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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Gray’s Papaya @11:33 pm
Upper West Side

Okay, the Papaya Wars continue tonight. So far we’ve gone to the Papaya in Penn Station, the one that got closed in Hell’s Kitchen and last week we hit Chelsea Papaya. Tonight we’re traveling to the Upper West Side to sample a dog at the first Papaya stand I ever hit when I moved to New York City. And tonight is a first, I’m going to try a Papaya drink for the first time in my life. The excitement is almost too much to endure!  Well, not really, but let’s go anyway.

Okay, it's a little after 11:00 in the night and it's off we go.

We'll be taking the subway to the Upper West Side from the all-too familiar Penn Station.

And of course there's got to be some asshole walking down the escalator when there's a perfectly good set of stairs tight next to it. Asshole!

Through the turnstiles and up to the train we go.

This guy was wailing on the clarinet. I took his photo and threw him a buck.

And look at this, less than two minutes and the train is here! Looks like the start of a charmed evening!

The car is jam-packed, lots of people out on this Monday evening.

And here we are, 72nd and Amsterdam on the Upper West Side. The Papaya is just seconds away.

And there it is, right below the Sleepy's store. Let's go check it out.

Baboom! The Upper West Side Gray's Papaya in all its glory.

And there was entertainment as well. Brian was playing his guitar outside the hot doggery.

Get it? Not yet, but give me a minute to order and I will.

There's an STD joke somewhere here, but I'm not going near it.

Here's a window shot of Robert who was enjoying one of the fine dogs in this establishment.

Let's place our order and check out the dog and a papaya drink.

I had a bit of a communication breakdown with this gentleman. English isn't his first language and I couldn't speak the second one. He nervously posed for this photo. I hope it doesn't bring him any trouble.

And here's tonight's meal, a papaya dog and I ordered the pineapple papaya drink. I'm a little nervous about sampling the drink. It looks a little suspicious.

Okay, the hot dog was great, but the papaya drink was really horrific. If you've ever wondered what fermented rat piss tastes like, sadly, I now can tell you. Aaaahhhh!

This place is open 24 hours, so there's always a bundle of dogs on the grill.

Some of the signs on the wall inside.

Some of the vats that house the evil papaya drinks that I just sampled. I don't know if that taste will ever leave my mouth or mind. Yeccch!

And of course, we have to have the ebony and ivory mustard and ketchup shot. What's disturbing to me is that the kethcup is never labled in these places. It can't be Heinz and that makes me nervous.

They sell polite New Yorker buttons in here with Gray's Papaya at the bottom. After much negotiation and sign language, I bought one for a buck.

And after an even longer negotiation, I got him to snap a photo of me wearing it. Goodnight everybody and see you tomorrow after dark.

This Gray’s Papaya is a popular place. It’s right across from a Subway stop and it’s got the best signage of any Papaya place we’ve been to so far. The crowd is ever-changing in here and it brings back good memories of when I first moved here. Gray’s Papaya has been featured in several movies including: Die Hard with a Vengeance,  You've Got Mail, Fools Rush In and Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. But they don’t sell beer and I don’t know if I’ll ever get that horrible taste of the papaya drink out of my mouth or mind. So, here’s my Papaya order so far (from worst to best):

4. Hell’s Kitchen Papaya because it’s not there anymore.
Chelsea Papaya, it’s clean, people were nice in there, but there’s no beer.
Gray’s Papaya, 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!

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

Gray’s Papaya
2090 Broadway (between 72nd & 73rd St.)
New York, NY 10023

Further reading: New York Magazine, You’ve Got Mail, NYC.com and NY Times.


At the dark end of the street, that's where we'll always meet.


Bonus Photo!

Tim "Clacky" Clack sent in this bonus photo of a meeting between himself and funny guy Billy Connolly! Check out more of his shenanigans at his fine blog, Tales From The Bunt's Side.

Reader Comments (29)

I would of ordered the coconut champagne, though I hope they clean those canisters once in a while. Just like a bar that has a bunch of taps, they develop algae and god knows what else. Mellow song by FBB, was Bernie Leadon in that picture, in the back? later went with the Eagles. Parsons would of been a huge star today.

March 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAl

Loving the Papaya Wars! This was a good one, but the drink was indeed scary! Liking the B&W to color ratio, working out nicely. And cool shot of Clacky with Billy Connolly!

March 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBarfly

Oh, well, hey...a shot or two of Everclear can make even the most abysmal drinks bearable after a couple of belts ...or so I've found! Haw!

March 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJaws the Cabbie

You hit another one out of the park, Marty! A+ on the Nightcap.

Yes, what IS IT with DBs who walk down escalators when there are steps right THERE. I now assume it's some sort of task that must be completed before earning an official membership card to the asshole squandron.

Though I have heard Gray's Papaya name-dropped in movies and television ... I've sadly never been there. I need to remedy that!

note to self: Skip the fermented rat piss

March 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterroadsidewonders

@: Marty

You should have cut that drink with some high octane alcohol.

March 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTerry

So, Gray's Papaya was featured in Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, and Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist had a scene which featured the corner I walk past every morning I'm in NYC to get a coffee, which must mean that I should be featured with a Papaya Dog and a Capp (and three of those maccaroons, OMG) in a future installment of my life. I'm hoping for an early spring release...which looks a lot like what you had in your cup there.

March 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBiff

Hey, Clacky! Nice pic with you and Billy Connolly. You look great, but how'd you get your thumb to do that?

