Not only have the Blimpies in town been dwindling… the city is down at least two papaya hot dog joints since I’ve been noticing these things. Papaya King, on 7th Avenue and West 14th Street, has shuttered forever and one of the two remaining Gray’s Papaya franchises at 6th Avenue and West 8th Street has also succumbed to developers (the one at Broadway and West 72nd remains open). “Papaya King’s original locale, at 3rd Avenue and East 86th Street, remains in business and makes over a million dollars a year, not bad for a cheap lunch. It was opened by Greek immigrant Gus Poulos as Hawaiian Tropical Drinks in this location in 1932. How did hot dogs get involved? The story goes that this was still a German stronghold (the heart of Yorkville) at the time and the locals requested hot dogs or perhaps bratwurst or knockwurst as accompaniment.”
Also disappeared is the longtime B.Dalton, later Barnes and Noble, book palace across the street.
However, the wailings and teeth gnashings that accompanied the shutdown of Grays were rather redundant. A Papaya Dog franchise, after all, can be found a mere block away, at 6th Avenue and West 4th Street.