Thursday, November 12, 2009
Madison Square Garden
BY ALL MEANS NECESSARY: stop ONLY if you're right up against a curb when picking up or dropping off in the vicinity of MSG. That goes for both sides of 7 Av. between 34th and 31st. The cops there resemble Venus Flytraps. They blend in with the pedestrians on the sidewalk and then step right out unto the street with their hairy tentacles. Be especially careful not to copy what so many cabbies do and double park alongside the permanent cones of the taxi stand in front of the underground entrance to Penn Station.
HERE ARE WAYS TO DROP OFF PASSENGERS WITHOUT RISKING A TICKET:
From 7 Av: Drive all the way past the taxi stand on the right and then pull neatly into an available part of the curb before reaching 31st. There is always room there. And folks will often jump in your cab as soon as your door opens to let one out. To my knowledge this turn over is 100% legal.
From 6 Av: Turn left at the 33rd Street bay. Go straight past 7 Av and stop on the left hand side, just past the corner, but be ready to move if an extra-large bus is turning off 7 Av. This spot is best for riders of LIRR. And if your fare is trying to catch an Amtrak, just continue straight down until just before 8 Av and pull over on the left. Let them know the entrance on that corner is ideal for them. Again, you'll often get new fares on the spot. Just don't linger for one, because you're technically too close to an established taxi stand and if the authorities don't see that you just discarded a fare, they might write you up for some sort of illegal solicitation.
From 8 Av: Do not copy other taxis by adding to the massive dog pile at the northeast corner of 31st. Simply pull to the curb before crossing that intersection. Especially if you ease into an empty space just as the light turns red. That southeast corner is always free.
From 31st St: Easy! Just find enough space to pull over without double parking. I believe the entrance right in the middle of the block is ideal for users of NJ Transit. For Amtrak just pull forward until right before 8 Av. Just don't get in the way of the buses. For LIRR it's best closer to 7 Av. But the covered walkway midblock is quite a central entrance that serves all commuters well. The nice part about dropping off crosstown, whether it's 31st or 33rd, is that you can zoom forward and head downtown again without getting stuck while vacant.
From 34th: It's OK to pick up/ drop off from the bus lanes. Just make it snappy. And remember not to make illegal turns unto 7 Av or from 7 Av unto 34th. The main LIRR entrance is on that southwest corner. If you must head downtown from that section of 34th, you have to either go to 9 Av or 5 Av. If you must head uptown, you have to either turn at 8 Av or turn right at Park, another immediate right unto 33rd, and one last right unto Madison. Be very careful attempting U turns. I only do them if I can guarantee not to get in anyone's way and there must be no blue meanies on wheels visible from any mirror or window in the cab.
Sidenotes: It's common to get hailed from the bus stop area on the right side of 7 Av between 34 and 33rd. You must be very careful when stopping here. Be sure to clear the crosswalks, while remaining as far from the actual bus stop sign as possible. Absolutely no double parking here. If you do anything that clogs up any segment of traffic, the Venus Flytraps will no doubt capture you in the blink of an eye.
Also, be careful in front of the hotels on the left side of 7 Av. You can coast by nonchalantly with fingers crossed to hear the doorman's whistle blow, but otherwise do not stop unless you can pull all the way to the curb and you have a good reason for it (an immediate drop off/pick up).
Cops have been known to give multiple tickets on one stop in these areas. Don't ruin your day. If you can't play by the strict and ambiguous rules, just avoid Penn all together. It's not a necessary ingredient for a lucrative shift.
WONDERING WHERE THAT PATROL CAR IN THE PICTURE ABOVE IS HIDING?
Where else than the good old southeast corner of Central Park West and the 65th St. Traverse. He's got nothing but a red reading light on inside, giving him a somewhat demonic look. He's waiting for you to come straight out of Central Park using the turning lanes, but failing to turn.
LAST LITTLE TIP OF THE DAY BUT NOT LEAST:
Recently, I was dropping of a passenger on Lexington and 42nd. As always, I asked him if he preferred the right or left side of the Avenue. His response was that the last taxi he took to that same destination received a ticket on behalf of the ubiquitous meter maids who happened to be enforcing the signs all along the right side of Lexington in the low 40s and high 30s that say....
TAXI OPERATIONS ALLOWED ONLY ON THE LEFT FROM 7 to 1 WEEKDAYS. THIS IS NO JOKE. DO NOT PICK UP OR DROP OFF ALONGSIDE GRAND CENTRAL TERMINAL. DO NOT COPY ALL THE OTHER CABS AND FORM A LINE AS IF IT WERE A TAXI STAND. IT'S NOT!