March 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBiff

Gray's Papaya on 8Th Ave & 38 St is Gone .
Is Gray's anatomy related ?
Don't eat a hot dog that looks gray .

@Al: The only drink I'll ever order in a Papaya's again is a beer in Penn Station. I think that is Bernie Leadon in the background. The Flying Burrito Brothers first album, "The Gilded Palace of Sin" is a genius album that gets over looked way too often.

@Barfly: Thanks, glad you're enjoying the series!

@Jaws: Good idea!

@Roadside Wonders: I swear to God, I've obsessed over that fucking escalator in Penn Station since I moved here over 18 years ago. And yes, you should remedy the Gray's situation! Try the one in Penn Station, they've got beer. Let me know when you go and I'll meet you there!

@Terry: You and Jaws think alike!

@Biff: "I'm hoping for an early spring release...which looks a lot like what you had in your cup there." Ha ha ha! You STILL gots it Bifferoonie!

@JHwang: Yeah, I mourned the death of that Gray's a few posts ago.

March 8, 2011 | Registered CommenterMarty After Dark

With all the bars in the UWS ... who needs beer at Papaya's ?? You can have your dogs ... your spiked pineapple drink ... then walk a block, or three, and work off the dogs ... then slop down all the beer you want ! Beer, with a lid, at a Papaya's sounds nasty !

March 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGENE

It look like there something floating in your drink !!

@GENE: Beer, with a lid, at a Papaya's is perfect! The BBC has to try it next time you're in town, you'll see!

@JHwang: Thanks, now I feel a little sick.

March 8, 2011 | Registered CommenterMarty After Dark


March 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGENE

the dog looks tasty but the drink looks scary! i agree that penn station is the winner so far. great shot of clacky with billyconnolly! lots of famous people here at mad lately! loving this blog!

March 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterrita r.

I've been on a hot dog kick lately- that's all I want to eat.

So on my way home from FL, I was supposed to fly through Newark- and then my flight was delayed so I thought I was going to be stuck at Newark overnight- which then I immediately thought- Hey! I can go out with Marty on his nightly jaunt.

But then they rerouted me to go nowhere near Newark. I was sort of bummed, because I had my plans in my head and it would've been fun!

March 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSuzRocks

@GENE: Thanks for the link! I've been meaning to go there for a long time and I'll make a stop there within the next couple weeks. Their hot dogs look and sound great! And they have corn dogs!

@rita r: The drink not only looked scary, it tasted scary. And scary is not a good taste option!

@SuzRocks: It would have been fun to have you along as a guest, we could've done dueling blogs! Maybe next time.

March 8, 2011 | Registered CommenterMarty After Dark

The sign said all drinks 100% natural. Technically rat piss is natural. Caveat emptor.

By the by, I'm the asshole who walks by the assholes checking their phones on the escalator.

March 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercp

@Biff: I didn't know my thumb could do that!
@MAD: Hahaha fermented Rat's piss! I never thought anyone would have the balls to market it as a drink but I say good luck!

@GENE: INRE http://www.crifdogs.com/ Go to photo section. Top row, 3rd column; does she have pretty feet?

March 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercp

@cp: she has nice tater tots !

March 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGENE




March 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGENE

@cp: I've never had a caveat emptor, and there wasn't any on the menu. Do they taste like chicken?

@Clacky of Bunt's: I guess if people will drink Charlie Sheen's "Tiger Blood" they'll drink rat piss too! Thanks again for the photo!

@GENE: I know, I saw that over at Grub Street, another year! I'll be out there a lot this summer. The BBC has to make a trip during the season! I'm hoping a miracle happens and they just leave them be. Thanks for the linkage!

March 8, 2011 | Registered CommenterMarty After Dark

Ok I think you've convinced me. I shall seek out a Papaya dog when I'm in NY in May. I will bring my own drink.

March 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkari

aw it always amazes me...why take moving stars and walk run forward?...damn is one really going gain or extend the end?...sorta pisses me off but sorta makes me laugh...how sick is that?...i know way off topic...tried to follow a couple above links but failed..will leave MAD followers w/ :

JC Denton: [to a guest in a French hostel] How are the drinks here?
Various Characters: Great, if you like rat piss.
JC Denton: Never tried it.
--Deus Ex


March 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterraginrr

@kari: You may want to bring your own ketchup too, there's looks a little dicey!

@rr: I had to Google Deus Ex, not a video gamer, but great quote!

March 8, 2011 | Registered CommenterMarty After Dark

Shorter link: http://twe.ly/XRfb

@MAD ...... that is awesome Ruby's will last one more year, at least ? I've only been to Coney Island once ... and I remember walking past Ruby's and didn't stop in - because I wasn't in the mood for a beer yet that day. I did drink at Peggy O'Neill's and Surf & Turf Grill down there ... but no Ruby's :( Nonetheless, I can visit Ruby's and have all the beer I can stuff into myself this year !!! PARTY !!!

March 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGENE

@GENE: Let's definitely have a Coney Island Day with the BBC this summer! The party is on!

March 9, 2011 | Registered CommenterMarty After Dark

Best place to eat after an Allman Brothers Show at the Beacon. Next time try the orange mango.
Ed Martin has the same pin. NOW I know where he got it.
You should have gotten guitar guy to play Led Zeppelin's Immigrant Song so you could serenade the counter guy.

March 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDuh. WINNING!!!!!

@Duh. WINNING!! The ONLY place to eat after the Allman Brothers run at the Beacon!

March 10, 2011 | Registered CommenterMarty After Dark

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