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Gray’s Papaya

Jan 16th, 2009 | By | Category: Movie Locations

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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”.

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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. :)

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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).

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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.

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7 comments

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  1. sabrina says:

    actually, satc filmed at the gray’s at the jefferson market (6th ave). the shop is at the corner and you can also see the phonebox right next to the exit carrie uses.

    can’t wait to stalk it and eat one! 😀

  2. Hannah says:

    Gray’s is also featured in Jennifer Lopez’s film ‘The Back-up Plan’!

  3. Connie says:

    Gray’s Papaya is also a scene in the background in Die Hard 3. Bruce and Samuel are talking to Jeremy Irons/Simon on the phone at the 72nd street subway with GP in the background.

    If you have not eaten there, you should. I’ve tried a lot of dogs in NYC and I have to say, GP is the best. (and open 24/7) . A dog, some onion in sauce and mustard.. OMG. It is right up there with that thing we don’t talk about with our parents but hope we have daily.

    I stopped in there at 2 am before my airport shuttle to take home some papaya juice. A homeless man came in and the owner asked what he had for money. The man showed him less than $2 in change and the owner gave him 2 dogs and a drink in exchange. Showed me the real “American” spirit. I’ve never fogotten that and told everyone I know that story. It was more than just about GP, but heart warming about NYC.

  4. Cheryl says:

    no mention of Fools Rush In? isnt Grays Papaya like, a cute part of that movie? or am I remembering wrong??

    • Hi Cheryl,
      You are right that Gray’s Papaya was mentioned in Fools Rush In, but no filming took place there, which is why I didn’t mention it. :) In the movie Matthew Perry mentions that Gray’s is his favorite hot dog shop and Salma Hayek later has some of the New York dogs special delivered to his Nevada home. :)
      Happy Stalking,
      Lindsay

      • Benjamin Jones says:

        Gray’s Papaya is also featured in a funny scene in Adam Sandler’s comedy Don’t Mess with the Zohan.


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  1. […] finally goes to meet her mister perfect NY152, she first has lunch with Joe at Gray’s Papaya. screen cap viaMy cousin, Nan, took me here a few years ago since it’s a classic UWS establishment. We got […]

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