Arbitrary Stupid Goal: a memoir of growing up under the tables of the best restaurant in New York

Originally published at:

To call Shopsin’s “a Greenwich Village institution” was to understate something profound and important and weird and funny: Shopsin’s (first a grocery store, later a restaurant) was a kind of secret reservoir of the odd and wonderful and informal world that New York City once represented, in the pre-Trumpian days of Sesame Street and Times Square sleaze: Tamara Shopsin grew up in Shopsin’s, and Arbitrary Stupid Goal is her new, “no-muss memoir,” is at once charming and sorrowing, a magnificent time-capsule containing the soul of a drowned city.


I have fond memories of holding my son as a baby while running the circus of a restaurant in San Francisco. As he got older and made his visits from table to table greeting folks with his beaming smile, what great times.

Needed a Summer read, so I guess this is it.


This sounds great.
I’ve eaten at the LES location a couple times over the years on visits to NYC and it was excellent.
It makes me said that every single big city is becoming nothing more than a playground for millionaires and billionaires.
NY, San Francisco and LA still have their charms and buckets of shit to do but something has indeed been lost and it will never come back.


Calvin Trillin’s book Feeding a Yen has a chapter on Shopsin’s which is characteristically amusing, insightful, and mouthwatering.

So we create the things that made them good in new places.

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