Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Hasidic Jew celebrating Purim and a narcoleptic Mexican, 2012

Welcome back to another edition of Craziest NYC Taxi Stories in New York City. Colorful is a good word to describe tonight’s list of unusual and eccentric characters. I picked up 40 people during the night driving shift starting late afternoon on a Sunday. Because it was Sunday traffic was easier to navigate and more relaxed. My afternoon started as I rode along Flatbush Avenue as I do every afternoon. I was unable to find anyone headed into the city right away, so over I went across the Manhattan Bridge in search of my first passenger for the shift. I made a right turn onto Canal, then I spotted a group of young hipsters wanting to go back to their place in Fort Greene, so I swing a turn back around onto Hester, making a left on Bowery, and back over the bridge we go. They decided instead to get off at 7th and Flatbush in search of a store. Next up, I head back down Flatbush, and am stopped by two married Australian women who then ask me to go to Bedford Avenue “where there are furniture stores” from where we are in Park Slope. I had no idea exactly where this was but I made the assumption that they wanted to go Williamsburg. Not wanting to lose the fare, money is the name of the game here, I settled on the intersection of Bedford Avenue and Grand Street in Williamsburg, so we turn onto the BQE Eastbound which really means northeast bound, to the neighborhood of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, New York. Williamsburg is hangout central for hipsters and a booming, gentrifying, and cosmopolitan neighborhood. I’m not sure these two Australian ladies knew exactly where they were going, but they were satisfied with this choice. Once I discharge them, I then head back across the Williamsburg Bridge after a brief and unsuccessful scan of the streets for passengers in Williamsburg. On the bridge I encountered a backup due to some type of construction. I passed the backup after riding solo after about 12 minutes. I turn onto one of the northbound streets in the East Village and spy a cosmopolitan black man headed back into central Brooklyn near Bed Stuy. We cross back over the Williamsburg Bridge again and make our way through Brooklyn again. After I drop this guy off, I make my way through central Brooklyn alone; I’m going to skip the Williamsburg Bridge because of the inbound backup there, and head towards Flatbush yet again to return to Canal Street over the Manhattan Bridge. As I ride through Brooklyn, I see a Hasidic Jewish man wearing a large black hat called a Shtreimel, and a black robe with his children. He waves at me. I stop, roll down the window, and ask “what’s up?” in my usual casual tone? He says “Can you take me; I need to make 2 stops with my kids?” He said in a strong Yiddish accent. I could barely understand him. I said sure. We ride through Williamsburg. He is a Hasidic Jew like many in this part of Brooklyn, most of who never hail taxis. Today the Jews in this neighborhood are celebrating Purim, which is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the deliverance of the Jewish people in the Persian Empire in ancient history. The Hasidic man sitting in the front seat offers me some directions. He then proceeds to tell me that on this holiday, which is a Sunday, he wears his traditional clothes, those normally worn on a Saturday, and the kids dress up and celebrate, sort of like Halloween. As I drive through, I see many Hasidic Jewish kids in this neighborhood wearing costumes, and many adults wearing their traditional outfits of the Sabbath. The man then told me in a heavy Yiddish accent and imperfect English, that “on this day, we drink, but not any other days, we do not drink. Do you drink?” I stated “Of course I do” I laughed. He says “and you get drunk?” I said “Yes.” We stopped. The man rushed out of the taxi and left his kids in the back for a few moments. Next we make another stop, and he takes his kids and offers me $10 for a$7 fare. “Thank you, nice meeting you” I say. I drove on. Next, I drive south and back over the Manhattan Bridge into Manhattan as originally planned, and then I picked up some out-of-towners headed for La Guardia airport. Off we go, from the east side, to the airport. Then I get a fare back to the Upper West Side from the taxi holding lot at the airport. Next came a memorable middle-aged lady, someone I term a middle-aged complainer. I picked her up on West 72nd Street just as the last airport trip was departing the cab. I was facing west on this two-way street. She tells, make a U-turn then go to 86th and Park. Of course, she wanted to head to Park Avenue; there is an infamous street for you in taxi driving.  