If you see “papaya” in the name of a store, that means they sell hot dogs there. This may be obvious to locals, but to foreigners it can be extremely confusing.
“Finally, Boris, a store that sells papya! Little Popette can get the nutrients she needs to live!”
Sorry, Popette. If the lack of real papaya doesn’t kill you, the hot dog will. But not for lack of flavor!
But first some context. Tonight, Lisa had tickets to a Daily Show taping. I arrived at 4:30, way earlier than required—the doors don’t open until 5:45. Lisa would arrive straight from work at 5:35. Indeed, I was quite early. But, wouldntyaknowit, there was already an enormous line twisting around the building. By the time 5:35 rolled around, a man in a black t-shirt came out and told me and everyone behind me that we weren’t getting in, even if we had tickets. We could go see Colin Quinn instead. So Lisa and I bailed.
Walking home was like walking through a picture in a history book from the year 2050. Here was New York during one of the most contentious presidential elections ever–streets lined with protesters (we walked through Herald Square, which felt eerily like the Times Square scene in Spiderman before the Green Hornet appears) and I’ve never seen so many people crowded into one space. A woman yelled into a department store: “While you’re shopping bombs are dropping!” And then a stream of black cars drove by with police escorts and the entire crowd started chanting: “Shame, shame.” Lisa commented that it “smelled like ass.”
Which is why when we finally reached my apartment, Lisa wanted to go home. She’s very smell sensitive. For example, while she enjoyed the actual risotto last night she complained about the lingering smell that plagued her fingers throughout the day. “I still can’t get the smell off my hands,” she said. She could sniff a baseball through a straw.
I, in turn, wanted to eat. I set my heart on hot dogs (though the thought of frying risotto did sound appealing) and made my way down 23rd toward Chelsea Papaya. There I ordered the #1: two hot dogs and a 16 oz drink. I chose, quite appropriately, the papaya drink. Have you ever tasted McDonald’s orange drink? It tasted like that, only better. And more like papaya than orange.
On the hot dogs I requested sauerkraut and mustard. I’ve always been a mustard boy, but sauerkraut was a new frontier. Would you believe this was the first time I had sauerkraut on a hot dog? I felt it was something I had to do. And I’m glad I did: it tasted good.
You know, I’d like to mention here my beef (pun intended) with those who think hot dogs are disgusting. “It’s all the leftover bits they don’t use from the pig shoved into a sack.” My answer? So what. Is it really that different from eating any other part of the pig? Flesh is flesh, yo. So a pork chop comes from the middle, that makes it better than–say–a snout? (Ewww, they put snout in hot dogs? Gross!) But you see what I mean? There may be other arguments there–like hot dog meat is processed meat, and so on–but unless that’s your reason, don’t give me shit about the shit in my hot dog. Look for the Papaya sign and bite the hot-dogial bullet.