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The "Papaya" phenomenon

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The "Papaya" phenomenon

Wally Pipp | Apr 20, 2006 01:14 PM

As a recently-arrived New Yorker, and one who loves a bargain, I have found the profusion of "Papaya" restaurants offering $1 hot dogs to be a most pleasant surprise. Somehow I never noticed any of these places when I visited as a tourist. I will admit with embarrassment, however, that for a long time I assumed Gray's in the West Village was the original. A couple of weeks ago I ate at the Papaya King on E. 86th, which is obviously much older.

I have several questions related to these establishments:

1) Can anyone provide me with, or point me to, a concise history of the Papaya phenomenon?

2) Does anyone have a comprehensive list of all the Papaya restaurants on the island? The ones that come immediately to mind are as follows:

Papaya King: 86th and 3rd Ave.; W. 14th and 7th (or 8th?) Ave.
Gray's: W. 8th and 6th Ave.; 72nd. and Broadway
Papaya Dog: W. 4th and 6th Ave.; 33rd and 5th Ave
14th Street Papaya: 14th St and 1st Ave
Frank's (??) Papaya: 125th and Lexington
Clinton Street: Delancey St. by Williamsburg Bridge

There must be many more that I'm forgetting or haven't seen.

3) Do these exist in the outer boroughs? I've never seen one in Brooklyn or Queens, though I've spent a fair amount of time in both places.

4) Finally, since this is a food site, is there any difference whatsoever in the hot dogs themselves? They all taste pretty much the same to me, but I'm willing to listen to contrary opinions.

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