Without any announcement, Gray's Papaya shut its doors yesterday, apparently due to a 20k rent hike. And it's going to be replaced by some overpriced juice bar bullshit. Fucking hell. This is breaking my heart. I'm a native New Yorker, and Gray's Papaya was a staple of my childhood. I remember going to Washington Square Park and then walking over to get a hot dog and a pina colada. It was one of the few pieces of the West Village that I still really recognized from my childhood and now it's gone.
The whole thing really feels like a reminder that the New York I grew up with is dying and what's replacing it is not for anyone but the mega rich. I don't even recognize the neighborhood I grew up in. Middle class and poor? Apparently we're all expected to get the fuck out to make way for rich transplants. It doesn't matter that I grew up here. It doesn't matter that my mother grew up here. It doesn't matter that Mr. Fishnets grew up here. Every day we face the very real possibility that one day soon we may not be able to afford our own home. I'm currently living on the other end of Manhattan from where I grew up, but I like it a lot more than my home neighborhood because a lot of it still feels like the New York I grew up in (Mr. Fishnets thinks so too).