One of the oldest NYC eats is the glorious hot dog. This delicious hand-held snack came to us from German immigrants and was being served in this city since as early as the 1860s. I won't bore you to much with the history of the hot dog in this city, but if you're looking for a great comprehensive run-down of the origins, styles and best places to find them, check out this great article from Eater.
Hot dogs can be found all over the city and their quality can vary greatly. If you ask anyone on the Upper West Side about a hot dog, you'll hear "Grey's Papaya" as the answer. The store has had several locations over the years. The original store was started in the 1970s by a former Papaya King employee. While the other locations in the city have shut down in recent years, the UWS spot still thrives and is my go-to for a great hot dog in the city.
There's not a whole lot to say about this place as it's a pretty simple menu. They do an assortment of breakfast sandwiches and other fried and grilled foods, but you're an idiot to come here for anything but the hot dogs. It's what they do best. My meal today consisted of the "Recession Special"...2 dogs and a drink for $4.95. The price has gone up for this deal over the years, but even at it's current level, it's still a reasonable price.
The hot dogs are perfect. All-beef links, cooked on the griddle with a lovely char on the skin. My favorite part of eating a hot dog is that very first bite. There is a satisfying snap of the casing as your teeth sink in and then the salty, meaty juice of the dog begins to hit your tongue. It's simple and delicious.
There are the usual suspects available for toppings. I like to get mine with ketchup, mustard, sauerkraut and onions (the cooked onions in a tomato type sauce that NYC dogs are known for) and that's it. There are several options for drinks and I went with the namesake Papaya drink. A tasty juice concoction that is just the right amount of sweet, served ice cold and is a great way to wash down your dogs. The drink has an almost frothy like consistency to it and it really hits the spot.
If you've never been to Grey's Papaya before, make sure you make the trek. There's no bells and whistles, but it's a New York treat everyone should experience.
Sum it up
What I got: 2 dogs and a Papaya Drink
What I paid: $4.95
What I thought: Cheap, quick and tasty meal hits the spot at this iconic NYC hotdog joint
(at 72nd Street)