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

Uncapped: Beneath the Paint with the Legendary AUDIE U5

This latest installment of Uncapped is more than a year in the making, and we are stoked to have Audie U5 join us. BOWERY BOOGIE: Audie U5. Welcome to the series. Instead of the cherished and/or default “what do you write?” how about, why do you write “Audie?” Audie U5: Always Undeniably Dope In Everything!  Nah, […]

Man Jumped to His Death from Ludlow Street Rooftop

A man jumped to his death from a Lower East Side tenement rooftop Wednesday night. The unidentified man, believed to be in his twenties, took the plunge from atop 175 Ludlow Street at about 11:45pm. The suicide victim reportedly lived alone in a studio apartment there, according to a report in the Daily News. An […]

Here’s a Map Showing How the Lower East Side Voted in the City Council Election Last Week

With more than a week having elapsed since the general election, the above map plots the results of the City Council District 1 race. It was a heated campaign that saw incumbent Margaret Chin fighting for her life against the upstart Christopher Marte. Chin defeated Marte by nearly 3,000 votes to secure a third term […]

Cafe Henrie Shutters on Forsyth Street After 2 Years

Cafe Henrie, the artsy eatery founded by nightlife maven (and street artist) Andre Saraiva on Forsyth Street, closed earlier this week. Thus capping two years on the block. All elements of the establishment are gone, replaced with token brown paper in the windows. In retrospect, the writing was on the wall back in the summertime […]

What’s it Like Living or Working in Hell Square? [SURVEY]

What’s it like to live and work in Hell Square? That’s the question behind the second phase of the Hunter College graduate program study that analyzed public health and safety risk of liquor density on the Lower East Side. No, this isn’t a farce. It’s a legit effort to figure out a way to make […]