Thursday, December 20, 2012

Hunker Down. It's a Long One!


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I realize I did not write last week.  And I meant to but then I got super lazy and never got around to it.  So now I am going to write a double post.  So buckle down.
 
Last week I worked Sunday and Monday.  Sunday was okay, but nothing super amazing happened.  Monday was a good night.  I was amazed that when I got to the garage at around 2pm, the dispatch guy gave me a cab right away.  That has never happened.  I was outta there by 2:15 and headed right to JFK. 
A drizzly day waiting at JFK
At JFK, I picked up a very sweet English couple who had spent the last few months traveling all around the world.  They were headed to a hotel in Park Slope.  We had a nice ride talking about their travels and things for them to do in their few days in New York.  They were basically the people I want to be when I get to their age.  And by the time I normally start working I already had a nice chunk o’ change in my pocket and was in a great location to quickly get to the city when everyone else was going off duty. 
Tom's Restaurant, AKA the Seinfeld Diner
Things were busy all night.  I didn’t even make my usual stalking rounds of the West Village, which I do when I am desperate later at night and haven’t had a passenger for a while.  It seemed like whenever I let a passenger out, someone else would be waiting for a car.  And in the world of taxi driving, that’s never a bad thing.
Holiday lighted Dinosaurs in front of the Museum of Natural Histoy
At one point in the evening, I picked up a couple on St Marks and they wanted to go to Roosevelt Island.  This was exciting to me because I had never driven there before.  They were apologetic about making me go there, but I told them no sweat!  It would be an adventure and as long as they could navigate me, we would have no problem.  They were really sweet too and we had a nice conversation the whole way.  When we got to Roosevelt Island, they told me I was the nicest cabbie they had ever had.  And that is always nice to hear.

After that I picked up a group also on St Marks to go to Brooklyn.  They were all clearly having a good night and were a fun ride.  We had a fun trip and after the first stop on their journey, my front seat buddy stayed up front with me.  They also told me I was the most fun cab ride home they had ever had.
Holiday window displays
Overall I had a blast last Monday.  It was a good, busy night and everyone I had in my cab was really awesome and friendly.  That is really all I can ask for in a good night.  The taxi gods smiled on me.  OH!  And I also think I may have seen Adam Richman(from Man Vs. Food) on 1st ave.  I am not 100% sure it was him since he has one of those faces that looks like other people too.  But in my mind, I am saying it was him.

I wanted to work on Tuesday and got to my garage at my usual time and waited and waited, but eventually 6pm rolled around and I didn’t have a cab, so I took my license back from the dispatcher and went home. I hate when that happens, and it doesn’t happen often, but it is disappointing.
My garage's dispatch windows.  A driver is settling up at the end of his shift.  I was not so lucky that day.
In between working last week and this week I got something cool, which is also relevant to this blog.  For those who don’t know already, I started hooping(like hula hoops) over the summer and am currently taking a class.  I commissioned a new hoop from my teacher and it is a taxi hoop!  So cool!  It is a smaller hoop than my first one and I am still not quite ready to do most hoping with it, but I can’t wait till I become a little more proficient so I can hoop with it all the time!

My new taxi hoop!  I am so in love with it!
This week, I worked Monday and Tuesday nights. I had been in a funk for a few days.  It was a combination of not feeling well physically, and also just general feeling down and gloomy.  But I got my cab on Monday, and it didn’t take long until I felt better.  I really think it speaks to how much I enjoy what I do for a living when I can be feeling down in the dumps and then go to work and feel better and lift my mood. 

Monday was okay.  The weather was not so great so that made driving conditions not so great.  I did have a moment with one of my passengers.  We were driving up Park Ave and came to a red light in front of  St. Bart’s Church.  There were hundreds of carolers on the steps singing Christmas songs.  My passenger rolled down his window to listen, and I turned off the radio and rolled down my windows as well.  It was a nice break from the hustle of rush hour in the city. 

I should point out that in the past few years when I was working retail, I was a bit of a Scrooge when in came to the holidays.  This time of year is hell when you work retail.  Being forced to work longer hours, on the holidays themselves, and in much busier conditions.  And customers are hell when you work retail during the holidays.  Nothing you can do or say is going to make them less awful.  It is just a dreadful time of year for the retail employee and I stopped enjoying it.  Driving the cab has given me a little of the holiday spirit back.  Because I have the freedom to work when I want to, I know I won’t be suckered into working on Christmas Eve or New Years day.  And that makes a big difference.  Also, driving around the city, I get to see all the pretty lights and decorations and actually enjoy looking at them instead of seeing them as a reminder of the hate I have for my job.  And most of all, my customers are not horrible!  Instead of hearing complaints as to why the thing they want to buy is out of stock or whatever it is, I get to hear about people’s lovely holiday parties and get told to have a happy holiday and some even are more generous with tips, too.  So, this year, I am less keen to say “bah humbug” and enjoying the season a little more.
It is no Rockefeller tree, but the Gramercy Park tree is pretty.
Back to where we were… Ah, yes!  Monday!  So, the weather on Monday was crappy, but when I left the garage I had checked my wipers and they seemed okay.  Once it got darker though and started raining more, I learned how crappy they were.  The wiper blades themselves were awful.  Streaky as Hell.  I tried cleaning them, but it didn’t help.  Also, as I learned later in the evening when I really needed them, the wiper mechanism was bad.  It wouldn’t make them go on the fast speed.  When I tried to put the wipers on high, they would seize up, so I could only put them on a slower speed, which doesn’t help when it is pouring.  Eventually, I couldn’t see a thing and had to give up.  I was back at my garage by 1am.  Much earlier than usual.  And it was a shame, too!  I was actually doing really well that night and could have made a whole lot more money if I had stayed out the rest of the shift. 
After the rain, there is a rainbow(taken at my garage after a thunderstorm
 Tuesday was another good night.  I realized that all the days I didn’t get a cab were Tuesdays, so I made it a point to get to the garage earlier.  It paid off because I actually got a cab.  It was of course, the jalopy of the garage otherwise known as the standby vehicle.  The seat was uncomfortable and wouldn’t adjust to where I wanted it to go.  The gas gauge worked only some of the time.  There was only one working lighter outlet(I like to have two.  One for my GPS and one for my phone).  That one isn’t a total disaster, but not ideal.  The worst part was the radio was busted.  So I had to sit in silence all night.  That was no fun.  Aside from talking to passengers, the only other sound in the cab was the damn screen in the back, which for some reason played a Dior commercial a million times, each trip.  Seriously.  I hate this commercial now.  I hate all things Dior now! Seriously.
After a brief thunderstorm as I left the garage on Tuesday, the sky was stunning and so was this view down Eastern Parkway.
 Thankful to get any car at all though, I headed right into the city.  And it was hopping all night.    There was also traffic everywhere, even late into the night.  I usually try to stick to uptown earlier in the evening because it is busy for a cab, but also keeps me away from the nightmare that is Midtown around rush hour.  Last night I couldn’t maintain my status uptown.  I kept getting pulled back into the middle of Manhattan.  And it was a mess everywhere.  I brought a couple to as close as I could get to Radio City for the Christmas Spectacular, but it is such a nightmare around there because of the tree in Rockefeller Center.  Fifth ave was a parking lot.  You can’t drive on 49th or 50th streets because of the tree.  You can’t make any turns off of 5th anywhere near the tree.  It is just horrible.  And anytime I would get away from there, it seemed like I would get thrown back into the thick of things.  The upside of all this was at least there were plenty of customers to go around.  And even with the traffic, most(although not all, but that is a different post) people were understanding and in general, were in good moods even with the cluster-fluffle that was Midtown.
The Brooklyn Museum and an amazing sky
 At one point when I had gotten away from Midtown, I get hailed by a younger woman on 2nd ave.  She immediately hops into my front passenger seat, which is unusual, but she was super nice and we had a fun ride into Greenpoint, Brooklyn.  Even when I didn’t know exactly how to get to her destination, she was patient while I looked it up and appreciative that I wasn’t trying to take her for a ride like another cabbie whose taxi she had gotten out of before hailing me.  We had a great conversation the whole way, including our discussion of the Roscoe Diner which she had eaten at many many times and for me is a summer staple since I spend my summers in Roscoe. 
View down Flatbush Ave from my taxi.  I love that building(Williamsburg Savings Bank)
 After dropping her off, I made my way back through Greenpoint and Williamsburg to get back to the bridge and back to Manhattan.  When I was just a few blocks from the bridge, a girl hails me.  I had my “off duty” lights on, so she said she wasn’t going far.  I drove her down Broadway to her destination and as she is getting out, an older gentleman comes over to the cab and asks if I was available.  I told him to hop in and then we rode all the way to the depths of East New York.  For those who are unfamiliar, this is part of the far reaches of Brooklyn.  Not only is it deep into Brooklyn, but also it is a not so great part of it either.  So I knew I wouldn’t be getting a fare back into the city. After dropping him off there(and no tip!), I locked my doors and booted it back to Manhattan.

