya is awesome!

January 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara

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