Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Melissa Plaut in New York City

I Hate Second Avenue

I went back to driving a cab after a hiatus of six months. When I showed up at the garage for my first shift, my buddy Sam updated me on the situation on the streets. This is what cabbies do at my garage. They tell each other where the cops are waiting to give tickets, where there's construction, where they've been finding good fares, and so on. Knowing I hadn't driven in a while, Sam warned me about the surge in traffic: "When you get out there, you'll find it a lot harder to move than the last time you worked."

I caught my first passenger right away, at the bottom of the 59th Street Bridge. He was a young hipster guy with long bleached blond hair. He was going to Central Park West and 73rd and when he got in, he politely asked me if he could eat his sandwich in the backseat. I said, "Sure, as long as you don't get it everywhere." He promised to eat it over his bag, and I felt lucky that my first passenger in all these months was a nice guy with good manners.

Things took a turn for the worse an hour later when I had my first near-accident/near-death experience of the shift. I was on Third Avenue when a Hyundai on my left that was running into a construction area decided it wanted to be in my lane. It looked like they were about to rail right into my door, and I had no room to get out of the way; I slowed down, leaned on the horn, and braced myself for the hit.

At the last second, the Hyundai skidded to a stop in front of the orange cones and waited for the flow of traffic to break so they could get in. It's a regular occurrence on the streets of New York, but I hadn't driven in so long, I wasn't used to the aggression other drivers direct toward cabbies. I found myself a little shaken up.

Around 5:30, I decided that I despised Second Avenue. It was the third time in less than two hours that I got caught in a bad jam there, and I realized Sam hadn't exaggerated about the traffic.

The night eased on, as it always does.

At 7:00, I passed another female cab driver as we were inching down Broadway. She looked miserable, so I didn't say hi.

At 7:45, I was turning past some people standing on the median on West Street and overheard someone say, "She's kind of young to be driving a cab."

At 9:30, I dropped off a passenger in Elmhurst, Queens. Without a fare in the car, I decided to call my buddy Diego to chat. Turned out that he was dropping off just a few blocks away from where I was. We decided to race down to JFK Airport together. It would give us a chance to park the cabs and hang out while waiting for passengers.

When we got there, it was like a big family reunion. I ran into another female cabbie I had met three years before, right after I got my hack license. We caught up for a few minutes and then Diego and I went to get food in the cafeteria. The place was a madhouse, sort of like a Moroccan souk or something, with the Greek guys behind the counter calling out prices and food items as fast as auctioneers and a motley crew of drivers mobbing the coffee urns and cash registers.

Outside, I ran into another cabbie I knew, an old Jamaican dude who does a reggae radio show late at night after his shifts. We all stood around talking shop and cracking jokes. And it was this moment when I realized that I hadn't missed driving the cab those months, but I missed the drivers; I missed the culture, and I missed the city.

I got a good fare out of the airport after about a half hour, and the night ended without any real mishaps or shake-ups. I considered it a good welcome back, which reminded of something else Sam told me that afternoon at the garage: "This job is like being a drug addict. You have one great night and you're hooked and keep coming back for more. But when you have those bad nights, you just wish you could quit."

I had a decent night. I'd be back for more.

newyorkhack.blogspot.com

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Football: a career low for Lucille Ball

A darker shade of twilight

I Hate Second Avenue

I went back to driving a cab after a hiatus of six months. When I showed up at the garage for my first shift, my buddy Sam updated me on the situation on the streets. This is what cabbies do at my garage. They tell each other where the cops are waiting to give tickets, where there's construction, where they've been finding good fares, and so on. Knowing I hadn't driven in a while, Sam warned me about the surge in traffic: "When you get out there, you'll find it a lot harder to move than the last time you worked."

I caught my first passenger right away, at the bottom of the 59th Street Bridge. He was a young hipster guy with long bleached blond hair. He was going to Central Park West and 73rd and when he got in, he politely asked me if he could eat his sandwich in the backseat. I said, "Sure, as long as you don't get it everywhere." He promised to eat it over his bag, and I felt lucky that my first passenger in all these months was a nice guy with good manners.

Things took a turn for the worse an hour later when I had my first near-accident/near-death experience of the shift. I was on Third Avenue when a Hyundai on my left that was running into a construction area decided it wanted to be in my lane. It looked like they were about to rail right into my door, and I had no room to get out of the way; I slowed down, leaned on the horn, and braced myself for the hit.

At the last second, the Hyundai skidded to a stop in front of the orange cones and waited for the flow of traffic to break so they could get in. It's a regular occurrence on the streets of New York, but I hadn't driven in so long, I wasn't used to the aggression other drivers direct toward cabbies. I found myself a little shaken up.

Around 5:30, I decided that I despised Second Avenue. It was the third time in less than two hours that I got caught in a bad jam there, and I realized Sam hadn't exaggerated about the traffic.

The night eased on, as it always does.

At 7:00, I passed another female cab driver as we were inching down Broadway. She looked miserable, so I didn't say hi.

At 7:45, I was turning past some people standing on the median on West Street and overheard someone say, "She's kind of young to be driving a cab."

At 9:30, I dropped off a passenger in Elmhurst, Queens. Without a fare in the car, I decided to call my buddy Diego to chat. Turned out that he was dropping off just a few blocks away from where I was. We decided to race down to JFK Airport together. It would give us a chance to park the cabs and hang out while waiting for passengers.

When we got there, it was like a big family reunion. I ran into another female cabbie I had met three years before, right after I got my hack license. We caught up for a few minutes and then Diego and I went to get food in the cafeteria. The place was a madhouse, sort of like a Moroccan souk or something, with the Greek guys behind the counter calling out prices and food items as fast as auctioneers and a motley crew of drivers mobbing the coffee urns and cash registers.

Outside, I ran into another cabbie I knew, an old Jamaican dude who does a reggae radio show late at night after his shifts. We all stood around talking shop and cracking jokes. And it was this moment when I realized that I hadn't missed driving the cab those months, but I missed the drivers; I missed the culture, and I missed the city.

I got a good fare out of the airport after about a half hour, and the night ended without any real mishaps or shake-ups. I considered it a good welcome back, which reminded of something else Sam told me that afternoon at the garage: "This job is like being a drug addict. You have one great night and you're hooked and keep coming back for more. But when you have those bad nights, you just wish you could quit."

I had a decent night. I'd be back for more.

newyorkhack.blogspot.com

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

"We had to get canning quickly"

In response to covid, these small brewers now offer beer in cans for the first time
Next Article

Dead Cross cover Black Flag’s “Rise Above” in solidarity with Black Lives Matter

Jonny Tarr, Dead Cross, Electric Mud, Howard Blank’s Outsiders, Trees
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close