My Edward Albee Story
And it happened at the McBurney YMCA, no less
I’d moved to New York City on December 23, 2000. It seemed like an auspicious way to ring in the new millennium.
My first job was at the McBurney YMCA when it was still on West 23rd Street across from the Chelsea Hotel. For my young readers, the McBurney Y was made famous in the music video by The Village People. Whenever I’m at a baseball game and everyone starts singing and signing along to “YMCA” I want to giggle and ask if anyone knows what that song is about.
Where was I?
Oh, right, the McBurney YMCA in New York City. Where I worked at the front desk, swiping member’s cards when they came in to workout.
I was trying to avoid having to go back and work at the membership desk where I’d have to learn their even-then antiquated computer system so I kept volunteering to take other people’s shifts on the front desk. It was probably my first Sunday on the job and I’d taken someone else’s shift when a kind of cranky looking little old guy handed me his card to swipe.
It was Edward Albee. I’d been in New York City less than three weeks and here was Edward Albee handing me his YMCA member card!
“Enjoy your workout, Mr. Albee.”
I did not gush or stammer or blush or rush to tell him how much his work meant to me (in truth, not that much yet). I just handed him his card and worked on breathing normally.
In the following days when I told new friends about my little encounter with greatness, most looked a little blank and asked who Edward Albee was.
Oh, just some multiple-Pulitzer-prizewinning playwright; that’s all.
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