She wanted me to make an ILLEGAL u-turn, which I don’t make because I don’t like getting tickets from the NYPD and points on my license. I ignore her, and make a left on Columbus, circle back around to 70th Street, and then make a left on CPW, to head north to the 86th Street Transverse. She begins to complain about the fact that I would not in fact make an illegal U-turn, she tells me, “hey wait, you are supposed to tell me that you will not do a U-turn.” I said, “yes of course I will not. I don’t want to risk breaking the law, that’s illegal.” The she states “this is totally not the way that I would do this trip.”Of course, there is no alternative because there is no way to head northeast unless you want to go all the way over Amsterdam Avenue from Columbus or make an illegal U-turn (meaning that what she said was completely nonsensical). We then proceed up Central Park West. I was hoping she wouldn’t make any other complaints and I’d be able to get the trip completed without having to discharge her and lose the fare. She then asked me to roll down the windows, which I did. We stopped on Madison and 85th. She then stated that she’d get out there. I told her, go ahead and pay less if you would like, she offered no response and then she paid me $8.25 for an $8.20 fare and went on her way. A middle-aged complainer headed to Park Avenue, telling me something nonsensical is a pretty predictable event in taxi driving, I believe in their attempt to “game” us a bit. My strategy for dealing with these individuals normally consists of reasoning with them or ignoring what they say, knowing the law and the streets, and if necessary discharging them from the vehicle. Moving on, moneywise I was having a good shift tonight with a steady stream of business all night. Predictably, things slow down on a Sunday after 12AM. My next series of fares included the usual groups, some tourists from Sweden, another group from Arizona, a black girl to the Bronx ,and some club and bar hoppers headed home for the night to various parts of Brooklyn. A few more fares after the complainer, I picked up a small Latin man headed to Harlem, wearing a sweatshirt. This was probably against my better judgment. He could barely speak English and he wasn’t really dressed like a man who accord afford a high taxi fare and tip. I asked him if he had money to pay the fare. He showed me his wallet filled with green, got in, and we were off. He muttered in broken English “man make phone call about money, they no have it.” I said, “what? Oh yes that’s right some don’t pay, but most do.” This Mexican man wanted to head to Harlem at 110th and 3rd Avenue. Our best bet would be to head straight up 3rd Avenue, since traffic was light tonight. The man then argued in broken English, “Sir, if you go along the side, pointing right, it much faster (meaning the FDR).” I said, “Mr., I think it’s probably easier just to go up 3rd Avenue at this time of night, we should get a lot of greens here.”He said “hurry sir, the right side, I have to go to the bathroom soon. Let’s rush.”I ignored him and went up 3rd. He lost interest in this conversation, and quieted down. We are zooming up 3rd almost to Harlem. When we arrive, I pull over and look back. I say, “yo, dawg, we are 110th and 3rd in Harlem, is this okay for you?”No response. He is asleep. I honk the horn. Twice. No response. I turn around again, “Hello, Mister, here we are at your destination.”Still, no response. I think this Mexican must have narcolepsy. He falls asleep in the middle of a taxi ride in which he needs to use the bathroom. I open the door to my van, go around and open his door. I half expected this snoozing little man to pull out an 18” machete and start whacking my neck with it, thinking that maybe his sleeping was an act. I touch his leg. He wakes up proclaiming “Oh, sorry for the sleeping!”I say “no problem (secretly seeing my life flash before my eyes).” He then pulls out his wallet and hands me a $20. I offer him $6. He gets out and I get in and lock the doors. Up another $14. Speeding away now, next!!!!     

