Gray’s Papaya. It’s meant to illicit thoughts of hot dog heaven. Everyone in New York knows about Gray’s Papaya. So, we had to go and try it, right? Right.

Gay Pride Parade. It’s meant to illicit freedom of individuals. Everyone in New York knows about the Gay Pride Parade. That’s a good thing, right? Sure.

Gray’s Papaya, meet the Gay Pride Parade. Gay Pride Parade, meet Gray’s Papaya. That’s what happened to us on our way to Gray’s Papaya near Greenwich Village. We had walked a lot that day. I mean A LOT. We had only had a bagel sandwich and half of a crappy chicken salad sandwich at ‘WichCraft, of which you can read about my scathing review here on Yelp. We needed energy. We needed, a hot dog. And not just any hot dog, because we could have had one via the Sabrett hot dog carts. No, we had to have Gray’s Papaya.

When we reached Greenwich village, we were met head on by the parade and its barricades. We walked patiently along Waverly, then turned right on 6th Ave. Pushing, shoving, weaving through the throng that was amongst us in the heavy afternoon air on a hot summer day in June in New York. We get to the corner of 6th Ave and 8th Street. And there it was. The picture you see above. We were about 50 feet from Gray’s Papaya. And we crossed the….Wait. There is a metal barricade blocking us from crossing the street to Gray’s. Oh no. It was the parade. 50 feet!!!! Could we climb over the barricades and jump over to Gray’s? No chance. The NYC police were strewned along the street. And then the free condoms were thrown into the frenzied crowd and we were defeated. Defeated because we had come so far only to be stopped by the Gay Pride Parade from our destination. But that did not deter us. We walked along 8th Street back towards 5th Ave. Our legs felt heavier by each step. Side stepping overly excited supporters who would not let the heat stop them from being part of the party. We walked to the end of the parade and crossed the street. Again, being pushed, shoved, and shuffled our way for another 15 minutes until we got to Gray’s.

We had arrived. Gray’s Papaya. We were hot, sweaty, tired, and parched. We saw a sign that read, “Stimulus Combo – 2 Franks and a drink for $4.99”. Bingo. That was our ticket to energy and dining heaven. One plain Gray’s Papaya hot dog and one with “everything”. We looked at each other and thought, “For what we had to go through to get here, this better be one damn tasty dog.” We took a bite. “Dammit. It tastes like a damn hot dog,” I thought to myself. I expended my last bit of energy for a hot dog. Nothing special. Nothing out of the ordinary. Just a damn dog.

Sure, our experience of struggling to just get there took all of our expectations to new heights. But at the end of the day, it is just a dog. A dog that had been on the griddle and shoved in a bun. Just like many other dogs. Nothing is ever what it seems. We thought we would be enjoying a great hot dog from a local favorite spot and what we got was a gallon of sweat, energy sucked to the bone, and unmet expectations.