MANHATTAN – The future is uncertain for Papaya King— the legendary New York City frankfurter purveyor is facing the end of the line. It’s longtime home at the corner of Third Avenue and East 86th Street on the Upper East Side, where it has been slinging hot dogs and tropical drinks for ninety years, is set for demolition.
This is far from your typical case of a developer muscling out a neighborhood institution— a lawsuit making its way through the courts paints a strange picture of what’s happening behind the scenes at the popular hot dog shop.
Grab & Go Convenience LLC, a formerly-contracted operator of the East 86th Street and Third Avenue Papaya King location, is accused by the previous landlord— and later the building’s current owner— of breaking into the shop and resuming operations after the lease was terminated in 2020, according to court documents.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit repeatedly describe the current Papaya King operators as trespassers who refused to vacate the premises, despite being offered ‘monetary incentives.’
This week, plans were filed with the NYC Department of Buildings to demolish the structure housing Papaya King and three other now-vacant storefronts, though it’s not clear what will be built on the bustling Upper East Side corner.
Details of the filing were first reported by Nick Garber at UES Patch.
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney eventually chimed in on the demolition plans in a tweet, declaring “Papaya King is an East Side institution that has served generations of NYers since 1932.”
“NYC has lost far too many of its historic eateries. Let’s not lose another small businesses that helped shape this City,” Maloney added, posing in front of the UES fixture with one of their famous dogs and a drink in hand.
Representatives for Papaya King could not be reached.