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

An Unlucky Night

Welcome to another chapter of Craziest NYC taxi stories. Today was Wednesday night, March 30, 2012.  I got to the garage early to see if there were any “early bird” vehicles available. Today was a Saturday so today the competition for a vehicle at the garage was lighter. I was able to get a vehicle right away. The vehicle I received had been repaired earlier in the day and was just ready for a new driver. It was a Dodge Caravan.  These vans are fraught with minor mechanical problems, a few of which I encountered during my shift tonight, and tonight I’ll be reviewing some of the negatives of taxi driving, mechanical problems included. This Saturday started out very well, with a couple hopping in right in Park Slope close to the taxi garage when I was pulling out from the gas station. They were headed to the theater district in West Midtown. As I drove through the city I realized that I was driving one of the vans with the most mechanical and electrical issues in the fleet, 6HXX. A hinge on the door had just been replaced, but the radio was not working and there were other problems. Also, as I came to discover, my credit card machine and computer console in my taxi had some issues. I had just dropped off two guys near Union Square, they swiped their card, the transaction went through and the meter printed the receipt, but then the machine froze. I had encountered this very same issue in this taxi before and had been lucky enough not to have to drive this vehicle very often. I had no idea whether their transaction had been paid to my account. I drove around for several more minutes and had to reboot the computer system on my taxi. A taxi computer consists of a TV screen in the back, and a console in the front for the driver to enter certain types of information such as payment type and number of passengers. My console in the front was frozen so I reset it by hitting the red reset button on the center console. The computer then took a few minutes and I had to log in again. This very same thing happened again a little while later while driving a young lady from Madison Avenue to Horatio Street in the West Village. It was possible that I had actually lost these credit card transactions since the computer crashed. I had to reset the computer again and login. From then on, I asked my fares for cash, some I had to refuse because they had no cash. I got tired of this because it’s a bit annoying to have to drive by and ask a fare this question every single time. It’s also against TLC rules. I called the garage and asked them what I should do about my problem, they had no idea. After this sort of thing went on for a little while I decided to go ahead and head over to the meter shop on Van Dam Street in Queens to get the machine fixed. I headed over the Queensboro Bridge. The traffic wasn’t bad at all luckily. I reached the meter shop and the man at the counter told me that I needed to go to the credit card shop on Jackson Avenue called Creative Mobile Technologies. This was about 1 or 2 miles away from the taxi meter shop. On the way there, I had some trouble finding the shop because I couldn’t understand the address the man had told me. I thought he said 24th Street, but eventually ended up on 21st Street and Jackson Avenue. Here at the shop, they recalibrated the taxi computer. This took about 1 hour’s worth of time, during which I had lost driving/fares. All told, this situation cost me about 2 hours of downtime or about $70 to $100 in revenues. After I had the machine repaired, I headed back down Jackson Avenue and towards the Queensboro Bridge, back on duty.  I spotted a black lady who wanted me to take her about 1.5 miles more into Queens. In a friendly manner, she directed me down Van Dam and right on 48th Avenue, then left. Shortly after I picked up a cute Asian girl dressed in a dress and heels that wanted me to drive her back towards the Citigroup tower in Long Island City, Queens. She directed me up underneath the Queensboro Bridge. I encountered another bit of bad luck early tonight. I had forgotten my 5 boroughs and Queens map at home, and I had to rely on the customers to help me get around Queens and my own dead reckoning which was not always on the money. The Asian girl paid in credit, and luckily my taxi computer seemed to be working properly again. After the Asian girl, I had a man who wanted me to take him to the Home Depot in Queens but I had to decline him because I had no idea where this was. From here, I went back over the Queensboro Bridge and back up 1st Avenue, where I immediately spotted a middle-aged foreign couple wanting to go to York Avenue and 79th Street, a quick trip. Immediately, after the middle-aged couple, I picked up a young woman who wanted to go to 4th avenue and 12th Street in the East Village. We proceeded down the FDR, exited at 23rd Street, turned onto 25th Street, and then took a left onto Second Avenue. She got off at 3rd Avenue and 13th Street. The trip was uneventful. This sort of turnover continued in the same sort of cadence that is typical for a weekend night. After nightfall on a Saturday night, taxi traffic tends to pick up and civilian vehicles tend to leave the city. The city is left with mostly taxis and taxi passengers. My passengers continued, in a flow one after another, to the tune of 50 total passengers for the evening. Tonight, most of them were short