The latest New York cover story features celebrities and creative types telling their “breakthrough moment.” The entire piece is great, but below are some excerpts from our favorites.
When I was a high-school student, a sophomore, in my little town, Ocean City, New Jersey, 1947, I got a job for the town weekly. I was a schoolboy reporter, and I was getting stories published in the town weekly about the school’s activities. I knew I only had one chance in my life to get a job, and it was this great job. I was like this is what I want to do. When I was 15, I was doing what I’m still doing at 83. Otherwise I’d be sweeping the streets.
…We had an East German telex machine, and all of a sudden it turned on, and I got a note from Barbara Epstein, the co-editor of The New York Review of Books, asking me to write a piece for them, and suddenly the world, which seemed very, very far away, became a little closer.
There was one party in New York for the Folk Art Museum — they had an antique show at the Armory. And I brought in the food and decorations. That armory is a giant place, and they allowed me to bring in my beautiful chickens — a rare breed. I brought them in poultry cages and people were shocked to see real chickens alive and well.
…I handed in my apron — I remember the moment so clearly. It was a red apron, and I gave it to the guy across the bar, and I knew this was the greatest moment of my life. I knew that I would never again not be telling jokes to make money.