Stepping Out: Life Lessons from Solo Moments in New York
I learned that I was very capable on my own
after years, during marriage, of being told I was incapable.
Lynda, 69-year-old “financial social work” business owner
In the summer of 1968, as a Canadian divorcee, I needed an escape from the everyday and managed to save enough money for a few days in Manhattan. I had wonderful memories of long weekends in the City with my parents as a child and teenager. Also, I had a few friends there, from teenage summers in the Catskills, whom I had not seen for years although we kept in touch by mail.
My local travel agent recommended a Manhattan hotel I had never heard of but it was centrally located and walking distance from the Broadway district and the TKTS Discount Booth. The price was right and I figured the hotel would be OK. I gave him a deposit; he gave me a receipt.
I caught a cab from the airport. The cabbie looked at me strangely when I told him where I was going. When we pulled up, the bell hop asked if I was sure whether this was the right hotel. I assured him it was. I walked to the front desk, said I had a reservation and was told that was not possible. I demanded to see the manager. In her office, I showed her my receipt; she said there was a problem. They had not received my reservation, but she was willing to honor it. Then she asked, “Do you know what kind of hotel this is?” It turned out to be for “Spanish ladies of the night.”
Please remember this was a different era and a “nice girl” was not even supposed to acknowledge she knew what “ladies of the night” meant. After I asked, the manager assured me the rooms were comfortable and I would not be disturbed – she would notify her staff to watch out for me.
It has made a good story for years.
After my initial shock, I thought this was a lark. When meeting with old friends, I enjoyed seeing the look on their faces when I told them where I was staying. I did not have any problems at the hotel and the staff did watch out for me, quietly following me through the lobby as I came and went. I felt pampered.
I love New York to this day. I learned that I was very capable on my own after years, during marriage, of being told I was incapable. And I’ve lived my life with the belief that “anything is possible.”
◊ ◊ ◊
Go for it.
It will make a great story.