On February 5, The New York Review celebrated its fiftieth anniversary with an evening at Town Hall in New York City. Before a packed crowd of 1,400 people, editor Robert Silvers introduced John Banville, Mary Beard, Michael Chabon, Mark Danner, Joan Didion, Daniel Mendelsohn, and Darryl Pinckney, who read from their past work in the Review and spoke about their relationship with the magazine, and its influence on their careers.

We’re pleased to present some highlights from the event, with photos by Beowulf Sheehan.

Cathleen Schine, Imaginary Friends

Michael Chabon’s Telegraph Avenue, the story of the ordinary lives of two imperfect, rather ordinary families, is as much a fantasy as The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay or even The Yiddish Policemen’s Union. It might, oddly, be his most original book as well.

Photo: Michael Chabon, Berkeley, California, circa 2003 (Michael Murphree/Corbis Outline)

Cathleen Schine, Imaginary Friends

Michael Chabon’s Telegraph Avenue, the story of the ordinary lives of two imperfect, rather ordinary families, is as much a fantasy as The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay or even The Yiddish Policemen’s Union. It might, oddly, be his most original book as well.

Photo: Michael Chabon, Berkeley, California, circa 2003 (Michael Murphree/Corbis Outline)

I hate dreams. Dreams are the Sea Monkeys of consciousness: in the back pages of sleep they promise us teeming submarine palaces but leave us, on waking, with a hermetic residue of freeze-dried dust. The wisdom of dreams is a fortune on paper that you can’t cash out, an oasis of shimmering water that turns, when you wake up, to a mouthful of sand. I hate them for their absurdities and deferrals, their endlessly broken promise to amount to something, by and by. I hate them for the way they ransack memory, jumbling treasure and trash. I hate them for their tedium, how they drag on, peter out, wander off.

Pretty much the only thing I hate more than my own dreams are yours.

Michael Chabon, Why I Hate Dreams