From there, things slowed down a little, but not too bad.  And the fares I did manage to get were mostly longer, so not bad at all.  My last fare of the night I picked up while cruising Alphabet City.  Usually around there you get fares to Brooklyn or Queens that late at night.  But this one was to 112th street.  Not ideal, but it was all right. And I made a new personal record.  We drove up 1st Ave the whole way uptown.  From Houston to 109th, we did not hit a single red light.  109 blocks without stopping is a pretty cool thing to do.  I told my passenger about this being a record setting ride and he was excited to have been a part of it.  It was a nice way to end my night.  After that I headed downtown without picking up any fares so I headed home to the garage, this time at the more normal time of about 3:30am. 
One last photo looking down Flatbush Ave, this time with the new Barclay's Center.  It's prettier at night.
 Phew!  That was quite a post.  Hope I didn’t lose anyone.  So much to take in at one go.  This is why I need to not be lazy about posting.  I promise.  It won’t happen again(until it does). That is, unless the world ends in another day, in which case, it has been a blast!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

It's My Party and i'll Drive If I Want To

I worked on Monday night, which happened to be the eve of my birthday(and after midnight, WAS my birthday).  I was having a rough start to the day, but was hopeful that things would turn around.  I started out at JFK.  They had no wait and I was dispatched to Terminal 5(Jet Blue) right away.  I get there and there is a line of cabs that isn't moving.  No passengers.  After waiting for a little while, they realized they dispatched cabs to a terminal where they weren't needed and they sent us off to different terminals.  So I finally was able to pick up a passenger and was on my way to Manhattan.  Of course, there was traffic on the Van Wyck.

Once making it to Manhattan, things were pretty steady for a while.  To the point where I had to actually go 'off duty' because I had to use the restroom and every time I would try and head to someplace I knew I could stop, I would get hailed.  After a much needed pit stop, I was able to continue.

Monday night was interesting in that I had several trips to up-uptown.  Over the course of my few months of driving, I have gone above 110th st only a few times.  On Monday, it was 4.  And one of them was waaaaaaayyyyy up there, near 180th st.  I just found that interesting.

A little later, I had picked up a group of Chilean tourists on Spring st.  They were very nice and wanted to chat the whole way.  It came up in the conversation that it was almost my birthday, and they serenaded me with a boisterous rendition of "CumpleaƱos Feliz".  And they gave me a nice birthday tip. 

In addition to going uptown several times, I also had several trips into Brooklyn.  One was pretty deep into Brooklyn, so that equaled a nice fare, and a nice tip.  The woman got in my cab after another cab wouldn't take her because he didn't know how to get there(passengers, if your cabbie tells you this, he is probably lying.  We are required to carry maps, and almost all of us have a GPS on our phones at the very least if not an actual GPS).  Where she was going was an easy ting to find too since it was on Atlantic ave, even if it was farther down.  She was also very excited to have a female driver too, and she called someone almost right away to tell them how neat it was.

It was a pretty easy going night, and after making a respectable amount, i got a fare into Bushwick.  I could have gone back into Manhattan after that and maybe gotten another fare or two, but it was late enough and I was happy with my take for the evening, so I decided to call it a slightly early night.
I was behind these police horses.  The horse on the left seemed mad about something.  He kept kicking the back of the trailer, enough to leave some dents where ke made contact.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

My taxi wants your soul!

Last night was nothing special.  I was expecting a bigger night but even though things got off to an okay start, after midnight it got dead.

Today was certainly much more interesting(and busier too).  I started out at JFK and got dispatched right away.  I picked up a very nice lady headed to the upper west side.  Things seemed to be normal, and then I tried starting the meter.  For JFK trips, you hit the #3 button twice and then the #1 button to start and it is supposed to show the flat rate on the meter.  But there was something wrong and it didn't work.  I tried again and again.  I had to reboot the whole system(while trying to navigate JFK) but before it rebooted, it printed out a receipt...  It was a receipt for a fare of $666.  So I am now convinced that the taxi was possessed by the devil.  Even after a reboot it gave me some trouble.  But I finally got it to work, and thankfully it cooperated the rest of the night.
The Devil's Receipt
Also, I hate the Van Wyck.  This highway is horrible.  It never fails.  Every time I pick up a fare at JFK I get stuck on the Van Wyck in horrendous traffic.  And it always reminds me of that Seinfeld episode where Elaine tries to get some guy to the airport.  I always make that reference to my passengers and they usually look at me like I have three heads.  But one day, I WILL beat the Van Wyck!

Once I got toe the city, I hopped around the Upper East and West sides for a bit before getting a fare to 49th and 7th.  On this trip, I drove past Rockefeller Center and got a sneak peek at the tree before it's lighting on Wednesday.  I haven't actually gone to see the tree since I was much younger, so it was kinda neat.
Behind the trees and scaffolding, you can see the giant, unlit tree.
I picked up a group of older women on Madison and they needed to make three stops.  They spent the ride chatting, but after the second stop there was only one woman left.  We got to talking.  Turns out her husband is also a cab driver.  She was very nice and told me how lovely it was to have someone as cheerful as I was behind the wheel.  Also, how rare it was that a cab driver would actually get out and help load items into the trunk(which I did).  So, that was nice to hear.

