[Five years ago] at the 92nd Street Y I shared the stage with Karl Ove Knausgaard; I loved that evening; I also loved the evening, fifteen years earlier, when I went to see Saul Bellow, then already in his mid-eighties, read aloud, standing the whole time, from Ravelstein; of course I also loved the series of Monday nights when I took a fiction workshop through the 92nd Street Y with the brilliant writer Joyce Johnson; and the Sunday afternoons when I went to the 92nd Street Y for my niece’s and nephew’s birthday parties; and then also the series of summer early evenings when I taught a fiction workshop to Y students who ranged in age from nineteen to seventy-nine; and the evening when I got to hear Javier Marias and Paul Auster read together … and … and …. Even when I was still just a high school kid living in Norman, Oklahoma, I remember learning that the Alvin Ailey dance company had its first performance on 92nd Street in Manhattan, and I thought, what a special place that must be, my first vivid sense of what New York City might be like.
Riva Galchen is the author of Atmospheric Disturbances and American Innovations, both New York Times Best Books of the Year. She received her MD from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Her writing has also appeared in The New Yorker, and other publications.