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.
3. Chelsea Papaya, it’s clean, people were nice in there, but there’s no beer.
2. 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!
2090 Broadway (between 72nd & 73rd St.)
New York, NY 10023