I ended up in Brooklyn a few times.  The first time I drove a guy pretty much right across the Manhattan bridge.  From there, I picked up a group of people coming out of the Nets/Knicks game and drove them to Williamsburg.  I also drove a group of younger girls to Flatbush.  One of them was a rapper from LA and she played it cool until we passed the Barclays Center and she got all touristy for a minute.  They did not tip, which was pretty shitty since it was an outer borough fare and not exactly right over the bridge.  The next fare I had when I got back to the city took me back to Brooklyn again, and she DID tip.  Probably enough for both fares.

It was getting late, so the passengers started coming farther and farther apart.  I was on 14th when I saw two guys hail me.  They needed to go to Penn Station, so I headed uptown.  After a moment, I noticed one of their heads "disappear".  I knew what they were up to.  I took the turn onto 34th a little fast and they came flying up.  They also did not tip me(oh wait, they let me keep the 50cents), but that was worth it.  Hilarious.

My last fare of the night is probably one I will remember for a long time.  I was taking one of my last loops through the Village, hoping for that one big fare to end my night.  I was on 8th st and University when a guy hails me.  Before he got into the cab, i knew he would be interesting.  He was wearing a Santa hat, and looked some sort of inebriated.  He hops in and says "i wanna go somewhere fun".  I paused for a second before asking him if he had anywhere in particular in mind.  He did not and told me to just take him somewhere.  Being not far, I figured I would take him to  Macdougal and Bleeker where he would have lots of choices for fun.  As we were driving, he hands me a $20 bill.  He also asked me when I went off duty and if I wanted to go off duty and go hang out with him.  I politely declined.  We get to the area where I was going to drop him off.  I got out the change for the $20, but he got out and told me to keep it.  When he got out, he looked just as lost as he did when he got in.  I don't know if this guy was drunk or high or just mentally deficient, but he was definitely a little off kilter.  He also smelled.  Really bad.  But at least he made up for the tips I got stiffed on earlier.  After that, I was so befuddled, I had to call it a night.

I am debating if I want to work tomorrow night or not.  I am very tired and I also have some errands to run.  I guess I will decide in the morning.  But now, I need sleep.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Calm before the storm

Last week I worked on Sunday and Monday nights.  Both were slow and uneventful.  I tried working on the Tuesday and couldn't get a cab.  I got to the garage around my usual time and waited and waited and there were no cars.  Finally at about 6pm I gave up and went home.
5th Ave holiday lights
So yeah.  Nothing much to report about then and I was away for the weekend so I never got the chance to update anything.  I promise.  You are not missing anything.
Macdougal Street empty late at night
Last week was the calm before the storm, or so I am told.  Starting at Thanksgiving is when alllll  the tourists come into town to see NYC at holiday time and they take lots and lots of taxis.  So, we will see.  Tonight is supposed to be good because everyone is coming home from their Thanksgiving weekends, so that will be good.  I have no firsthand experience of taxi driving this time of year, but I guess I will find out! 
Quiet view of the city coming back over the Williamsburg Bridge

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

High Fashion

Oh my god, guys!  I had no idea i was supposed to wear this uniform!!!!  I feel so silly!  I can't believe that all this time i have been wearing things like jeans and tee shirts and hoodies when I should have been rocking this getup.  Why didn't anyone tell me?  I am so embarrassed.

Woop Woop(That's the sound of the police)

Drove the past two nights and because of the hours I have not had a moment to write.  But I woke up with a pounding headache this morning and didn't go into the garage, so now I have a little time.  It wouldn't be so bad, but you need to get to the garage 2-3 hours before your(12 hour) shift if you want to secure a car for the night.  So between that, and commuting, I basically get home and pass right out only to wake up a few hours later and turn around to do it again.

Sunday night started out good.  I had two trips to Laguardia airport almost back to back.  Things seemed like they were going to keep moving, but pretty early on, it got quiet.  The one thing that kept me going for a while was the couple of outer-borough trips.  By midnight, I had been to every borough except Staten Island, but that never happens anyways. 

Brief rant:  I was driving through Times Square and almost ran over a toddler.  Tourists, if you insist on taking your small children to NYC, keep an eye on them at ALL times!  I know Times Square is exciting and distracting.  I get it.  But when little junior isn't being watched, he is running into the street.  Put a leash on him!  I do not need to scrape him off my grill because you couldn't be bothered to pay attention.  You were lucky this time, but next time you may not be.  Seriously.
Times Square-Where you should PAY ATTENTION to your surroundings!
Usually when it gets late, I start looping around the Village looking for a fare because those fares are usually longer.  As I was driving, I made a turn from East 4th street onto Ave B.  This is a turn I must have made a million times.  I noticed a cop car sitting on the corner so I made sure I came to a full stop, used my turn signal and did everything carefully.  But as soon as I turned the corner I see the lights flash behind me.  I pull over and the officers get out and come to my window to ask for my license and registration.  After calling me "sir" before seeing me, the officer seemed caught off guard.  As I was was about to hand him my license, he tells me there are no turns from that corner(a sign which i have NEVER noticed) but he was going to let me go because I am a girl.  I am still not sure if I should be flattered or offended, but either way, I thanked him politely and drove off.  After a slower night, I did NOT need a ticket.

After that incident, I was lucky enough to catch a fare waaaaay uptown.  And then after that as I was headed back downtown I caught one last fare even farther uptown.  And i had a blast on the last ride.  My passenger(Drew, if I remember correctly) was really nice and we had a great conversations the whole way up.  And here is the proof for your friends, Drew!  Girl taxi drivers DO exist!

Last night was a bit better.  I got a cab early and headed right to JFK.  I called the taxi hotline for the airport and they said they had no cabs and needed drivers.  So I got there and didn't have to wait at all.  Drove right up to get dispatched to a terminal.  Ended up with a shortie fare to Brooklyn so I headed right back to the airport where i got another fare, this time to Manhattan.  The two guys I picked up were from Paris and were very sweet.  There was a lot of traffic out of Queens, but they were patient and very pleasant.  When I did get them to their hotel, they gave me a tip in Euros(on top of what they gave me from their credit card)  I thought that was sweet, and now I can save the Euros for whenever I make it across the pond again.

The night was mostly busy.  It seemed like as soon as someone would get out, there would be another person waiting to get in.  It was also interesting.  I had several fun rides.  I picked up two ladies from Montreal who at first wanted to go to Nobu(hip sushi restaurant that lots of celebs frequent).  But after driving halfway there they rethought that and asked about the Meatpacking District and if that was hip and if there were cool places to eat there.  So they made the call that they wanted to go down there instead.  They also wanted to know if I knew where Madonna was hanging out that night or if i could take them to other places where movie stars hang out.  I told them I didn't have a clue where the cool kids hang, but they probably would have some luck around the Meatpacking District area.  They were satisfied with that and very giddy when they got out at 14th and 9th.

