Monday, January 24
'I did what I could to get answers. I put questions to countermen at various papaya outposts and got strangely specific but unsubstantiated reactions, among them "Eighty-five percent of all the people in the world love papaya" (the bun man at Papaya Kingdom) and "The relationship between the hot dog and the papaya is very good" (the juice man at Gray's). I also talked to Peter Poulos, the owner of Papaya King, which, I learned, was the original papaya store in New York. He said that his father had traveled to Florida decades earlier and had come back fired up with the idea of introducing New Yorkers to the tropical delights of papaya juice. The outbreak of other papaya stores, he said, was an attempt to copy Papaya King's success. The romantic paens to the papaya were his father's own words and cadence, and the other stores duplicated them. The other stores' references to royalty were meant to fool customers into thinking all the papaya stores were affiliated, like some tropical fruit juice House of Hapsburg.'
--Susan Orlean, "Royalty," in My Kind of Place: Travel Stories from a Woman Who's Been Everywhere, 2004