fares within the borough of Manhattan. I only had one trip outside of Manhattan, upto the Bronx from the Upper West Side; two old school New York white men with accents to match took me to 155th and the Grand Concourse. After dropping these two men off, I went back over the bridge to Harlem and picked up a young black woman headed all the way down to Canal and Centre Street. This fare with tip was about a $30 ride. After her, another young black lady got in immediately and we headed to a bar on Delancey and Pitt Street, a traffic-filled but uneventful ride. While most of my customers for the night were cooperative, and generally speaking in taxi driving people will choose to cooperate with me, I encountered another bit of bad luck in the form of some disorderly passengers later on in the night. Many people who are out late at night on the weekend are intoxicated and a driver will notice that it tends to get more and more crazy the later it gets. Add to this that it tends to be crowded in the city on the weekend, and things can get interesting. I spotted a young lady hailing me; she had just exited a bar on Third Avenue. She appeared to be alone. She got into my cab, then I saw that 6 of her friends also attempted to enter the cab, with two of them sitting in the floor, and one of her friends getting in the front. I spoke to the man up front and said “hey, excuse me, I have too many passengers now, I can’t take 7, that’s against the law.” Then I said, “can you take one of the others and yourself and get another cab?” He said “no we’re already in the cab.” My max is 5. For some taxis its 4. The Taxi and Limo Commission does not allow us to accept more. Because I have a large van, sometimes I have large groups attempt to enter the cab, against the rules. Now this man said “we’re only going to 7th and 23rd. We were on 3rd and about 34th.” I countered, “Man I don’t want to take too many because it’s illegal and we have to go across the city. You know I can call the cops!” Many times, with these large groups, rather than attempting to kick them out I simply don’t allow them to enter the cab. Then he said “I’ll give you an extra few bucks if you take us.” I said, “how about $20?” He said “no, an extra few.” I countered with $10. This wasn’t working out. I thought about getting out of the taxi and calling the cops because I don’t like to be asked to break the rules. The TLC can ticket us if we break the rules and situations like this just irk me. I muttered something about calling the cops. He then stated “you are fucking me good now!”The girls in the back ignored what was going on and just sat there. We argued for a minute more and I decided to go and just take them. He remarked to his friends in the back, “It sucks sitting in the front seat right now!” We proceed across town, arriving at 23rd and 7th Avenue. The fare was $7.50.  Once we stopped the girls in the back passed up some money for him, and he gets some out of his wallet. He seemed like a nice enough guy, but at the end of the ride he ended up stiffing me on the extra few bucks he had promised to give me earlier! Of course, every career has its ups and downs; having arguments with passengers seems to be a taxi driver’s downside, probably like many other service industry jobs. Later on in the night, I witnessed another disagreement between a taxi driver and his passengers. I was discharging a fare in the East Village, when I saw a blonde man hailing me across the street. Another taxi driven by an African man pulled around me, and then took the fare. The blonde guy with his friends got in, but then there appeared to be some sort of dispute between the blonde man and the driver. The blonde mans friend pulled him out of the taxi, then the taxi driver exited the vehicle came around to the other side, and attempted to punch the blonde man, while the other guy attempted to separate the two. These two guys were in a standoff for a few seconds, that’s when another couple came up and got into my vehicle, and we had to pull around this situation. I was glad this belligerent man had not tried to enter my car instead after pissing off this other driver. The couple in my taxi behaved in a business-like manner, glancing at this situation as we drove by. We took the FDR south from Houston Street through the tunnel to the West Side Highway, and then took a right at the first light. They paid cash. Then I went back to the West Side Highway and headed upto the West Village, looking for more fares. It was getting towards 4AM now, about the time to end my shift and head back to the garage. I took the left fork from the West Side Highway, onto 10th Avenue and headed north. Here, I saw a group of people leaving the clubs, like Avenue. A black man approached my window and he stated he was just headed up the street. He looked legitimate, so I let him in, and we headed to 48th and Broadway. We proceed quickly up 10th Avenue, took a right and stop in front of Morgan Stanley. He then informs me that he has to head into a building, but will be back. “Yeah, right!” I thought. My shift was ending I didn’t want to waste time waiting for this fraud to come back. I then asked if he had cash or wanted to go to an ATM. He said “I have to go into a building, but I will be back.” Again, I thought “yeah right!” I’m sure this guy isn’t coming back, plus it’s a waste of my time. I shrugged my shoulders and just watched the guy leave into Morgan Stanley, forgetting the lost $8.20 I pulled away and headed back down 7th Avenue, looking for one last fare before heading back to the garage.  No, my taxi driving career wasn’t all about having beautiful French supermodels with sexy accents come onto me as we ride alone together, or having CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies offer me $50 or $100 above the fare after a friendly conversation, or making new friends from across the world, but there is also a downside, of not getting along with a few oddballs, getting ripped off, or robbed. Tonight exemplified this risk. Maybe I’ll have better luck tomorrow!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Lots of Weirdos