I picked up a group of young Brits who thought it was "amazeballs" that I stopped for them.  We got to talking and turns out they are over here working for the same soccer program another friend of mine from across the pond had done a little while back.  Also, one of them said they were going to be teaching soccer at a summer camp near the one I spend my summers at.  I thought that was really neat and told him to come up and party with us during the summer.  They were really nice.

Peaceful Park Avenue at about 3am.  The only other traffic on the street at that time is delivery trucks to the high end hotels.
As they were getting out, a very fabulous drag queen asked if I was available to take her to Brooklyn.  I told her to hop in and off we went.  She had actually just been to see Madonna, so now I knew where Madonna had been hanging out.  Too bad I didn't know earlier, I could have told the ladies from Montreal! 

As usual, as it got a little later, things slowed down a bit.  But since the night up until then had been hopping, I didn't mind so much.  I picked up a guy over near Manitobas on Ave B.  He was drunk, but polite.  I asked him where we were going and instead of giving me a destination he decided he would just navigate the whole way.  At one point we missed a turn and he told me we should have turned as if I would have known where we were going.  But again, he was drunk and just went with it.  We got to his destination finally.  As we were settling up he told me I was cute and gave me a $10 tip(on a $8 fare).  I know he was drunk, but what girl doesn't like to feel cute!  I told him thank you and he stumbled out of the cab.  With my ego boosted, I headed out to make a final round of the Village to catch that one last fare which I got with a ride all the way uptown.  That was a nice ride too.  I decided to call it a night after that and end on a high note.  Especially since it was now a fair bit later than I wanted to stay out.

Overall, there were ups and downs, but as any cab driver will tell you "no accident, no tickets, not bad".

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Post Sandy Post

As most people know, last week NYC was hit by Hurricane Sandy.  It left a lot of the city and surrounding areas devastated and disabled.  I drove last night for the first time since the storm.  I have a pretty strict "I don't drive in storms" rule, so clearly, the night of the storm was out.  After that It took me a week to get back to driving between temporarily moving to my parents' house until my own place has utility service again, searching for a new car(ours got flooded and destroyed), and generally feeling displaced and depressed about the state of the city.  I'll be honest.  I was a little afraid to go into Manhattan with the power outages and eeriness of the whole situation.  And the gas situation put me off a little too.  I do realize, however, I missed out on amazing money with the subways not running and ride sharing allowed.  I could have made bank, but couldn't face everything.
Tile mosaic on the floor of the dispatch room at my garage.  Not related to anything, but i thought it was cool to share.
I finally made it back to the garage yesterday.  I got a car and headed right to JFK since their lot was pretty empty.  I didn't have to wait there lone before getting dispatched to Terminal 1.  I picked up a guy to go to Sutton Pl. which should have been easy, but holy crap.  There was a lot of traffic on the Van Wyck(like there always is), so I was just going to go a short way to Queens Blvd. to get to the 59th st Bridge.  This guy was so impatient, though he couldn't sit in traffic for more than a few minutes before trying to come up with alternate ideas.  This started as "OK, well just get me to a train station and I will go from there" to "oh, well, maybe you could get to Borough Hall(Brooklyn)" and I can take the train from there to finally "oh, why don't we go over the Brooklyn Bridge instead".  It's a flat rate, so all this extra navigation did nothing for me other than drive me up the wall, but at the end of the day, I was going to Manhattan afterwards anyway so after a certain point, I just gave up and went with the flow.  All told, we probably made it to his destination in the same amount of time that it would have taken if we had stuck with our original route, but we just took a crazy path to get there instead.  It was an adventure, and at least he was very nice about everything.  But, damn.

Once I made it into Manhattan, I managed to stay pretty busy.  Not really any long periods of searching for passengers.  And just when i would feel like it was going to be a long stretch, I would be at a red light and someone would hop in the cab.  So, that was good.  The main horror of the night was the traffic in the Midtown West area.  Because of the storm and flooding, all the tunnels except the Lincoln tunnel are closed.  And because there was some traffic horror in Jersey near the George Washington Bridge, the main way out of the city and into New Jersey was the Lincoln Tunnel.  This created massive delays in all directions around the entrance t the tunnel.  And of course I kept getting stuck in it because people kept wanting to go into that general area.

One of those situations was a young couple who needed to get pretty much right into the middle of the traffic jam.  And I did feel bad about sitting in traffic, but there really wasn't a way out of it.  I did finally see an opening and was able to zoom out of the jam.  I did have to go a few blocks out of the way, but it was either that or sit there for another half hour.  They seemed understanding though and didn't want to sit in the traffic any more than I did.  After all that it was a $24 fare.  Not only did they not tip me after all that(and after getting them OUT of that), they also didn't close their door all the way when they got out.  And so when I got out to close it, my favorite sweatshirt fell out and is somewhere lying on the curb near Port Authority.  I am gutted about the sweatshirt, and angry that it was because of these particular passengers.  Y'all owe me a new hoodie!

With the bad, there comes some good.  I was somewhere in the 50's when a guy hails me.  He asks me to take him to a particular hotel.  I didn't know where it was so before I turned on the meter, I looked it up on my phone.  It was literally around the corner from where we were and i told the guy that but he seemed a little lost and asked me to drive him anyways.  I had to loop around the block to get there, but two minutes later we were there and the $4 fare turned into $15 in my pocket and a very grateful passenger.  Really unexpected, but totally awesome.

The rest of the night was steady and I had a bunch of nice passengers.  Had one young guy from Florida who was debating the possibility of making the move to New York,  but not before his trip to Thailand which I was totally jealous of.  After passing through Times Square and hearing a big cheer from people watching the election coverage, I picked up a woman coming from a celebration.  She was very excited about the results.

I had two trips out to Queens.  One of these ended up being the last fare of my evening.  The guy had a lot to say about the election and the state of the country and what we needed to spend money on instead of bombs and a lot of other things as well.  I could tell that he had a few to drink and his train of thought didn't always make the connection, but it was certainly interesting.  And really, if it weren't for the interesting passengers like this guy, I wouldn't enjoy driving nearly as much as I do.  So to that gentleman, thank you for making my night interesting!

Of course, now that I managed to motivate myself into getting back behind the wheel again, another storm comes through the city.  So no driving for me tonight, but I'll try and get a cab tomorrow after this nor'easter passes through.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Trends

I drove both Monday and last night.  I've started noticing certain things happening over and over.  Monday, I kept having two people hail me and then me make different stops.  Then I kept making the same stops, pretty much.  It was weird.  I had never been down to Battery Park City in the cab before and then within the span of two nights, i had made several trips down there.  And thankfully every person who I had taken down there has been very kind in helping to direct me since I have limited knowledge of the area. 

