The WSJ recently ran a fitting tribute to Gray’s Papaya, still going strong after about 48 years on the UWS. Reading this article, I learned a few important things, including that the original Gray’s began as a Papaya King franchise; and that its Recession Special — two hot dogs and a juice drink for $1.95 — was invented in response to an actual recession in 1982.
Sadly, I haven’t been to Gray’s since the iconic bright-yellow Greenwich Village location (Sixth Avenue and West 8th Street) closed a decade ago. Time does fly. I remember going there for a midnight snack when I lived at the New School dorm in 1999. I liked their piña colada — and the tinny sound of 1950s oldies, playing on WCBS-FM, that spilled onto the night sidewalk with the stark fluorescent light and the smell of burning hot dogs.