   Tonight's Sunday night shift included quite a colorful list of characters even for a night of taxi driving in NYC and thus I think tonight is blog worthy. Tonight was a typical weekend summer night in New York City – relatively speaking, quiet. Its so odd because I personally think summer in the city is one of the best times of year since it is pleasant enough to be outside in shorts all the time even at night. Summer is so much funner! Of course, many Manhattan residents head to the Hamptons or else god knows where, perhaps they go to their true homes or the Poconos or the Berkshires or something. As I've stated before on this blog, the people left in Manhattan at this time are what I characterize as leftovers, financially. A bit harsh but this is how it is, our business slows down a bit in the summer. The “leftovers” are walkers, tourists from the US or abroad, kids, and people who aren't in the Hamptons crowd. The afternoon was slow and as I drove I was scrounging for every lone hailer I could get, competing with other hungry cabbies. Tonight's shift is an example of how a driver gets a short story about everyone's life who enters your taxi. Given my inquisitive nature, I prefer to ask a few questions about those who enter my cab just to get a sense of who they are, so herein lies the list. The afternoon started with a girl headed to Penn Station from the LES, ride uneventful. This was followed by a very beautiful girl in a halter top going only a few blocks. I had stopped in front of her even though she was not hailing me inquiring whether she wanted to ride - she only rode a few blocks – maybe she didn’t need a ride after all. After this I rode around for about 25 minutes without a fare, this is a time where you begin to sweat because we need to get those bills paid. Next up, something CRAZY happened. I found a gray-haired 40-ish man wearing sneakers and athletic clothes and carrying a backpack at 7th Avenue and 20th headed south. He was probably a gay man but he looked and acted heterosexual - you know, don't ask, don't tell. The ride was conversation free. We get in and we ride to 12th Street and Broadway near NYU. Neither one of us said anything. This was where the fun began. He feels his pocket, then he says oh woops I think I forgot my wallet “shit,” “f*ck” he says. Then he suggests we go back and get it. After this I ask him if he's got money in his apartment. He says, yes. At this point I want to make sure this man doesn't waste my time because the point of cab driving is to make that moula. So then he assures me that he does and he does seem like a legitimate guy. So around we go back across 11th Street then across 13th, then Greenwich Avenue, to 8th Avenue and then we take a right on 20th Street back in Chelsea. Cutting down 20th we pass a police precinct. Then we pull upto a building and I park across the street on the left side. He then proceeds to leave his bag in the back while he goes back in. I ask him to just tell me if he cant find his wallet there. Here is where more craziness happens. I hang out for a few minutes. I surf my Blackberry while I wait and I feel a bit sorry for this guy's misfortune. Next I see him come bolting out of his old building's door. Unfortunately as he was running across 20th Street another cab comes down the street and oops, the guy hits the front of the other cabs hood, then he bounces back, and makes a step back. The other cabbie jams on the breaks, and waits for him to back up. Now the other cab speeds up and moves on by and my passenger comes over to the other side. OOPS! Narrow miss on that one. Next up he gets in the cab and the poor man says “I couldn’t find it so I had to ask my doorman for some money” he said nervously. “Oh, ok.” Now I was eager to get this ride over with and get on with the next. At least he will not be ripping me off. He then proceeds to check his backpack. Poor man, now he tells me that his wallet is inside his backpack and its been there the whole time! Now he begins screaming expletives, “oh sh*t, oh f*ck! As we ride, he continues to curse at himself. Poor man. I smirked and I knew this would be a funny one for my readers I don't think I could make up something like this if I tried. At the end of the ride he pays me $14 and leaves. I just sit there and accept his money. This is not the first time something like this has happened – several people have left their money and have had to have friends pay for them or else have just left. On the other side of this, many people leave small items in the car. Later on that shift a man left a pair of cheap sunglasses in my car. By the time I saw them he was already inside his building with his friends so I just decided to take them. After this I picked up a few more forgettables. ....