I had a nice conversation on Monday with two ladies who I dropped off down there.  They seemed like they were having a lovely night on the town and we talked about how nice the weather was that evening, jazz music and life as a taxi driver.  It is rides like that that really make my night go by much quicker and more pleasantly!  And made up for the rude, entitled jerk I encountered earlier in the day.
The diner from "Seinfeld", passed by on Monday afternoon
I managed to get a cab really early on Monday, so I was uptown much earlier than I usually am.  I was driving up York when I see a woman hailing me from about a block away.  I first put on my right indicator, and then when I am a little closer, I put on my hazards.  I pull over a bit, but cannot go all the way to the curb since the woman who is hailing me is still in the street and if I were to try, I would hit her, and that is just bad for business.  Now, at this point, there are no other cars going in the same direction except one, right behind me.  Now despite my overly fair warning, and trying to move over, and the fact that the guy had two unobstructed lanes in which to proceed, he honks his horn, which he had modified to sound like a siren(note: NOT A COP).  He then pulls up beside me and rolls down his window and in the most condescending voice while rubbing the bridge of his nose gives me a "WHY cant you PEOPLE pull alllll the way over?  can you PLEASE explain this to me?"  I laughed in his face.  Seriously.  You had fair warning, no obstructed paths and I didn't want to run my customer over.  Do you THINK I maybe had a reason?  And seriously, WHY are you taking it personally.  Just drive around and stop thinking that the rest of NYC needs to do everything to accommodate you!  Seriously!  I have been lucky.  I haven't encountered many outrageous assholes.  But some people....

Monday night i was nearing the end of my shift and was hoping for that one last big fare.  And I was in Chinatown when a guy hails me and asks me to go to the Bronx.  I told him to hop in!  This was the fare I was waiting for.  He was really nice and we had a nice conversation all the way to the Bronx.  he even helped give me directions back to the city from where we were.  So we get to his destination and he is paying by credit card.  All of a sudden, my meter and terminal start acting up.  But eventually, he swipes the card and a receipt prints out.  It wasn't a signature receipt which i thought was odd for it being the amount it was, but i thought maybe that was the type of card or something.  I give him the receipt and he gets out.  And that's when i notice the meter has reset, like everything is paid, but my terminal is still saying waiting for the card.  So it was frozen.  I tried resetting it, and nothing happened.  Still said the same.  I tried pressing various buttons.  Eventually it went away, so I figured it went through.  I get back to my garage, and when you end your shift, the meter is supposed to print out a end of shift receipt.  It didn't.  I knew something was up with my system.  When I go to settle up at the garage, I see on my credit card details, the Bronx fare was missing.  I found out yesterday that I must have hit "no charge" when I was trying to  reset the system, so the credit card didn't go through and at this point, there isn't anything I can do.  Great.  So I gave a guy a free ride to the Bronx. 

Cars waiting to be dispatched at my garage
Last night, I started out at JFK.  They were so empty, they sent out a bulletin to the drivers that they needed cars.  I was there for all of 5 minutes before getting dispatched to the terminal.  Picked up a gentleman and his parents from Paris.  They were very nice, although didn't speak much to me.  But when I delivered them to their destination, the father gave me a big handshake as I helped them with their bags.  They did also seep to appreciate the view from the bridge on the way into the city.  It really was breathtaking.
On the short line at JFK
Things were slow for a while.  Then I got a ride to Brooklyn.  Once in Brooklyn, i ended up getting two more fares before heading back into Manhattan only to be hailed right away by a hipster couple to Williamsburg.  And after driving them over the bridge to their destination(which they changed several times, mind you) they didn't give a tip.  Thanks guys!  And you wonder why some drivers don't want to drive you to Brooklyn!  Douchebags.

Got back to the city and again, I get hailed and go back to Brooklyn!  At this point it was getting a little ridiculous.  I also was starting to feel a little under the weather(as I write this I am in bed with the sickies).  I decided I would drive until I got taken to Brooklyn again.  I got back into the city and was in the West Village when a girl hails me and asks to go to Astoria.  It's not Brooklyn, but close enough.  At that point I decided to call it a night, even if it was a little early.  I dropped her off in Astoria and turned on my "off duty" light and headed back to the garage. 

View of the Empire State Building from the Manhattan Bridge
I originally planned on working today before my body rebelled.  I think its a combination of this time of year along with my body acclimating to this new schedule, but it is not happy.  Hopefully its over with quickly so I can hit the road again soon!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Pip Pip Cherio

Drove a day shift today.  I realize now, I am a night driver.  Today was rough.  Aside from my bad morning and commute to the garage, the day was slower than I would have liked, and traffic was a pain in the ass all day.  Nobody was unpleasant, but i just wasn;t feeling it today.  One of the small redeeming qualities of my day was this:


It never ceases to amaze me how beautiful the city is, day or night.  Going over any of the bridges into the city always takes my breath away.  I'll count that as a small victory for today.

I did notice a disproportionate ammount of ex-pats that I drove today.  Seriously.  I had about 15 fares.  At least five of those were Brits who weren't tourists.  It was odd.  Really odd.

Really, not anything exciting to write about today.  Day shifts are boring compared to the nights.  So, in the meantime, enjoy this photo of my new manicure.  I know there isn't any yellow, but it's got checkers like the old taxis used to have.  So, close enough, right?

Checker Nails on the Girly Cabbie, the girliest of cabbies.
Oh!  and also as I mentioned yesterday, I rode in a tiny Prius cab with my sister.  It was tiny.  But I took a Taxi Snapshot too.  So there is that.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Candy Cabbie

Found this article a few days ago and thought I would share.  It would be fun to wind up in this guy's cab...

LINK:  NYC Candy Cabbie

And on a side note, today I was in Manhattan with my sister and we hailed a taxi and got one of the newer, smaller cabs.  Holy crap!  They are so small and uncomfortable!  And they want to phase out the Crown Vics!  Ridiculous.  Crown Vics you can fit three people in the back COMFORTABLY... It was just me and my sister in the back of the little cab and it felt cramped...  ugh!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Run of the Mill

After a good night shift on Sunday, I decided to work a few more night shifts this week.  Monday, I made sure to get to the garage nice and early.  And it payed off, too!  I was in a cab by 3pm!  For those not in the know, most taxi shifts go from 4-4 or 5-5.  So that means at about 3pm, most cabs go off duty to head back to their garages.  This also means that for the few cars who are on duty, this is big money time.  It is always good when there are more passengers than taxis.  And that happens until about 6pm when most of the night shift drivers make it into the city.  So that was a three hour advantage.  And to top it off, I got a fare on my way into the city too!  So, double bonus!

Monday night was busy.  Surprisingly so.  But I found most people weren't up to chatting or anything.  So even though I had over 30 passengers, only a small handful wanted to talk.  I did pick up one couple down on Bowery after the gentleman hailed me with one impressive whistle.  They were very nice and clearly they were having a good night.

