A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from October 11, 2004
Dirty Water Dog
A post on Roadfood.com, 11-19-2003: "A 'dirty water dog'is an affectionate name for a push cart hot dog or a hot dog you would get off a lunch truck. I think it may be a New York/New Jersey thing."

16 July 1992, Wall Street Journal (Europe), pg. 6:
Only now were the delegates, whom we the press outnumber by at least five to one, arriving in New York, and there was time to kill. Why not call a fearless gourmet to advise hungry conventioneers? Someone like Gersh Kuntzman, who once staved my appetite for days reviewing a Chinese restaurant I used to like. ("In between the shell and the unnoticeable meat center is a peritoneal layer of slime which keeps the meat slidin' away.")

Gersh, I said, tell me: What do you recommend for folks in a hurry? The dirty water dogs sold from those carts with the cheery umbrellas? "Well," he said, "the dirty water dog is certainly a nutritious treat and readily available in all major Manhattan gridlock centers. But my vote goes to the knish. Eat a potatoe knish and it will last nearly the entire convention. Stays in your stomach for three days."

From: Jay M. Poznanski (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address))
Subject: Back to New York!!
Newsgroups: nyc.general
Date: 1995/10/26

After working in Jersey for the past 7 years, I finally got myself a transfer back to NYC. I couldn't have been happier. I live in NYC and the commute between states was killing me. Not to mention the NJ taxes that were doing the same. Where I worked in Jersey, there was nothing but a beautiful view of the NYC skyline. At lunch time in NJ, there was a choice of the disgusting caffeteria or food court. Boring to say the least. Now, in mid-town, the world is my oyster. I can have Chinese, Italian or even a dirty water dog if that is what I want.

From: DWalheim (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address))
Subject: Law & Order FAQ, 1/2
Newsgroups: rec.arts.tv
Date: 1996/09/11
Det. Mike Logan (Christopher Noth) -- Irish Catholic;...always wears American flag lapel pin, consumes his weight in "dirty water dogs" and pizza, possibly ambidextrous -- uses European style of eating; low opinion of the wealthy; has type A blood, as does the rest of his family.

From: Paul (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address))
Subject: Greatest Mets
Newsgroups: alt.sports.baseball.ny-mets
Date: 1996/10/24
Best food...Dirty Water Dog

From: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address))
Subject: Re: Here Comes the New VH!
Newsgroups: alt.music.van-halen
Date: 1997/10/16

...the story behind "Dirty Water Dog" - well, by now you've seen the VH web page; basically, it's what they call the hot dogs the street vendor in NY serve. EVH and Wolfy liked 'em.

22 January 1998, Columbian (Vancouver, WA), pg. 1:
New York Richie's garnered local fame for its hand-held fare. All-beef natural-skin hot dogs, dubbed "dirty water dogs" because they're cooked and await orders in murky, albeit clean, water, come imported directly from the Big Apple. Get your dog plain, covered with sauerkraut, onions, and chili, or somewhere in between ($1.95).

From: Hardyboy01 (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address))
Subject: Re: Love British Cozies .. but whats with....
Newsgroups: rec.arts.mystery
Date: 1998/04/08
And, before you ask, dirty water dogs are hot dogs boiled in water and sold on a bun (usually with some type of topping like chopped fried onions, relish etc.) from carts on street corners. A New York City lunch staple, esp. when served with a Dr. Brown's Celery Tonic (don't ask!) and a big salty hot pretzel with mustard.

4 June 1998, New York Times, pg. B1:
"New York is dirty-water dogs," she said, using an affectionate term for hot dogs employed by both vendors and their customers.

From: Joanie-O (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address))
Subject: Re: The Hot Dog Condiment
Newsgroups: alt.cooking-chien
Date: 1999/06/13

Here in New York we have what's called the "Dirty Water Dog". They are sold on the streets of Manhattan. The hot dogs come from a company called from Sabrett. They also bottle a concoction called "onions". this is onions in a tomato sauce and goes on the hot dog in place of, or in addition, to sauerkraut. I don't know how out of towners would take to the DWD (dirty water dogs) but New Yorkers eat millions of them per year.

Here is how I like my DWD, a tiny dab of mustard and a lot of onions.


The best dog, since the dawn of time and through the ages never-ending, has been, and will always be, a Dirty Water dog. Dirty Water dogs are those franks served up from an umbrella-topped cart on virtually every street corner of Manhattan, hot, fast and loaded to order for just a buck. Dirty water really isn't dirty at all, though it sure looks like it as the vendor lifts the lid to his steam cart and sticks a long fork into a pit of roiling gray foam. The liquid's not scum, but jeweled broth flavored with the juices and salts and meaty liquor from that day's batch of wieners (the later in the day, the better the dog). The vendor shifts and spears -- whatever frankfurter he finds is intense, juicy gold.

From: Brian Wickham (bwickham@NO~SPAM.nyc.rr.com)
Subject: Re: Cold hot cross buns
Newsgroups: alt.usage.english
Date: 2004-04-13 07:08:16 PST
In my experience, most NYers disdain the "dirty water dog" (also known as the "tube steak") and you will never see them lining up to get one. I, on the other hand, like them if done properly. If hot dogs are prepared at home they are almost invariably grilled.

16 September 2004, Seattle (WA) Times, pg. C1:
Fans note that his franks snap when bitten a trademark of Big Apple-style hot dogs, which New Yorkers call "dirty dogs," or "dirty water dogs," in wry reference to the gritty, street-side vending location.

Title: Van Halen 3
Corp Author(s): Van Halen (Musical group)
Publication: Burbank, CA :; Warner Bros.,
Year: 1998
Description: 1 sound disc (65 min.) :; digital ;; 4 3/4 in.
Language: English
Music Type: Rock music
Standard No: Publisher: 9 46662-2; Warner Bros.; Other: 9362466622
Contents: Neworld (1:45) -- Without you (6:28) -- One I want (5:31) -- From afar (5:19) -- Dirty water dog (5:24) -- Once (7:40) -- Fire in the hole (5:27) -- Josephina (5:38) -- Year to the day (8:32) -- Primary (1:27) -- Ballot or the bullet (5:37) -- How many say I (6:04).

Title: Dirty Water Dogs
Year: 2001
Description: 1 sound disc :; digital ;; 4 3/4 in.
Language: English
Standard No: LCCN: 2003-564913
Contents: Shoot my anger -- Slash and burn -- Blue mile -- Too many reasons.
System Info: System requirements for multimedia portion of disc: IBM PC (Windows) or Macintosh ; MP3 files may be played using any MP3 software.
Note(s): Copyright registration information: (c) (p) Suitable Songs, Inc.; words, music & performance: Paul Carden, 1955- & Thomas M. Hood, 1955-/ Compact disc./ Brief record.

Posted by Barry Popik
Food/Drink • Monday, October 11, 2004 • Permalink

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