Q. Until 1997 this object was illegal in New York City but legal almost everywhere else. What was it?
Hint: It has to do with your kitchen.
Did you know the answer? Well, neither did we. And the hint was no help.
Okay, okay … the answer is: A garbage disposal unit for your sink.
How about this one: In which New York neighborhood did the classic 1970s sitcom “All in the Family” take place? Give up? Well, it wasn’t Forest Hills, which is what we wrote down as our answer. The correct answer: Astoria.
And as long as we’re on the subject of New York trivia, which constructed building is the second highest in New York City after the Empire State Building? If you said the Bank of America building on 42nd and 6th, you would have been correct. Most of us on the AABANY Trivia Bowl team thought for sure it was the Chrysler. (We should have listened to you, Rio!)
On Friday, May 18, AABANY joined fourteen other teams for the inaugural Trivia Bowl organized by the Asian American Journalists Association, New York Chapter (AAJA-NY). It was held at ABC studios on the Upper West Side, near Lincoln Center, in the same soundstage used for “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?”
Our team of nine included me, Rio Guerrero, Tsui Yee, Francis Chin, Karen Lim, Linda Lin, Will Ng, Steve Shapiro and Gary Malone. We had a 10th member who had to drop out at the last minute, and the event organizers were strict about applying their “no substitutes” rule. (Photo below of Francis Chin, Will Ng and Linda Lin, courtesy of Julie Huang.)
The judging panel consisted of six sitting APA judges from New York: Hon. Marilyn D. Go, Hon. Doris Ling Cohan, Hon. John Lansden, Hon. Lydia Lai, Hon. Laurie Lau and Hon. Jeffrey K. Oing. This panel checked each response against the answer key, marked the sheets and tabulated the scores at the end of each round.
The MCs for the evening were JuJu Chang and Ti-Hua Chang. They read the questions for each round, and under the rules, they were only supposed to read each question twice (although for a few of the harder ones, they had to read it one or two more times). The questions were only read, so all the teams had to pay close attention and take notes, jot down answers which were then transferred to the answer sheets. Linda Lin, who has much better handwriting than me, did the honors of transcribing our responses.
The Trivia Bowl consisted of five rounds: first, entertainment; second, geography/science/literature; third, current events/sports; fourth, history/elections/Presidents; fifth, New York. After the end of each round, the MCs conducted raffles or auctions while the judges scored the rounds. Once the scores were in, the MCs read the answers, and after the answers were given, we moved to the next round, repeating the sequence until all the rounds were completed.
After the first two rounds, the AABANY team was in the lead, but our downfall turned out to be round three, current events and sports. I think we might have gotten half the answers right. I guess we didn’t have enough people on our team who kept up with current events or followed sports.
The standings were projected on a screen, and going into the final round, AABANY found itself in a four-way tie for 1st place.
We were hopeful that, as a team of New Yorkers, the fifth and final round of New York trivia would be a breeze. It turned out to be anything but. Our team struggled with the questions (some are repeated above). Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to partake in the free-flowing wine and beer on offer while the game was in progress? I dunno … ya think? They say alcohol kills brain cells; I didn’t expect that the effect would be so immediate.
By the end of the evening, AABANY landed in second place, falling to the team from the New York Times. Congrats, NYT journalists, for being the winners of the inaugural AAJA-NY Trivia Bowl!
Congratulations to the organizers for raising more than $23,000 for scholarship, stipends and fellowship programs to benefit journalism students and professionals. We were glad to be part of the fun and excitement. And there’s always next year – watch out, here comes Team AABANY!
Click here to see some photos shot by Francis Chin.