     Now for the next WEIRDO.... I was headed down 5th Avenue and at 58th Street I had a 40ish man hail me from the left side. I pulled over and we chat about where he is going. He just wants to go about 7 blocks and pick up some chairs from a store. He said that would be a very kind of me to help him. From his accent I could tell he was not a New Yorker, he was from Florida, he sounded southern to me (just like myself) and seemed affluent. He told me that he was a life coach and a motivational speaker. He had a very relaxed voice and was very easygoing. He told me that he needed to take these chairs to the Saint Regis Hotel on 55th and 5th Avenue. He stated that he was in town for work for a few months. I knew from where he was headed he was probably doing extremely well financially. He discussed his travels and also the fact that he carried his bible with him on his travels. His voice reminded me of the Christian reverends I used to listen to on TV Sunday morning. Next he had a phone conversation about an event that he was having later that night with some Sheik or someone it seemed who was of vast importance. I suspect this was one of his life coach clients. He told me about his job as a life coach and motivational speaker - a job I found to be very hokey but I found interesting anyway. Despite his relaxed voice, something about him made me uncomfortable. Next, we talked about how several people had left items in the cab and I mentioned to him about the guy earlier in the day who had lost his wallet inside his book-bag. He told me a bizarre story about having his baggage at an airport stolen and then later finding his baggage sitting in the airport as the thief had abandoned it – and the airport police had thought it was a bomb. This conversation was then interjected by a mistake I made behind the wheel – I failed to get into the left turning lane at Park and 57th there was a huge traffic jam during this ride, on top of this a cop pulled right behind me. I knew he'd nail me if I made a left from the right lane so I went straight, I'd have to loop around to go down Park to get to Madison and 55th Street. I went straight and unfortunately, the cop buzzed me, and pulled up alongside. “He rolled down the window and asked me what I was doing making a left turn from the right lane?” I told him there's a lot of traffic right here today, and huh I'll have to make a loop around and go upto Madison then make a right.” With this he gave me a smug look then rolled up his window and went on his way. Gotta be on the lookout for cops. Mr. Life Coach was none too concerned. He then asked me to pull over at Madison and 57th Street. Then he told me that I was doing well for other people by helping them find their stuff he sounded very sincere and thankful. But something just made me uncomfortable about this man – I suspect he was one of these religious homosexual types who does not admit that he's a homosexual. His level of interest in me just seemed a bit odd as if it were of a sexual nature. He gave me a large tip for helping with his chairs and I went on my way, glad to be rid of this WEIRDO. Later on, I navigated my way through what seemed like a bit heavy traffic for a Sunday afternoon in summertime near the Queensboro Bridge headed back south....