I was driving around the Times Square area a little later, cruising for passengers.  Coming up to a corner, i thought some other cab was trying to edge in to cut me off until the driver rolls down the window and calls over to me "Hey lady!".  I looked over and there was another girl driver.  She was very excited to pass me by.  We managed to chat for a few moments and exchange numbers at the light before we took off in different directions.  She was very sweet and told me to give her a ring if I ever needed any help.  So nice!  I forget how rare we are in the industry.  According to an article I read the other day, there are only about 170 female drivers out of the over 46,000 male drivers in the city.  It is nice that she reached out to me.  Its like a little club in the midst of this huge boy's club.

Anyways, after a while things got a little slower.  I was cruising the West Village(which terrifies me less and less every shift I've driven) and I picked up three girls to go waaaay uptown.  Then as I was headed back down Broadway, a guy hails me.  He gets in and says we are going to Astoria.  I told him no problem, but he would have to help direct me a bit once we got to Queens.  He tells me to take the lower level on the 59th st bridge and then he can direct me from there.  So I drive to the bridge and go over it on the lower level.  As we are almost on the other side, I turn to ask him where we go next.  He was fast asleep.  And had headphones on.  So I had to holler at him to wake him up.  I ask him again where to go and he tells me to take the lower level at which point I say "uhhhh, yeah, we are already in Queens".  He is confused for a few moments before he gets his bearings and directs me where we need to go.  Finally I get him to his destination.  And after all that and an almost $25 fare, he gives me a dollar tip.....  Thanks, buddy!

JFK Central Taxi Lot
I didn't drive on Tuesday, but I did last night.  I found out at the beginning of my shift that the JFK lot was pretty empty, so I headed over to the airport.  It was my first time there in a cab, so I was a little confused as to how things worked.  But I managed to get it sorted and got dispatched to Terminal 5.  I got to the terminal and within a few moment I had a young guy come up to the car.  I got out to help him put his bags in the car and he asks me if I knew where Coney Island Ave. and Corteleyou Rd were.  I laughed and told him I grew up around the corner from there and he was happy that he wouldn't have to direct me every step of the way.  We had a nice ride up Linden from the airport too talking about everything from iPhones to mixtapes and how the neighborhood had changed over the past few years.  And by the time we made it there i had a nice chunk of change for the first hour of work. 

The rest of the evening wasn't very eventful.  It wasn't crazy busy, but it wasn't dead either.  Like Monday night, not that many people were feeling chatty.  So I just had my radio to listen to as i made my way around the city.  Later in the evening, I got a text from my parents.  They had been to a concert and if I was in the area, I could pick them up and take them home.  I was in the area, so I gave them a ride.  It was fun!  I got to show off my cab(which for the evening, wasn't one of the nicest ones I've driven thus far).  And after dropping them off at home, I even had a fare in Brooklyn on my way back.

One lady I had a nice chat with about what I've learned in my short time in the taxi industry and we got talking about bikes, and in particular those goddamn rickshaw bike taxis.  These things drive me crazy!  They just drive wherever they feel like, cut into traffic without signaling and even drive the wrong way down busy streets.  And what I have assessed over my short time driving, is I HATE THESE GUYS!!!!  They are seriously dangerous and I don't understand people who think its fun to take them.  I would be terrified.  I don;t think they have any sort of regulations and if they do, they aren't enforced. So, yeah.  Ranty rant rant!!!!

So far, I am enjoying driving nights much more than days.  The money is better, the traffic is better, and the city is so much prettier at night.  I am finally taking a little break for a couple of days.  I need it.  Driving is fun, but it is exhausting.
View from behind the meter driving into Times Square

Monday, October 15, 2012

I like the nightlife, I like to boogie.

Tonight I worked my first ever night shift.  I was a little apprehensive about nights, but my mind was put at ease after this evening.

I got a fare headed into Manhattan from in front of the new Barclay's Center.  This was awesome because instead of sitting in traffic into the city for free, I was getting paid for it.  And the two guys who hopped in were really nice and rather entertaining.  Apparently we are all going bungee jumping in the Bahamas some day.  Good times.

From there on it was pretty steady all night.  And the fact that it was Sunday night, the traffic was pretty clear.  I picked up a nice old couple downtown and drove them to the Upper East Side.  They were very sweet and put a smile on my face.  The woman said she thought I was a very good driver.  I wish they were my grandparents I could go over to their house and eat fresh baked cookies......  okay, okay...  too far....  but they were very nice. 

I found myself downtown again and tried hitting up the Seaport for a fare.  Didn't find one, but as I was about to get back on the highway, I was hailed by a group of people with cases and cases of wine.  I guess they were bartending for some function that supposedly Andrew Zimmern was at.  They seemed like they had been partaking in the wine as well, but were nice too.  And when they got out and unloaded all their wine, the one guy who seemed like the boss handed me a bottle of wine.  Very nice!

I picked up a group of very clearly high school kids on 14th.  They were rushing to get back before their curfew.  I thought it was adorable.  They were very much drunk or high or both.  But they were nice and asked nicely if they gave me a good tip if they could play some loud music.  So I let them.  They were having fun and made me laugh.  Ahhhh, high school........

I had a fare from Times Square to Queens and decided to call it a night.  It was almost 2 and i was starting to get sleepy.  So I headed back to the garage.  Overall, it was a good night.  Not super busy, but nowhere near dead.  Made a nice chunk of change for the evening and I had interesting passengers and no bad traffic.  Can't complain!  Contemplating working again tomorrow night.  Gonna go to the garage.  Hopefully I'll get a car.  Until then, enjoy this blurry photo of the Chrystler Building I took from my cab:

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Here!

Just stumbled upon this video.  Watch it!

Women Cab Drivers

Slacking...

I realize I haven't posted in a while.  Partially due to having to leave town for two weeks on a pretty last minute trip to Florida.  And then the few times I have worked since being back, things were kinda mundane.  Nothing really interesting to speak about.  I did have a few nice people last weekend.  Had a very sweet family from New Zealand who I wanted to join their vacation.  They sounded like they had the most fun week planned. And they were really sweet.  Also had another family from, I think they said Philly.  Drove them from midtown down to Ground Zero.  Had a nice conversation with the father who sat in the front.  It really makes a day go by much faster when you have nice conversation to get you through.

I drove yesterday, and then promptly got home and passed out.  So my update is coming a day late.  But overall, yesterday was pleasant with the exception of the end of the day, but I will get to that in a minute.

Started my morning off with a fare as soon as I was pulling off the Manhattan bridge.  Picked up a young couple headed to Wall St.  From there i caught another gentleman headed up to Mid Town.  As I was dropping him off on 34th street, I see the hoards of costumed people headed over to the Javits Center.  Comic Con!  I really wanted to pick up some costumed people all day.  Or at least pick up a fair to the Con so i could get a better look.  But I dropped off the guy and ended up going up town.

Picked up a lady on the Upper West Side looking to go up to the commuter train station on 125th.  She was really nice.  Had a nice conversation with her about art, summer camps, and Connecticut.  Really, a very nice ride. And as soon as she got out, I picked up a guy headed almost exactly back to where I had just picked up the previous lady.  It amused me.

