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

Cup & Saucer Signage Removed Ahead of Rumored Grand Street Reboot

For the first time in decades, the marquee at 89 Canal Street is without its Cup & Saucer branding. Two-thirds of the restaurant’s signage was removed earlier this week – the paneling from both the Canal and Eldridge Street exposures. The swinging Coca-Cola sign, meanwhile, remains in place for the time being. This loss was expected. […]

Report: Village Voice Nixes Weekly Print Edition After More thean 60 Years

Say goodbye to those Village Voice newspaper boxes. After more than sixty years serving up news to downtown New York City, current ownership decided to terminate the print format of the alt-weekly newspaper. The publication will remain online only as it struggles with success and relevance. “For more than 60 years, The Village Voice brand […]

Shepard Fairey Stencils Debbie Harry Mural Across from Long-Gone CBGB

As first reported here yesterday, artist Shepard Fairey took to Bleecker Street yesterday to impart a new punk rock mural. The two-year-old Joey Ramone treatment – what some have called a subtle advertisement for Overthrow Boxing Gym – had been erased the day before in preparation for the next in line. The piece is a […]

Ludlow Thai Spot ‘Eat-pisode’ (Hi-Thai) Calls it Quits After a Decade

After a ten-year tenure, Eat-pisode on Ludlow Street (aka Hi-Thai) is out of commission. The “gem-sized Thai bistro” (their words) closed at the end of July without warning or announcement. Prospective diners are instead met with computer printouts advertising the business for sale, and space for lease. Which is strange, considering the owner’s sister (and […]

Taking a Quick Yo-Yo Break on the Bowery [VIDEO]

A contractor on the Bowery yesterday morning sure brought his Yo-Yo game… We watched this man, presumably on break from one of the myriad construction projects nearby, effortlessly swing around his Yo-Yo. (Get your mind outta the gutter.) Tangling and dangling the toy without messing up, either. Meanwhile, most pedestrians ambled past the sidewalk performer […]