    Later on I found myself in the Tribeca area, on West Broadway and just above Canal and picked up another notable fare. I saw a Latin-looking man hailing me from across West Broadway near Broome Street in front of a bar. On his shirt it said “volunteers needed for university sex experiments.” He had a good, cool vibe about him. He looked at me and he waved me off so I started wondering what was going on. I looked again then a blonde girl with him comes over. Now I wave them in since it was slow I wasn't going to let them get away with changing their minds about getting into my cab. The blonde girl comes over and smiles at me and so does the ethnic man and also another brown-haired white young lady. They all get in and we put the brown-haired girls suitcase in the back. Something just struck me about this group. As we drove north the blonde girl and the Hispanic male started to make out. This was interjected by some broken conversation between each other, me, and the brown-haired girl. Both girls were super cute. I had caught their eyes in my rear view mirror and I could see them smiling at me. I could tell they were a bit intoxicated. When we arrived at 8th Avenue and 14th Street, I exited the car and helped the brown-haired girl with her bag and she gave me a flirtatious grin, then I looked her over. She went on her way. After this, I drove the Hispanic man and his girl upto 17th and 9th. They seemed primed for a hookup - who knows how they met. A little flirtation is always fun.... The sun began to set on Gotham. After this fun group, I picked up another similar group of drunks but these girls weren't as friendly and seem more interested in their men, although they were polite. After this, I picked up a few say-nothing people carrying home groceries and a few Latin American tourists who fit the cliche of random, excited visitors to NYC.......
    After dropping off an Aussie couple on Avenue C I saw a very short person hailing me from the street. At first I thought it was a child but I looked closer and I saw that it was a midget, a Chinese midget at that. He was about 3-4 feet tall with a stout body and short arms. I could imagine he had trouble getting around the city. He came over and opened the door and we proceeded to Mott Street in Chinatown. We chitchatted a bit about the traffic. There seemed to be a jam around Chinatown and I wondered if there was not some event down there blocking streets. I never asked him about his disability but he seemed pretty smart and I could imagine it was tough dealing with being that short. He was one of the shortest midgets I'd ever seen....Next up were a series of boring fares which included a rude Asian guy practicing his golf swing in the street, a say nothing Asian couple getting off at 97th and Lexington and an old middle-aged complainer type couple going to the UES...9PM turned to 10PM then 11PM and the city slowly got quieter just like it does every Sunday. I took two separate girls to Williamsburg. Immediately after dropping one of these off, I got an English girl going from Williamsburg to Eastern Parkway in Prospect Heights - a 20 min ride. This area is predominately Black and economically challenged. On the way back to Manhattan I got two black girls going from Dekalb close to Flatbush Avenue to some place in Bed Stuy. I had them direct me since I didn't have time to pull out my GPS device. Intra-Brooklyn trips can be a bit tricky for a cabbie who stays mostly in the city since you don’t really know which direction you are facing or going. This was about midnight or so. She paid me with a $50. although I usually try to avoid accepting large bills. Bed Stuy is not the safest area although its gentrifying just like other parts of the city.
    After 1AM, the city began to get slower and slower and more deserted and quieter. The only people left to pickup now were the club-goers in the meatpacking district and the only cabbies left to pick them up were the night owls like myself who frequented this area. Later on into the night about 2AM or 3AM I stopped for a well-dressed Hispanic male on about 21st and 9th Avenue in Chelsea almost the same spot I picked up the wallet guy earlier in the day. When I pulled over he continued to hail other cabs. At first I thought that maybe it was because something was wrong with my cab but then I got the impression it was because he was toast. My second guess was correct. He got in then he sat down and he wobbled a bit. He looked at me as if he were some robot from cloud 9 then he mumbled a bit. I knew this guy could turn out to be trouble since he was so tanked. Many times