Thursday, April 29, 2010
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Over two weeks ago a fellow driver at my garage picked up his final fare of the shift at the Port Authority. They asked to be driven to Crown Heights. It was a silent ride. At the destination the passenger pulled out a gun and asked the driver for cash. Mind you this was around 4:00 on a weekday afternoon. Broad daylight in the Chassidic part of town. He only lost some change and was thankful for his life, as he stood there in line at the garage, telling us fellow drivers the story. There isn't much we can do as cabdrivers to avoid such a situation. Just try to stay safe.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Beware of the Park Avenue Viaduct southbound (downtown) on weekdays. Back before August 2008 this elevated ramp alongside Grand Central Terminal and its corresponding Murray Hill tunnel bypassed the busy crosstown thoroughfares of 34th and 42nd. That is still the case, but only for northbound traffic. Downtown-bound traffic has in fact worsened to the point it makes no sense to be on the viaduct. Take Lexington or 5th around instead. What put a halt to two-way traffic in the tunnel back in 2008 was the need to protect pedestrian safety on 33rd Street.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
- VERY IMPORTANT! -> major streets closed=
Route: 65th Street from Columbus Avenue to Lexington Avenue; Lexington Avenue to 23rd Street; 23rd Street to Madison Avenue
End: Madison Square Park
The above streets will be closed Sunday from 9am to 3pm for the March of Dimes as permitted by the Mayor's Street Activity Permit Office (SAPO).
East Side of Broadway between West 96th Street and West 110th Street: The east side street will be closed Sunday from 11am to 6pm for the Veritas Inc/Duke Ellington Neighborhood Association./24th Precinct Community Council Fair as permitted by the Mayor's Street Activity Permit Office (SAPO).
If you're in The Bronx, this is noteworthy:
Friday, April 23, 2010
Please (begging you) do not hang air fresheners up in the taxicab. The stench of chemicals that pervade one's entire shift aren't worth its supposed rewards. These dangling little trees might cause cancer or infertility. We must figure out other ways to keep our taxis from smelling bad. If you insist on hanging one of these from your rear view mirror, at least take it with you at the end of your shift. For a driver that is sensitive to unnatural scents, finding one of these pervading the interior atmosphere upon commencing a shift is almost worse than hearing rattling in the suspension, or discovering hesitation in the transmission. And no, they do not have the fragrance of trees.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
OH HOW I WISH THERE WERE STILL CB RADIOS IN OUR TAXICABS.
We are the only city that is strictly street hail and no dispatch.
My main source of desire for this feature of the past is because....
IF WE WERE A TIGHTLY KNIT NETWORK OF HACKS, CONNECTED ALWAYS BY CB RADIO....
we'd be able to keep each other out of traffic jams, street closures, slow-moving airport holding lots, dangerous situations, etc..
We'd be able to summon each other toward stretches of plentiful street hails.
We'd be able to provide each other with directions and answers to passengers' questions. Those of us in the immediate vicinity would be able to come to each others' rescue in the event of an assault or robbery, or to assist in the event of a flat tire or dead battery.
Around the time everyone switches from one shift (driver) to another, we could relay, negotiate, and match up fare destinations with garage locations.
But this thought is quite a long shot, considering we can't even touch a cell anymore. However, the difference is that these transactions would be brief, concise, and very utilitarian. A far cry from the constant jibba jabba of truckers on the highway, or of the way cabbies have been known to utilize their cell. There could be different stations for different neighborhoods, languages, and purposes. The possibilities are endless.
There is in fact still a small handful of owner-operators in NYC that equip their taxicabs with a CB radio. They mostly just communicate with each other, when in proximity, especially when deciding whether to wait at an airport taxi pound or not. These old-school hacks are all 30+ year veterans of the yellow force.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
And here are a few other prominent flea markets in NYC.....
TIME OUT NY BEST FLEAS
NYC FLEA MARKET LISTING
NEW YORK FLEA MARKETS
GREEN FLEA MARKETS
Friday, April 16, 2010
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
When you need to hail a cab, please first lookout for on-duty taxis that are standing still, next to the sidewalk. These are often cabbies (such as myself) who are patiently waiting for their next fare in a manner that reduces gasoline waste and traffic congestion. As long as the off-duty lights are not lit , their temporary idle does not mean they are taking a break, nor are they less competent than the taxis that are cruising by.
Another important step to take when hailing a cab is to find the best spot for a cab to pull over. If possible, stand on a stretch of sidewalk that does not contain parked cars. Bus stops are OK, as long as you can make it quick. Fire hydrants, no standing, and no parking zones are great spots. No stopping zones are not. If you feel compelled to step into a lane of traffic in order to hail a cab, please step back unto the sidewalk as a cab pulls over, in order to allow/lure it to pull in as far from the flow of traffic as possible.