For a while I bounced around, picking up a fare here and there.  Nothing really remarkable.  But I didn't feel like I wasn't picking up anyone, so that's always a nice feeling.  Nothing is worse than driving around for ages with nobody hailing you. 

Eventually I found myself in the Midtown West area and thought i would try and head over towards the Con and maye pick up a fare of people leaving.  As I headed down 41st street, I look out my window and walking down the street in full costume, I see a familiar face.  One of my co-workers from my other job!  I roll down the window and yell her name and pull over to say hi.  Her costume was amazing(the Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland) and I was very impressed with her handi-work.  We chatted for a minute or two, but then I was off.

In front of the Con, I picked up a couple headed downtown.  I asked them how the Con was, and they said it was cool.  They seemed like they just went for the expreience rather than being big comic fans.  We talked about it for a little while when they offered me their passes since they were done with them for the day and thought maybe I could use them after my shift.  Awesome!  Really sweet of them. 

I picked up a few more fares before deciding to call it a day.  But by the time I went off duty, I was uptown and had to race to get downtown and back to Brooklyn.  This is where my day went south.  I managed to get downtown very quickly and was thankful.  But then I hit Canal St.  It was a PARKING LOT!  AND I got stuck in the middle lane and couldn't maneuver my way out.  Although I don't think it would have done me any good if I had.  The Brooklyn Bridge was closed one way all weekend, so a lot of the traffic is diverted to the Manhattan Bridge.  Which means all approaches to the bridge are screwed.  I just happened to be in an awful position and not much I could do about it.  It took me over an hour to get down Canal.  And the traffic cop who let every other lane pass thru the light except the one i was in, did not help.  It was hell.  And every other person on the street kept trying to hail me despite me having my "Off Duty" lights on and doors locked and clearly on my way to the bridge.  Also, WHY would you want to hail a cab in the middle of a traffic jam?  So you could pay to sit where you were?  People are nuts.

Just for Reference, my TAXI SNAPSHOT of the day illustrates my frustration.

By the time I got out of the jam and back to Brooklyn and my garage, I was over an hour late with my car.  Thankfully, they were understanding of the traffic situation and didnt charge me for having the cab late.  Which is good.  Because even though i felt like i had people all day, I didnt have any big fares and didnt make all that much.  So a late charge would have not been good. 

Also, I need to make myself a map or something of lady-friendly bathrooms with parking nearby.  I have only a small handful of places where I know I can make a pit-stop and sometimes those places are far away from me.  Any NYC ladies, when you gotta go, where do you go?

I am driving later today, doing my first ever evening shift.  Sunday evenings are supposedly good to drive.  Light traffic, no turning rules and lots of people coming back from the weekend, so its busy.  I'll be sure to not leave you all hanging for as long.


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Meh...

Today was slow.  Not a slow as my first day driving, but it was slow.  I got to the garage a little later than I would have liked this morning, so that cut into my driving time a little.  Also, getting there that little bit later meant there were less cabs left and I got stuck with a clunker.  I mean, it WORKED, but the air conditioning only came out of the floor vents(my toes were frost bitten!) and it veered to the right so in order to keep it straight i had to work extra hard to steer it, so my arms got tired.  And thanks to a subway snafu last night, I didn't get very much sleep, so I was exhausted before the day even got going.

I got over the bridge and as has been the usual for me, picked up my first fare in Chinatown.  I seemed to be going pretty good with back to back fares for the whole first hour.  I was psyched, because if things kept like that, I was going to have a very good day.  This excitement was short lived.  After that first hour, things just stopped.  I blame the amazing weather.  It was warm but not hot, and absolutely gorgeous.  And when it's nice like that, people want to walk.  So I drove around for a solid hour before picking anyone else up.

I didn't have anyone particularly interesting the whole day.  I DID, however, go through Times Square and for the first time in my life, which has been in NYC for almost all of it, I saw Naked Cowboy!  Seriously.  I have been to Times Square countless times, I have seen him in everybody's tourist photos, and seen him on TV a bunch of times.  Never have I seen him in person.  I know it's not a big deal, really, but i was excited by it.

I had almost given up on the day when I was passing near my other job, when a doorman to one of the adjoining buildings hailed me.  I pulled into the driveway of the building where I picked up a guy who I took from the Upper West Side all the way to Park Slope in Brooklyn.  This was AWESOME.  I was worried that I wouldn't even make enough to cover my daily lease and gas, but this guaranteed I would.  And normally I don't enjoy traffic, but this time it worked in my favor making the fare a little higher.  And the passenger didn't seem to mind too much.  He took a nap most the way.

Once in Brooklyn, I realized it was getting close to the end of my day.  I didn't want to sit in traffic and go back into Manhattan, so I tried picking up some local fares in Park Slope.  I got one right off the bat, but the second one which I decided would be my last of the day ended up taking me back into Manhattan and uptown a bit.  I was happy for the second substantial fare, but i was stressing trying to get back to the garage on time.  I did make it back eventually and because of the last few fares, I managed to make a super slow and crappy day into a not so bad day.

And just 'cuz, here is my TAXI SNAPSHOT OF THE DAY!!!


Monday, September 10, 2012

Day Three

Drove yesterday, but didn't get to update because I was exhausted after driving and i had the start of a migraine that would last me through this morning.  But that is all better now, so here we go.

Yesterday, overall was pretty uneventful.  The morning I spent doing mostly short fares here and there.  I did pick up one particularly dapper looking guy from the Upper East Side going to Lincoln Center.  He didn't say much the whole ride but as he was getting out he told me I was definitely the coolest cab driver he had ever had.  That made me smile, for sure.  I passed by Lincoln Center later in the day and actually saw the same guy looking for a cab again.  I had someone in the back though, so I couldn't stop.  Oh well.

After dropping off the dapper gentleman, i instantly picked up two very fashionable guys headed to the Meat Packing District.  They were clearly involved in the fashion industry somehow.  And while they didn't speak much to me, I was lucky enough to hear about their entire recent sexual histories.  Very entertaining.

The day continued to be pretty uneventful.  I had one guy who was a know it all who thought I didn't know where I was going, even though because of one way streets and the traffic I knew was near the Port Authority, the way I took was actually to his benefit.  Passengers, let me tell you a little something.  If you are going somewhere and you know it is a one way street, don't assume the driver is trying to take you for a ride because they go a block or two past.  This little move could probably save you a few bucks and a few minutes.  Especially if the street you THINK they should be taking is 9th ave and going past port authority and the Lincoln Tunnel in the middle of the afternoon.  THERE IS ALWAYS TRAFFIC THERE!!!!!!  Okay, rant over.

After that pleasant gentleman, I had to pee, was hungry and right near a great McDonalds with a parking lot.  So I stopped for lunch.  This McDonalds has these new hi-tech soda dispensers where you pick your soda on a touch screen and then you can add a flavor to it as well.  I had raspberry Coke.  Very interesting!  They also had orange, vanilla, cherry, cherry vanilla, and I think lime.  Good spot to stop as a driver, and lots of other drivers know it too because the parking lot is filled with cabs.

