Monday, November 24, 2014

As Good As It Gets

with Prof. Robert White @ Hunter College, December 2010
My favorite teacher of all-time, Professor Robert White from Hunter College showed up unannounced at my Barnes & Noble event on Oct 17th.  I let out a high pitch yelp when I saw him from the podium. It was the second time I had seen Prof. White in 37 years (we briefly met at Hunter in 2010).

As lucky as I am to have Robert Lipsyte, Kevin Baker, Dave Hill, Barbara Turner & Thomas Beller say nice things about the book, and to have 35 five star reviews on Amazon, nothing makes me grin like the email I received from Professor White today.

Dr. Robert White to tp:

Dear Tom,

I will start this e-mail by telling you how much I enjoyed your Barnes & Noble reading. You were terrific. But as wonderful as that evening was, it paled before the pure joy I received from actually reading your book. It was wonderful to recall Rheingold beer (I still remember casting countless ballots for Miss Rheingold, in the grocery store rather than in a bar, as well as all the winners from the mid-forties to the mid-fifties), the Miss Subways, Horn and Hardart mac and cheese (which my family consumed every meatless Friday night), Spaldeens, and Brylcreem (a tube of which I kept next to my tube of Colgate until one evening in 1959 when I had a date and, in my haste to get ready, I grabbed the wrong one--Brylcreem on your teeth is disgusting beyond belief). Since I went to Regis High School from 1953 to 1957, I remember with fondness that strange orange drink they served at the Nedicks near the 86th Street Lexington Avenue No. 6 subway line, the Loew's Orpheum, and the RKO. My father, who boxed in the Golden Gloves, never missed Friday Night at the Fights unless he was playing pinochle with his buddies. I haven't thought about that for years.

I, too, had a Jerry Mahoney ventriloquist dummy. It was amazing how many of them were in American households from the early 50s on. But enough about me. Let me tell you my favorite chapters. I found "The Third Beer" and the account of your meeting with Luis Arroyo extremely moving, as I did the Sparky Lyle "Back in the Bullpen" chapter. It was fun to read "The Headlock That Won for the Giants" after hearing your reading of it at Barnes & Noble. "Beans in My Pocket" was a blast. My other favorite chapters (and, as you can tell, there were many of them) were "Trading Cards," especially your encounter with Carl Yastrzemski, since it justified the inordinate pleasure I derived from Derek Jeter's passing him in the 3000-hit club, "The Holy Cart" and "My First Area Rug," from which I gained an insight into your entrepreneurial side, "A Valentine for Nan" (remind me to tell you of the fight I had with Jackie Whittle which landed me in the hospital with a severed tendon when I was 13 years old), "His Master's Voice," and my two absolute favorites--"The Playtex Chapel" and "Mamma Mia."

"I Hate the Dallas Cowboys" has everything--humor, nostalgia, love. Thank you for writing this excellent book.

Fondly, Bob White


Thank you, to everyone who's left a comment at Amazon on the book, I deeply appreciate your time and thoughts. If you have read the book or will read the book and have not left a comment it would mean much to me if you do, just a few honest words. hugs, tommy


"Yorkville: Stoops to Nuts" is coming home to the old neighborhood on Thursday, December 4th for a terrific Holiday Show @ Ryans Daughter 350 East 85th Street @ 7 to 10pm. Our artists: Eric Vetter & his unplugged band, Michele Carlo, Lincoln C. Chinnery, Abbi Crutchfield, Walter Michael DeForest & Colin Dempsey.  FREE show, come on down!

If you can't make Yorkville on December 4th, Monday, December 1st I'm be telling a story in the East Village at We Three Productions Reading at 2A, 25 Ave A @ 2nd St. - Upstairs ~ FREE 
Tuesday, December 9th we have our next monthly "Stoops to Nuts" storytelling show at Cornelia Street Cafe with with these fine artists: Muneesh Jain; Margarita Pracatan; Elizabeth Rowe; Jeff Rose

Reviews on the book:

“Thomas R. Pryor has written a sweet, funny, loving memoir of growing up old-school in a colorful New York neighborhood. A story of sports, family, and boyhood, you’ll be able to all but taste, smell, and feel this vanished world.” 
 —Kevin Baker, author of the novels Dreamland, Paradise Alley, and Strivers Row

“Tommy Pryor’s New York boyhood…was the mid-century coming of age of all of us. A rousing read.” 
—Robert Lipsyte, author and former city and sports columnist, The New York Times

“Pryor could take a felt hat and make it funny.” 
—Barbara Turner-Vesselago, author of Writing Without A Parachute: The Art of Freefall

“Pryor burrows into the terrain of his childhood with a longing and obsessiveness so powerful it feels like you are reading a memoir about his first great love.” 
—Thomas Beller, author of J.D. Salinger: The Escape Artist

“I wasn’t alive for the New York Thomas Pryor writes about, but thanks to his brilliant, honest, and hilarious book, I feel like I was there.” 
—Dave Hill, comedian and author of Tasteful Nudes

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