I know I have blogged about this location briefly once before in my You’ve Got Filming Locations page, but I think this is one location that is worthy of its very own blog post. So here goes. 🙂 I have long been a fan of Gray’s Papaya, a small hot dog stand/restaurant chain that was started in 1973 on New York’s Upper West Side. Today, 36 years later, it is practically a New York institution. Gray’s serves up the BEST darn hot dogs I have ever eaten in my life. I honestly don’t know what they put in there that makes ’em taste so darn good, but I sure want them to keep doing it! Every year, during my December New York vacation, I gain a few pounds in my stomach region thanks to Gray’s and its fabulous hot dogs. So I was super excited, while watching Sex and the City reruns this past week, to see Gray’s pop up in a Season 5 episode entitled “Plus One is the Loneliest Number”.
That episode centers around the launch party for Carrie’s newly published book – a party for which she has no date. When she leaves the celebration all alone, her limo driver happens to ask her what the party was for. When Carrie tells her that she has just published a book, the driver says that they have to celebrate the occasion and the two stop off at Gray’s Papaya for a midnight snack. And, after hearing about Carrie’s new book, the Gray’s worker gives them the hot dogs for free. This scene was actually based on the real life experience of SATC write Cindy Chupack. According to fave book Sex and the City: Kiss and Tell, after winning her first Emmy, dateless Cindy left the post-Emmy party alone and was headed home when the limo driver asked her about her night. When the driver found out Cindy had just won an Emmy, she immediately headed to a McDonald’s drive-through to commemorate the occasion. After the driver announced that Cindy had just won the award, the McDonald’s worker gave her a free chocolate shake. 🙂 For the SATC episode, producers decided to use Gray’s Papaya instead of McDonald’s because SJP has always been a big fan of the hot dog chain. 🙂
Gray’s was also featured quite notably near the end of You’ve Got Mail, as the location where Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks eat lunch just before Meg heads off to meet NY152 for the first time (pictured above).
Besides You’ve Got Mail and Sex and the City, Grey’s also showed up in one of my very favorite movies, For Love or Money (pictured above). It was also featured in Down to Earth, Crossing Delancy, and (very briefly) Die Hard With A Vengeance.
Nicholas A.B. Gray opened up the first Gray’s Papaya in 1973 with the belief that a good hot dog didn’t have to be costly. Thirty-six years later Gray’s is still serving up excellent dogs at low prices, even if they’ve had to raise those prices a few times over the years. In October of 2008, due to increased business expenses, Gray’s raised the cost of its ever-popular Recession Special (two hot dogs and a drink) from $3.50 to $4.45. Still not bad for what is easily the best hot dog in New York. I highly recommend stalking Gray’s – your pocketbook won’t mind at all. Your pants’ size might, but not your pocketbook. 🙂
Until next time, Happy Stalking! 🙂
Stalk It: The main Gray’s Papaya – the one that was featured in all of the above productions – is located at 2090 Broadway Street on New York’s Upper West Side. There are also two other Gray’s locations in Manhattan. One is located at 402 6th Avenue and the other can be found at 539 8th Avenue. All Gray’s restaurants are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.