what you'll find is that drunk males can become paranoid or violent acting or refuse to pay. He wanted to go to Bay Ridge which is a hella long way away from Chelsea. As we proceed towards the Manhattan Bridge, I ask him how he's going to pay? He mumbles something about me being a bit worried. I was, yes. Then he pulls out his wallet and hands me his credit card and $30. Great, thanks I tell him. Monetary concerns alleviated. Acts of violence, not so much. Now I'm just worried about being stabbed. I proceed to drive down to the Manhattan Bridge and get on BQE West to Brooklyn. He mumbles some things and tells me some nonsense I presume to be about his life in an incoherent drivel. I don't care I just want to make some bank and then go pick up some club girls to close out the night. The highway was empty. We take Belt Parkway East and after about 3 miles exit and get off near 100th Street near the Verrazano. This Latin zombie shakes my hand, gives me an extra $10 and I'm back on my way towards the city's west Side. I go up through the Battery Tunnel, where I then proceed to pick up a few more fares from Meat Packing. I ended the night by scoring a tranny-surprise type girl showing tons of cleavage, a WASPy young lady wearing a short dress and then finally, two French girls from Madagascar who were drop dead gorgeous. No play here though, just closing out my night and ending one another of craziest NYC taxi stories shifts.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Recent Destinations Within a NYC Taxi Shift

Hi, tonight I'd like to cover some of the more mundane aspects of taxi driving. Generally you will find that the most of your passengers will be headed from one place in Manhattan to another place. Other common destinations are the closer in neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens, for Example Park Slope, Williamsburg, and Astoria in Queens. La Gaurdia Airport and JFK Airport in Queens are also pretty frequent destinations. On with the list:

Destination 1: 53rd Street and 10th Avenue in Midtown, Manhattan
Destination 2: 55th Street and Sutton Place (York Avenue), Manhattan
Destination 3: 52nd Street and 9th Avenue in West Midtown, Manhattan
Destination 4: Columbus Avenue and 72nd Street on the Upper West Side, Manhattan
Destination 5: 58th Street and 5th Avenue, Midtown, Manhattan
Destination 6: Barrow and Hudson in the West Village, Manhattan
Destination 7: 54th Street and 8th Avenue, Manhattan, New York
Destination 8: 65th Street and Broadway, Manhattan
Destination 9: 42nd Street and 3rd Avenue, Midtown, Manhattan
Destination 10: 45th Street and 8th Avenue, Midtown, Manhattan
Destination 11: 54 Street and 6th Avenue, Manhattan
Destination 12: 90th Street and Central Park West, Upper West Side, Manhattan
Destination 13: 56th Street and 7th Avenue, Midtown, Manhattan
Destination 14: 27th Street and Lexington Avenue, Manhattan
Destinatiion 15: 15th Street and 5th Avenue, Manhattan
Destination 16: 60th Street and 2nd Avenue, Manhattan
Destination 17: 25th Street and 2nd Avenue, Manhattan
Destination 18: North 9th and Bedford Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Destination 19: 63rd and 2nd Avenue, Manhattan
Destination 20: 86th Street and York Avenue, Upper East Side, Manhattan
Destination 21: 79th Street and 2nd Avenue, Manhattan
Destination 22: 87th Street and Columbus Avenue, Upper West Side, Manhattan
Destination 23: 2nd Street and 2nd Avenue, Manhattan, New York
Destination 24: 88th Street and 1st Avenue, Manhattan, New York
Destination 25: 14th Street and Avenue B, Manhattan, New York
Destination 26: 3rd Street and Avenue C, Manhattan, New York
Destination 27: 42nd Street and Queens Boulevard, Queens, New York
Destination 28: 21st Street and 7th Avenue, Manhattan, New York
Destination 29: 88th Street and Madison Avenue, Manhattan, New York
Destination 30: 66th Street and Central Park West, Manhattan, New York
Destination 31: 23rd Street and 9th Avenue, Manhattan, New York
Destination 32: 36th Street and 8th Avenue, Manhattan, New York
Destination 33: 96th Street and Columbus Avenue, Manhattan, New York
Destination 34: 54th Street and Second Avenue, Manhattan, New York
Destination 35: 84th Street and Riverside Drive, Upper West Side, Manhattan

Now for some more unusual destinations that don't come up very often:
North New Jersey: Hoboken, Jersey City, Bergen - you can legally refuse these if you want, $40-$140
Central Long Island, Huntington, Port Washington, Islip, $70-$160
Newark Airport - about $75 total, we are required to accept

Even more unusual:
Albany - $300-$500
Boston - $500-700
Atlantic City - $250