Never get into a cab that dangerously crosses multiple lanes to stop for you, unless they did so carefully (with consideration for other drivers). Never get into a cab that stops at such an angle that it takes up multiple lanes of traffic to let you in. This should serve as a red flag for poor service.
Only hail a cab from the street corner if you need it to make an immediate turn as it picks you up. Even then, you should make your intentions clear through hand gestures and allow/demand the driver to (complete that turn and) stop neatly (flush against a sidewalk) before you get in.
Follow these same procedures when requesting the driver to drop you off at your destination. Why do these things matter? Because not only are they safety precautions, but they alleviate congestion. If you don't like sitting in traffic during a cab ride, please don't help create it.
Between 330 and 5 PM every single day, there are special ways to catch a cab, and you must be in tune with them if you want to stand a chance. During this time we are switching from day to night shift. Most of us have our off-duty lights on and are headed back to our bases (garages). Most of them are located just over the 59th Street bridge in Queens, or just over the Manhattan Bridge in Brooklyn. As we make our way toward these garages, our doors are locked and your only hope of jumping in is if your destination is on our way there.
If you wish to travel uptown, you MUST plant yourself on First, Third, Madison, Sixth, Eighth, or Tenth Avenue. If you wish to go downtown, you must hail on Second, Lexington, Fifth, Seventh, or Ninth. Same thing goes for crosstown trips. If a cab slows down and rolls down the window, please audibly (loud) and concisely call out your destination. You can attempt this at a red light as well. If the cab continues on without you, do not take it personal.
We absolutely cannot be late to our garages, or else we pay a hefty fine and piss off the night driver (by ruining the lucrativeness of their shift). This is the only part of our shift that we are allowed to inquire about your destination, therefore it is not considered “refusal”, as many people mistakenly assume. They scream at us, threaten us, and throw kicks and punches at our cabs. The more people do this, the less we'll be inclined to bother slowing down and/or rolling down our windows at the end of our shift. Imagine if non of us negotiated with the public at this critical (rush hour) time. Everyone would be shit out of luck for a cab. I've even offered to take folks for free, as long as it's on my way home. So why should angry mobs accuse me of refusing them service? Spoiled brats!
Thursday, April 8, 2010
I left my cab (not the one shown) at the taxi stand on Water Street, between John and the South St. Seaport, while I did my income tax for free on Fulton St. around 13:00 this afternoon. I parked at the very back end of the stand, with my rear end right up against the sign that says "no standing". When I came out 45 minutes later there was no ticket on my windshield, but another cabdriver, who'd left his cab just inches inside the "no standing" zone, did receive a $115 ticket. He was Haitian and appeared not to understand the rules as perfectly as he needed to. He thought he was in a taxi stand. He owned no camera, so I took pictures on his behalf, so he could contest the fine. Please don't let this happen to you. Pay close attention to signs.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
- Time Warner Mall (Columbus Circle), 2nd floor south of the main escalator bank (mall hours)
- The NJ ferry Terminal at the West Side Highway and 39th. (ferry operation hours)
- The Apple Store at Grand Army Plaza, down the hall to the left of the genius bar. (24 hours)
- The Waldorf Astoria Hotel, up the stairs and past the lobby to the left of the columns. (most likely 24 hour access)
This info brought to you by the New York Taxi Workers Alliance
Union of NYC Taxi Drivers! Member of NYC Central Labor Council
250 Fifth Avenue, Suite 310 New York, New York 10001
THE FOLLOWING ARE A FEW LOCATIONS THAT HELP YOU FILE YOUR INCOME TAX FOR FREE. YOU HAVE UNTIL APRIL 15. HOW CLOSELY IS BIG BROTHER WATCHING US VIA GPS TRACKING? I GUESS ONLY TIME WILL TELL, SO BE CAREFUL WITH CLAIMING. IF YOU WANT TO FIND A PLACE CLOSER TO WHERE YOU LIVE (OUTER BOROUGHS) THEN GO TO THIS WEBSITE AND PUT IN YOUR ZIP CODE. IF YOU NEED ANYTHING ANSWERED BY PHONE TRY 1 888 227 7669. OTHERWISE HERE ARE SOME LOCATIONS IN MANHATTAN:
58th Street Library, 127 East 58th Street
Directions: 4,5 and 6 trains to Lexington Avenue-59th Street Telephone:(212) 759-7358 Dates: February 2, 2010 - April 15, 2010 Site Hours: Tuesday: 1PM - 4PM; Saturday: NOON - 3:00PM Income Limits: No income restrictions; sponsored by AARP Assistance available: This site prepares current-year tax returns and does electronic filing of returns only.
