Yesterday afternoon, Eater asked readers for their remembrances of the freshly-shuttered Gray's Papaya on Sixth Avenue. Here, now, are ten of our favorite responses from the inbox and the comment section. A special thanks to everyone show shared a story, and if you have one more to add, feel free to drop it at the bottom of this post.
Cristina: Second only to the pre-pubescent feelings I felt after watching Matthew Perry and a pregnant Selma Hayek enjoy a box of Gray's Papaya atop the Grand Canyon in the highly underrated rom-com Fools Rush In, is the memory of my first dog from the 6th Ave Gray's: After my parents gave us kids a brief, slightly off-color tour of "places only strippers and dope dealers hang out," we all enjoyed a hot dog dinner, standing up. I was eight, and it was the best bite I'd ever eaten. I also learned that day that contrary to my grandfather's sage advice, mustard on hot dogs is, in fact, not "just for communists." It's delicious.
Rob: About 18 years ago, when my son was three or four we'd go there for a men's lunch or night out. I would sit him on that little stainless counter and we'd share a papaya drink and each eat a dog. I have a picture of him eating that dog. It's one of my favorites.
Wilson F.: Pretty Sad. My entire teenage years revolved around Gray's... as a meeting spot or as the ending to a great night. I spent countless nights at Gray's... be it coming or going to Smalls Jazz Club, the Blue Note Jazz Club, NY, Hitting up NYU, the Villlage Cafes... Washington Square Park. So many memories. I've met Dave Chappelle, DJ Dimitry (Deee-Lite) and John Leguizamo just standing outside of Gray's. #RecessionSpecial Give me two with onions and a Papaya.
Scott C: For just over 25 years, I've eaten those hot dogs, on that corner (though there were the occasional road dogs), at all hours, with I don't know how many different people, me in every condition imaginable (plenty of them not so good), and at times without enough money to pay for anything, and I do mean anything else.
Katinka: How many nights, years, no-decades have I ordered two to go, one with mustard and sauerkraut, the other with onions? Late one night as I ate, the second dog jumped off the bun and rolled into the gutter. I was so drunk I seriously considered retrieving it. I got such a kick out of the social and political message signs; that's how you knew it was a bona fide independent. Who the hell wrote those, anyway?...Although I have to admit that the"Recession Special" got a little pricey the last few years, it was the still the cheapest NY snack around. RIP, Gray's Papaya!
Jordular: Many years back, after a night of heavy drinking, a friend and I found ourselves in need of food in the worst way, but we were super short on cash. As my friend counted change to see if we could afford two dogs, a homeless man jiggling a few coins in his hand approached us. As he got closer my friend, who was focused on counting pennies, said, "It's okay, I think i have enough." I then said to her, "Aileen, I'm over here." Thank God she didn't take the change from the poor man's palm who was clearly asking for change, not offering it.
HeWho: This summer I saw professional photographer taking pictures of a bride and groom outside Gray's. I said to myself, "Those two are going to make it."
Katie: This is the first thing I ever ate in NYC. Landed from a 24 hour flight from Australia via Seoul and was staying at the Jane. Waltzed in just before midnight in a giddy jetlagged haze for my first taste of the city.
Masterofcermonies: I used a quick lunch break jaunt to the Gray's on 37th Street to vet whether my now girlfriend was a serious prospect. Had gone to all three locations for years, now with this one closed I'll be hitting up the UWS one more for sure. Let this city never be without relatively inexpensive hot dogs and papaya draaaank for as long as it stands.
Steve F: It was March of 2009. around midnight on a Saturday night, and I decided I wanted hot dogs after a movie, so my friend and I took a trip to this Gray's. After enjoying two dogs with everything and an orange drink, we exited to find a couple arguing on the street. They were dressed really fancy. Girl was in a cocktail dress, guy in a really nice suit. She was screaming and crying, he was ignoring her, hailing a taxi. And then she yelled something I will never forget. "I TOLD YOU I WAS IN PENTHOUSE, NOT HUSTLER!"
· All Coverage of Gray's Papaya [~ENY~]