It’s been a little over three years since Gray’s Papaya left the Village, and we still spit on the ground every time we pass the Liquiteria that replaced it (and not just because we hate the taste of spirulina). But here’s some Gray-t news: the papaya purveyor is ready to open its new store at 612 Eighth Avenue, meaning you’ll no longer have to trek up to 72nd Street to throwback to freshman year. You’ll still have to get up to midtown, though.
This morning we peaked into the new storefront, between 39th and 40th Streets, and found Rachael Gray, who owns the hot doggery with her husband Nicholas, in the midst of a ConEd inspection. Later the Polite New Yorker told us everything went well and if tomorrow’s health department inspection follows suit, they’ll be serving Recession Specials around the clock starting Thursday. This new location is about the same size as previous ones (that is to say: small) but is probably the brand’s “cleanest looking store,” says Rachael, an architect who designed the place herself. As you can see from the glimpse we got inside, it’s outfitted with subway tiles and an interior light-up sign.
The Greenwich Village location isn’t the only one Gray’s has lost of late: A 37th Street location also shuttered (Rachael says the rent doubled), prompting the Voice to publish a lament about the chain’s sole remaining hot doggery: “One Is the Loneliest Number.” Still, Rachael says the brand is “doing great. We do well because our locations are very, very busy.” This one should be no different, since it’s a stone’s throw from Times Square and Port Authority.
So will Gray’s Papaya bring its snappy service downtown again? Not anytime soon: “His style is to go slowly,” Rachael said of her husband Nicholas, who opened the 72nd Street original in 1973. Still, she added, “We’d love to have a place in the Village again.”
And we’d relish that, too.