December 30, 2022
What will we do without Papaya King? (And what else shouldn’t we miss out on?)
Dear Mr. Pinkwater,
I grew up a devoted fans of your books (particularly Borgel, Fat Men From Space and The Snarkout Boys), and I have of course read many of them to my own children. They were amazed when they learned The Chicken Man from Lizard Music and some of your other books was based on a real person, and they were also so impressed with Molly’s glowing description of Papaya King in Adventures of a Dwergish Girl that we simply had to stop there on our Christmas vacation to New York City.
(Here’s a picture of them posing outside today with their cousin!)
We all enjoyed the food and revitalizing-as-advertised papaya juice, which my wife said did a great job of chasing away her headache. But part of the reason we made sure we made this stop on our trip was because we learned that Papaya King is soon going to be forcibly closed so the property owner can demolish the lot and construct another corner high-rise.
Our family will probably return to New York one day, but we’ll be sad to see this wonderful place gone. The world will surely be a worse place for its disappearance, and while there are other papaya and hot dog stands in New York, we know with the King out of business, they are also likely destined to vanish one day. Short of finding a dwerg to buy us a secret patented juicing machine of our own, our days of pairing papaya juice and hot dogs are certain to be numbered.
So our question for you is this: what other places or restaurants have you visited that you would say are essential to go before they’re gone forever? We trust your palate and your advice.
Thank you! (And our condolences for the passing of your dear wife Jill, whose absence in this time and place you described eloquently and hopefully.)
-The Jordan Family – Sean, Stacie, Harper and Benny
P.S. – Independent of your fans Amy and Tilda Jordan – no relation! – my own children made the passionate case that Osgood Siergerson is really Walter Galt’s father and now have me convinced. I never caught it as a young reader, but I’m fascinated by it today, being exactly the sort of father myself who’s likely to put on pancake makeup and a putty nose and help his children and their friends solve crazy crimes overnight while sampling tasty delights at diners.
I am desolate to learn that Papaya King will be no more. Is it just the original location, I wonder. I know there are or were a few more. Although I live only 90 miles away from NYC, I am old now, and making my way down and back is a big deal. I always plan to blow $400 on a limo ride, just for some papaya juice, but there's never an occasion, and now the store will be gone. Vandalism. End of civilization.