Baruch College, 151 East 25th Street (between Lexington and Third), Library Building, 1st Floor
Directions: 6 train to 28th Street
Dates: February 4, 2010 - April 15, 2010; Closed on February 12
Site Hours: Tuesday - Thursday: 12PM - 8PM; Friday: 12PM – 7PM; Saturday: 10AM – 4PM
Languages: Spanish available on Saturdays
Income Limits: To qualify, clients must earn less than $75,000 regardless of filing status.
BEWARE OF BARUCH COLLEGE. I WENT THERE TODAY AND ONLY STUDENTS WERE VOLUNTEERING WHO WERE TRAINED ONLY FOR EZ FORMS ($10,000 income or less).
Hunter College, 695 Park Avenue (corner of Lexington Avenue)
Directions: 6 train to 68th Street
Telephone: (212) 772-4219
Dates: February 8, 2010 - April 14, 2010
Site Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday: 6PM-9PM; Saturday: 11AM-2PM
Languages: Monday: Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Hindi, Russian, Serbian, Tagalog; Tuesday: Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Tagalog; Thursday: Bengali, Chinese-Cantonese, Korean, Lithuanian, Russian, Tagalog; Saturday: Chinese-Cantonese, German, Korean, Tagalog
Income Limits: To qualify, clients with children must earn less than $50,000 and clients without children must earn less than $18,000.
Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, 331 East 70th Street (by appointment)
Directions: 6 train to 68th Street
Telephone: (212) 744-5022 x1374
Dates: February 5, 2010 - April 15, 2010
Site Hours: Friday: 12:30PM - 3:30PM
Income Limits: No income restrictions; sponsored by AARP
Assistance available: This site prepares current-year tax returns and does electronic filing of returns only.
Stein Senior Center, 340 East 24th Street
Directions: 6 train to 23rd Street
Telephone: (212) 585-6292
Dates: February 4, 2010 - April 15, 2010
Site Hours: Thursday: 9:30AM – 3PM
Income Limits: No income restrictions; sponsored by AARP.
Assistance available: This site prepares current-year tax returns and does electronic filing of returns only.
THE PLACE I DID MY INCOME TAX AT WAS VERY HELPFUL AND EFFECTIVE. IT'S ANOTHER ONE OF THESE FREE AARP SITES, BUT IS NOT ON THE LIST ABOVE. IT'S AT 95 FULTON STREET IN THE FINANCIAL DISTRICT. IT'S INSIDE A SENIOR CENTER AND IS ONLY AVAILABLE ON THURSDAYS FROM 10:00 AM UNTIL 1:30 PM. NO APPOINTMENT NECESSARY.
Monday, April 5, 2010
METER TIP: If your passenger does not want a receipt, hold the paper down as it prints out. This saves you (or the next driver) from having to replace a spent roll. It also reduces the amount of litter you must dispose of when you clean out your cab at the end of your shift. It cuts down on the cutting down of trees, as you will be saving paper.
Obviously, if your fare uses a credit card (over $25) you need to print out a copy for them to sign. Even more paper is wasted by the gap the meter creates between each receipt. At least hold it down after the information has printed. I do not know of any other cabbie who does this. Everyone just lets the roll empty out through the course of the shift. It saddens me that we do not appreciate the miracle of carbon dioxide being transformed back into oxygen.
RED LIGHT CAMERA SIGHTINGS: At the 108th Street exit off the LIE in Queens, as you approach the intersection. Eight Avenue approaching 57th Street, just before Columbus Circle.
WEDNESDAY (4/7) 1:00 PM AT CITY HALL CHAMBERS. PLEASE PARK YOUR CAB AND ATTEND THE NEW TLC CHAIRMAN'S FIRST PUBLIC FORUM, IN WHICH HE WILL ADDRESS THE UNFAIR CRIMINALIZATION OF CABBIES. WE MUST SHOW THIS CITY THAT WE CARE ABOUT OUR REPUTATION!
CRIME RATE IS GOING UP IN NYC: Be very careful nowadays. I hear of subway muggings almost daily. People dozing off on the train and all of sudden someone punches them in the face and takes off with loot. The teenage boy in Prospect Park who was stabbed to death by a half dozen young men, for no apparent reason!
Barely reported in the media was last week's assault on a yellow cabdriver. He had two women passengers and one of them urinated on the floorboard. When he stopped and walked over to the back, they slit his throat with a knife. Sixteen stitches later he survived, thankfully. Don't confront your fare. Hide your cash. Be ready for anything. If Bloomberg or Daus drove a cab, you best bet they'd carry a crowbar!