Monitor Hall Takes Manhattan

B is for Beth, who missed her calling as a travel agent. Or cat shepherd, so adept are her organization, task focus, and time management skills.

S is for Sue, whose pre-planning, on-site planning, innate navigation gift that rivals Google Maps or Magellan’s himself, and experience as a world traveler make her the girls’ weekend Allstate Agent–you’re in good hands.

BS is for, well, BS is pretty self-explanatory in the usual contexts. But in my story, together, Beth and Sue head BS Travel, an imaginary travel agency that could and probably should consider incorporation some day.  BS Travel is full-service.  They personalize the experience for their clients (Bridget, Julie, and yours truly), and that personal touch creates adventure with a comfortable safety net.

This post won’t be 5% as good as I want it to be. I want it to reflect all that is incredible about New York City and the unbelievable hubris of man, who envisioned, believed, and then BUILT Manhattan, an island of dreams. More importantly, I want my story to reflect the friendships I’ve carried three decades. You see, my NYC venture is everything to do with the girls with whom I traveled. The sights and the other eight million people, however amazing–and they are nothing short of amazing–are merely backdrop.  All right, not merely.  Merely would be underselling its magnificence.

I actually took this photograph with my iPhone.  Pretty incredible, no?

Monitor Hall is the now-razed building that housed the Speech Pathology and Audiology program at Marquette University in our day.  Hands down, ugliest building on campus.  But Monitor Hall was the home, the launch pad of thousands of friendships, including ours.  Five Midwestern girls, livin’ in a lonely world, we took the midnight train. . . No, that’s not true.  There are few trains to the Milwaukee area and we are only now embracing street cars for mass transit, and let’s don’t even go there with the streetcar debate.  Where was I?  Though we came from different backgrounds, and I was definitely the only one with hair standing 7″ off and out of my head (I mean, it was the ’80s, you guys), the commonality of our Midwestern values, collective sense of humor, the fact that none of us were trust fund kids whose parents gifted them a free ride through college, made us friends.

Last summer Julie introduced the idea of a girls’ trip to celebrate our rather round, large birthdays, but a number of circumstances prevented that from its fruition.  But Julie isn’t one to abandon her people–No Speech Path Left Behind is the motto, yo.  We, well to be honest, they, planted the seeds for this trip.  After much discussion, we decided upon NYC, and unbeknownst to us all, BS Travel was born.  Sue killed the hotel and dinner reservations; Beth, the airlines and daily activities; Julie scored the Broadway tickets, and Bridget and I hit “purchase.”  This is not to say that Bridget had as little to do with planning as I did (which, no lie, was absolutely nothing), but the big three were all over the Big Apple.

BS Travel Hits All Your Midtown High Notes

This isn’t a travelogue, because really, what the hell do I know about travel?  Yeah, um, not much.  I know that I notice things, and I’ve got a decent memory for place.  I really don’t get lost, which is not the same as having no idea where you are, by the way.  But once I found my bearings, I could find things and re-find them when needed.  Like on which side of Rockefeller Plaza the bathrooms were located, for example.  Go, me!  Rather than detail sites, I’m gonna detail US, the stars of this show.

Because props.  Dylan’s Candy Bar.  I believe I actually squealed at the wall of rainbow-colored candies.

See how the sign indicated exit?  That’s how you know we successfully entered the subway and later arrived to the surface no worse for the wear.

Downtown and Brooklyn and Broadway and and and. . .

The one place I felt strongly about visiting was the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. 9/11 was my “Where were you when Kennedy was shot?” or “Pearl Harbor” event.  As it did then, it does now continue to touch me to my core.  The museum and memorial are beautiful and deeply respectful of their reason for being.  It’s one place we didn’t take selfies, because it would have been so incongruous.  Solemnity and reverence are the two words that most registered with me there.

Oh, my heart.

Kinky Boots.  Kinky Boots! So fun, and made all the more fun seeing Tyler Glenn portray Charlie.  Watch Believer, the documentary by Dan Reynolds from Imagine Dragons if you want to learn more about Tyler Glenn, the lead singer from the band Neon Trees.  Mind.  Blown.  But I digress.  Dinner before the thea-tah was divine, and the show was a party.  Now if that woman in front of me could have just sat down and sat still. . .

The East River Isn’t Actually A River

Don’t let ’em fool you.  We cruised around Manhattan on Day 3.  Genius move, y’all, because heat and humidity are not always our friends.  And we’d walked like a hundred miles the two days prior, ’cause yeah, we’re smart like that.

You can’t help but be moved upon first sight.

Hot, hot, hot.  

We did walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, but this shot from beneath it really popped.

 It Takes A Village

Like the tee shirts proclaim, I do heart NY.  I can’t wait to return and bring my son (OK, all of my family, sure, but especially my NYC-obsessed high schooler), but at the same time I was ready to come home.  The city is too everything, and I love it.  Love it.  The city that never sleeps is truly that, but I also do appreciate a bit of peace and quiet.  Ironic that I live in the city, but I don’t live IN THE CITY either.  I was ready to be heading home, though not at all looking forward to the good-byes.

Splitting off at the Riu Hotel Saturday afternoon, hugs and “safe travels” abounded as Beth, Julie, and I hopped into our Uber back to LaGuardia while Sue and Bridget meandered toward the train station.  There were tears, but not ugly tears, just tears in celebration of a wildly successful trip with amazing women who have made good.  Monitor Hall taught and shaped us well as speech paths.  But it’s what is inside of them (do I daresay us to include myself in this elite company?), what is inside us that has guided us through life to be successful speech paths, parents, wives, and friends.  It takes a village (oft-heard on our trip because at least one of us had the heads-up at all times).  I like my village.  A lot.  My village is smart, compassionate, kind, generous, and damn good at travel arrangements.  My love to you all, girls! xoxo

Where to next time???

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4 thoughts on “Monitor Hall Takes Manhattan

  1. This post is all-awesome. I don’t even know you all, but now I want to be in your posse. Maybe I can slip in Zelig-style and you won’t even notice. You’ll be sitting around sipping cocktails and someone will say, “Remember when …” and I’ll just nod and say, “Oh yes! Of course! Who can forget? Wasn’t that a time!” and hope that no one notices that they don’t remember me. I promise not to be too much trouble. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’d be a wonderful addition to the crew! You wouldn’t even have to slide in, I’m sure it’d be open arms. Bring your sass and a healthy dose sincerity peppered with one-liners. In!

      Like

  2. where too next …… GERMANY- we will be 3 hours Drive to Amsterdam and 3.5 hours to Paris- need I say more!!!!!! Please mi casa su casa or as they say in German mein Haus ist Ihr Haus!!!!!
    Ginger

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Looks like you made the most of your trip, Wendy. I love that city. That was my backyard growing up.

    Where to next? Back to New York, of course! I’ve been exploring the streets of the five boroughs for forty years, and they still hold new surprises and adventures for me. Glad you made it home safe — that’s always the best part of any vacation, anyway!

    Like

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