When you're coming down Seventh Avenue and you need to head east on Houston, the best route I've found is to go past Houston (which on that block is a one way west) and turn left on King Street. You'll usually catch a green signal upon reaching Sixth Avenue. Turn left again and get in the far right lane. That light turns green within seconds for your right turn unto Houston. This is a great way to avoid the traffic that always builds up on Bleecker Street. You could also turn down 4th Street at Sheridan Square and then make a right on Thompson to get to Houston, but it often takes longer.
It is important to stay tuned to the radio traffic reports throughout your shift for several reasons. They always mention transit delays, which you ought to jot down and make your way towards. For example, if the 7 train is suspended between Hunters Point and 61st, and you just dropped off at the airport, you're bound to catch a fare on either end of that problem, regardless of there being a shuttle bus. Just be creative. Scoop them up.
I was sitting at a red light facing west on W41 at 11 Avenue. When it turned green I cautiously proceeded forward to make a left turn. I had just picked up two ladies at the Port Authority and was headed downtown. A textile merchant in a black Ford Explorer ignored his red light and drove right into the intersection at about 10 MPH. I'm guessing he was preoccupied with a cell phone but it all happened too fast to know for sure. I stopped and started honking when it seemed imminent that he'd ram right into my side. He noticed me at the last split second and screeched on his brakes, but it was too late. The impact occurred just above my front right tire. A traffic director walked over to see if everyone was alright, which we were. This guy spoke Hebrew, like me, but with a thick Persian accent. He asked if I could put him in contact with my garage instead of calling the cops. They gave him a $400 damage estimate over the phone. But when I got back to the garage they raised it to $800. Now this negotiation is between them. I had no fault. Although I did lose the remainder of my shift, which is the part that is mine to keep. I worked almost 10 hours that day and went home with under 30 dollars. Unbelievable. No one reimburses the cabbie. Ever. If only I could have avoided that collision somehow. A knee jerk reverse action would have landed me into the car behind me. A forward thrust would have made the impact occur near or on my passenger. I was hopeless.