Papaya Purge: The King Is Vanquished on 14th Street

Photo: Shanna Ravindra

We’ve covered the great Papaya Purge with equal parts diligence and sorrow, shaking our heads ruefully as Clinton Papaya, Papaya del Barrio, and Papaya Dog of Washington Heights have shuttered. But this one is hard to swallow: Jeremiah’s Vanishing has noticed that the 14th Street outpost of the original (Papaya King) has closed, and a call to the shuttered establishment reveals it’s because the rent was too high.

Actually, we saw this coming — the location has been on the market for some time, and its neon sign had lapsed into such disrepair that it was proclaiming the place PAPA KING for a while. But it’s still sad to see this happen while a rank imitator, Papaya Dog, does swift business some blocks south. But maybe that was the problem — we have to admit we often walked by this location of Papaya King and held out for the snappy service at Gray’s Papaya nearby. Of course, the 86th Street store continues to thrive, but it’s time to pour one out — preferably one made from the aristocratic melon of the tropics.