I haven’t been there in decades but my memories of the place….. If you have not read other blogs of mine, please bear in mind that my Dad worked for an airline so I had the priviledge of traveling extensively and flying back in the days when it was still quite expensive and I got upgrades. Please understand, I am very grateful and appreciate how lucky I was. Especially as I now pay every cent for any flight I take! I saw the first ever 747 take off from New York, it was parked beside the 707 I was booked onto. The first flight had passengers made up of employees of PanAm. I was in awe, even though I knew because Dad had taught me from a very young age how planes work and what gets them off the ground, but even I just looked at that thing and thought ‘Wow! that plane is HUGE!’.

During my early and mid-teens I traveled through New York several times a year en-route to where ever home happened to be. Staying at a hotel called The Taft. Back then it was a great hotel, then fell into some disrepair and I believe it is now a condo thingie. Going across the road from the hotel to Choc’Full’o’Nuts for breakfast because I always woke up too early – flying in from London meant I was 5 or 6 hours out of sync. The all night noise of sirens and car horns honking.

I was never that keen on NYC in the summer, my memories are of garbage and taxi strikes and the heat. But in the winter, it was a magical city. I loved it best in December, Santa Claus on every street corner, hot chestnut sellers, the craziness of Macys Store with that constant ding ding ding noise and (back then) Gimbells (sp?) which was a competitor and if I remember right, pretty much on the next block.

Radio City Music Hall with those incredibly tall guys in top hats to welcome you in to not just a movie but a show too. Not to mention the Rockettes.

When people found out I was travelling as an unaccompanied minor to New York they would freak out but nothing bad ever happened. Of course back then I had no idea that I had really poor eyesight so maybe, a bit like the cartoon character Mr. Magoo, all hell was breaking out all around me, but if it was, I certainly never noticed! And really…….. I don’t think it was. I think NYC got a bit of an undeserved bad reputation back then.

Some major life events for me happened in New York, I’ll gloss lightly over one but let’s just say I remember thinking ‘That’s it!? That’s what the girls at school are going on about. I don’t get it.’ A few years later in an entirely different country I finally did understand and thanks to Alan have a been repeating that understanding ever since. ;o)

Other funny things that are New York related… As many of you who have met me in real life know, in my family we tend to look a lot older than we really are. My Dad, me, my brother. At 13 I could ‘pass’ for 18 at the very least. This great for men as they tend to do really well in business, my Dad, my brother, but not so great for women, especially if, like me, you happen to be married to a man who looks younger than he really is. But that’s a whole ‘nother issue.

Once en-route to NY from London I was wearing my hair up and warmer clothes because London was still cool while I knew that NYC would be hot and a guy chatted me up all the way across the Atlantic. He asked if I would be in NY long and I said that I would be there just for the one night. He asked me out on a date. Then about an hour before we landed I went to the loo, changed into a mini-dress and let my hair down. I got back to my seat and the poor bloke visibly blanched and said ‘How old are you?” I replied ’13, I take it the date is off then?’ Poor guy, but maybe I taught him a lesson on judging books by their covers! LOL.

Another time going from the Caribbean to NY I was sitting beside my dad on a plane (me by the window, Dad in the aisle seat) and …… well basically a blonde bombshell ‘Marilyn Monroe type’ flight attendant came wafting towards us and said ‘Harry!!! Baby!!’. My Dad leaned over to me and said ‘Do NOT say a word about this to your mother.’ Blonde Bombshell then caught sight of me and if looks could kill I would be dead. Dad kind of spluttered ‘This is my daughter!’. Blonde Bomshell said ‘Uuuuhhhh hhhhuuuhhh!’ and flounced off. I thought it was hilarious.

On that trip Dad took me for dinner for my 14th birthday at a really nice restaurant. I was wearing what was then called ‘A Trouser Suit’. For all you youngsters it was a pair of trousers, I had on high heels, and the top was a bit like a military tunic and reached the very top of my thighs. The Maitre’D stopped us at the desk and said that women were not allowed in the restaurant if they were wearing trousers. Can you imagine? I told Dad to hang on a second, went to the ladies room, took off the trousers and put them in my handbag (purse for you North American types) and the manager let us in with no problem. The top was so short that I could not have shrugged my shoulders without showing my knickers but that was apparently OK; wearing trousers however might have cause horses to bolt, ladies to faint and small children to vomit.

But now I am going to sound like the grandma I am. While I found the ‘no trousers’ rule ridiculous and wore miniskirts, I did cover up bits and pieces. What saddens me now is the way that young women show underwear in the workplace and more flesh than anyone wants to see……… Does that make me a hypocrite? Probably/possibly. It’s not the clothing that bothers me, it is the underlying fear that these young women feel that their only value is in the flesh on parade. I sound like an old blue-stocking feminist now but we wanted more than that for you girls, so much more.
Carolyn

Advertisements