Nicholas Gray, whose Gray’s Papaya hot dog shop was a Manhattan fixture for 50 years, has died at 86.

Gray died May 19 at a New York hospital from Alzheimer’s complications, the Wall St. Journal reported.

Located near the corner of Broadway and 72nd Street in Manhattan, the shop was known as a quick and cheap slice of hot dog heaven. A sign over the door said it all: “When You’re Hungry, or Broke, or Just in a Hurry!”

In 1982, Gray instituted his special: hot dogs and a tropical drink for $1.95. He kept his prices low on hot dogs at 50 cents until 1999, when he was forced to raise the bite to 75 cents. He put up signs at the time profusely apologizing. A hot dog now costs $2.95, and the Recession Special is $6.45.

The store not only was a hit with the hungry, but soon became an attraction in its own right. The shop appeared in movies including “Fools Rush In” and “You’ve Got Mail,” and was featued on the TV shows “Sex and the City” and “Seinfeld.”

Gray is survived by his wife, four children, a granddaughter and a sister.


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