Jeanne Ryder

“Having literally grown up at Northeastern, I knew all along I’d be going there. I graduated in 1974, then worked there for two years.  

“Since at the time Northeastern had no music major, I was allowed to create my own. I wrote a proposal to major in ‘Music History and Criticism.’ My ambition was to become the first female music critic at The New York Times and, after working three years in Boston, was accepted by Columbia University to study historical musicology.  

“The date of my interview at Columbia remains fixed in my mind: Wednesday, March 15, 1977.  That night I had a ticket for the Met, where the very first TV broadcast ‘Live from Lincoln Center’ on PBS would feature Luciano Pavarotti. From 1977 until I left NYC in 2013, I had a great time enjoying the Met, the NY Philharmonic, the City Opera and loads of Broadway shows. I spent nearly 40 years soaking up the best culture capital in the world. (Sorry, London, you’re great, but your plumbing stinks, and your tap water tastes terrible, while NYC’s water tastes great!)  

“The Ph.D. foundered because my topic was an 18th-century Scottish publisher of music. Though I enjoyed annual travels to London to do research and grew familiar with beautiful Edinburgh, only two other people on the planet shared my interest in this publisher. So, after paying Columbia tuition for 16 years (when they told me my time was up), I said good-bye to C.U.  

“From ’79 onward I had gone to school at C.U. during the day, then had a night job doing typesetting. That shop was in Hell’s Kitchen, 45th Street between 10th & 11th avenues, not far from the entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel. Now that was education.  

“From 1993 to 2013 I kept living in NYC because I was in love with the whole city. My two loves: the Empire State Building (Paris can have their tower! The ESB is the finest building in the WORLD!), and the Chrysler Building, the prettier runner-up. I was happy there.” 

(Jeanne Ryder is a 1974 graduate of Northeastern University with a degree in Liberal Arts.)