Recap: Calvin Trillin Talk at the Tenement Museum

Posted on: October 10th, 2011 at 11:19 am by

Calvin Trillin, making an appearance on the Lower East Side last week, regaled much of New York City with his waggish stories. At least it appeared most of New York was there, judging from the lines out the door and the packed standing room only crowd.

Seemed like the audience couldn’t get quite enough of the author or his new book, Quite Enough of Calvin Trillin. Retelling stories, both from the book and from other writings, Trillin referenced such neighborhood favorites as Russ & Daughters, Kenny Shopsin and the beloved, but now missed, Tic-Tac-Toe Chicken in Chinatown (housed inside the recently-shuttered Chinatown Fair Arcade). He brought the house down with the latter, describing how he would bring friends to play against the chicken, who would always win.

[Photo Credit: Corbis]

His story went as follows:

People would say, “But it’s not fair. The chicken gets to go first.”

“But you’re a human,” Trillin would reply. “And that’s a chicken.”

“But he gets to practice all day,” they’d respond.

“But…it’s a chicken.”

Other aspects of the talk included Trillin discussing the time he inadvertently predicted the underwear bomber while guesting on the Daily Show, saying it was so absurd it could never happen.

He also recited some of his famous poems about political candidates and public figures (his shortest poem: “O.J. / Oy Veh.”), and spoke about growing up Jewish in Kansas city.

We suspect the Yiddish references sprinkled throughout his talk got a few more laughs here than in Kansas City.

Writeup and photos by Lori Greenberg

Recent Stories

taco-recipes-antisemitism
Antisemitism Strikes Taco Recipes Vestibule on Essex Street

Last week, reports surfaced that antisemitic incidents are surging in the days following Trump’s election a month ago. Around here, it’s usually graffiti attacks like the spray-job at Adam Yauch Park in Brooklyn. And here’s one closer to home at Essex Street. “Jew Man” is scrawled on the vestibule of Taco Recipes at number 23, […]

stay-classy-rivington
Rivington Street’s Will Ferrell-Themed ‘Stay Classy’ Expands with 10-Day LA Residence

Stay Classy New York made such a splash upon its Rivington Street debut in October 2015 that expansion was inevitable. One year later, owner Zach Neil is exporting the kitschy Will Ferrell-themed concept (and the legend of Ron Burgundy) to Los Angeles. For a limited time only. Beginning today, and for ten days thereafter, Stay Classy […]

The new 138 Bowery, Photo: Emmut Properties
With Historic Federal Row Houses Destroyed, 8-Story Condo-Hotel Begins Ascent

Hallowed Bowery grounds are now prepped for more unneeded luxury. Several months after the historically significant 138-142 Bowery were reduced to dust, the Department of Buildings finally issued permits for the expected eight-story condo-hotel. Site activity commenced about three months ago; it’s game on. The ground is already excavated and foundation work is well underway. As previously […]

Good-locksmith-1
Longtime Grand Street Hardware Store ‘Good Locksmith’ is Moving [Updated]

Good Locksmith, the reliable mom-and-pop hardware shop located at 317 Grand Street, is reportedly moving next door. They’ve been on the Lower East Side for more than a decade. A sign inside the store alerts customers, as do the bare shelves. Update: a reader tells us, “I spoke to stephen who the grown son and […]

260South-cherry-facade
Reveal: Lands End II Parking Lot to Get 800-foot, Twin-Towered Beast

Three years after acquiring the two low-income buildings comprising Lands End II (265-275 Cherry Street) for $279 million, L+M Partners and the CIM Group are planning to develop the parking lots facing the water (aka 260 South Street). It’s another of the so-called “soft sites” along the Lower East Side waterfront receiving renewed attention from the industry […]