Event, Past Event, Post, Undaunted

New York Times Alumni: Undaunted Polish Tea Room Appearance, June 27, 2023

June 27, 2023

My expectation when this request came in a few months back was to anticipate that in an hour on ZOOM, I would learn as much from this esteemed group as I would be able to share. Although only a couple of people in the large group (both men and women) had read the book, my hope was fulfilled. The book has a good deal of New York Times history and lore. Thanks to Carla Baranauckas for having the idea to invite me and to Matt Wald for his duties as host.



I have to say I was charmed when Karen Arenson, who was an editor on the Times‘s business desk back on April 26, 1987, when my first freelanced piece for the Times appeared. She recalled for the group the huge reader response it spurred. Unusually, the Times published many of the letters to the editor that arrived on 43rd Street.

As you can see, it was headlined “Feeling Poor on $600,000 a Year.” It started on the section’s front page. You can read it in full here.

As the Zoom participants gathered and the “Feeling Poor” screenshot appeared, I shared that that only one other piece I ever wrote elicited some an extreme reader response. In that case, the piece appeared just before Valentine’s Day 1976. I was still at the UPI bureau in Chicago. It was about a brand new product: licorice-laced, all-candy underwear called Candypants. I only agreed to report it out and write it after learning that the edible garment was available in both men’s and women’s styles.

UPI, January 29, 1969For days, the bureau fielded calls from all over the world from people wanting to know where they could buy them.