The afternoon was also pretty uneventful.  Had a couple of slightly longer fares, but nothing crazy.  As the day was winding down for me, I decided I would grab one more fare before heading home.  I am glad I did too, because the last fare of the day made my day.

I was cruising up Broadway after dropping a couple at the Bed Bath and Beyond.  A young guy hails me and he is holding an empty gas canister.  I pull over for him and he hops in and asks me to take him to the nearest gas station.  Being on the Upper West Side, I couldn't think of where one was off hand.  So I pulled over to look it up on my phone.  He was apologetic but I told him not to sweat it.  It would be an adventure!  We figured out where one was and headed up that way.  Had an awesome conversation about everything from Brooklyn, to artists, to Spike Lee, and ratemypoo.com.  I got him to the gas station and he asked me to wait so I could bring him back.  That was probably the most entertaining fare I have had so far, and he gave me a HUGE tip on top of that.  So, Zach(I think that was his name) from People Magazine, big high five for being awesome!  Seriously, made my day.

Unfortunately that fare took a little longer than I had thought it would so i had to race back to the garage after that, and of course I hit traffic.  I eventually made it back to the garage, even if it was a bit later than I had intended.  Overall, a pretty average day I guess.  The day before I did a little better, but I still did okay, so I am happy with that.

Oh, I also tried out that Taxi Snapshot app.  Check it out!

MY SNAPSHOT!!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Back On The Road!

So, after working the one shift and then taking a long hiatus, I got back out on the road today.  I was nervous as all hell this morning.  Afraid I was going to forget something or how to get somewhere.  It is one thing to get int he cab and go when you just finished the class, but now i had let things sit, and it wasn't so fresh in the mind.  Also, I didn't get a very good nights sleep last night and was not feeling so hot this morning.  So at the start of the day, I was not really so enthusiastic about driving. 

I got to the garage and got my cab.  Still a little nervous, but started to calm down a bit.  I was also worried that the boyfriend wouldn't be driving today and if something should happen, I would be out there on my own.  But he put my mind at ease and i hit the road. 

For starters, the car they gave me today was not so good.  The steering wheel made a funny noise, and it was a slow breaker.  Also, the radio didn't work, which is not great.  It is good to be able to keep tabs on traffic, and also, a little music goes a long way when you are sitting in a cab for the whole day.  Alas, I had to make do without the radio and became very familiar with the repeating TV stories broadcast from the screen in the back of the cab.

As I headed to the city, it started to rain.  Hard.  Really hard.  I was a little worried about the weather, but i managed to stay ahead of the rain for the most part.  I hear other parts of the city were less lucky though.  Tornado over the Belt Parkway!  Glad I wasn't there!  The rain ended up helping me out a bit though.  Because when it rains, nobody wants to walk anywhere. 

Started out the shift with a good fare.  Picked up a woman in Chinatown headed to Penn Station.  From there I stayed in the lower-mid town area for a while before getting a fare from Alphabet City up to the Upper East Side.  By the time I took my lunch up on York Ave I had already made my lease money.  Considering I barely made anything my first day, this was looking very good indeed.

After lunch I bobbed around a bit.  Cruised Park ave for some fares.  Found a parade which got in the way for a while.  But thankfully the passenger I had at the time was very understanding.  I picked up a group on the Upper West Side and they were headed down to the Times Square general vicinity.  Once we got down to 42nd street the traffic was a mess!  Barely moving at all.  They decided they had gotten close enough and decided to hop out early.  I was initially bummed that I didn't get to complete the trip(don't worry.  they didn't skip out on the fare) but that quickly turned around.

Had they not gotten out when they did, i would not have gotten my next fare.  As I am sitting in this Times Square traffic, I see a man going from cab to cab.  Finally he comes to me and opens the door to ask me if I can take him to Met-life Stadium in Jersey.  I guess the other cabs didn't want the fare, so I told him no problem.  He and what looked like his son got in and we slowly made our way to the end of the block before I made it away from the traffic.  We had a great conversation the whole ride.  They were headed to the Syracuse-USC football game.  I told them that my sister was a 'Cuse alum and they told me they were going for USC.  We had a friendly jab at each other.  The rest of the conversation was nice too.  And there was plenty of making fun of New Jersey, so I always appreciate that.  Once we had escaped Times Square, we actually made it to the stadium pretty quickly.  I bid them adieu, and they were on their way(and I was too with a nice tip.  Thanks, guys!)

Got back to the city very quickly and had a few basic fares.  Picked up one girl downtown to go uptown.  She was entertaining, when she wasn't complaining about the traffic or the way we were going(after i asked her if she wanted me to take the Drive or the streets, and I followed her wish).  But I got her to her destination and immediately picked up a family with their little boy headed to the Museum of Natural History.  I am normally not one to coo over small children, but it was really cute listening to how excited he was to go see the dinosaurs.  He was really, really excited.

By this time, my day was winding down and I did a couple of short fares and then one last one from the upper west side down tot he west village, which is great because it put me near the bridge so I could head back to the garage.

Overall, I had a good day.  The island of Manhattan was one big traffic jam all day, but the people were friendly and I did pretty well for myself.  I will be heading back tot he garage tomorrow to pick up another shift.  Hopefully I do as well again!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Okay, so I realize I haven't written anything in a very long while and that will be changing.  But I work at a summer camp during the summers, so there was no driving for me.  I have returned tot he city now and once my life settles a little bit, I hope to get back behind the wheel sometime in the next week or so.

In the meantime, I was perusing the Facebook, and I saw a post by an acquaintance of mine.  And I think this is a really neat idea.  It is an app for iphone(maybe others too) that allows you to take a picture from inside a cab and t tracks what cabs go with what pictures and you can see who was in your cab and what cabs are the most popular for the app and so on.  It's a little voyeuristic, sure, but that's fun from time to time.  I cant wait to get behind the wheel and see if people take pics in my cab! 

So, for those of you interested, here is the site for the app:
http://taxisnapshot.com

So until next time(which hopefully wont be too long), happy snapping!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

So, It Begins!

Me in my very first taxi ever!
Well, it has finally happened.  I took my very first taxi out today!  I won't lie.  I was scared as hell before.  I may or may not have had a mini-meltdown last night about how nervous I was.  Terrified.

Woke up early this morning after not nearly enough sleep(worked a closing shift at my other job and didn't get to sleep until very late).  Dragged myself out of bed, stuffed a donut in my face and we were on our way.  The boyfriend who hadnt worked a shift in a while also came out with me today.  One, just to drive, but also to show me the ropes.

We got to the garage, got our cars sorted and he gave me a quick tutorial on how to really work the meter.  Unfortunatly, the class never delved into that too much because you don't need to know that for the test.  Silly, but thats how it is.  Once I had a handle on that, we were off.

I didn't pick up a fare into the city, but got my first hail shortly after getting over the Manhattan Bridge.  I was headed up Bowery and a man waved me down.  I pulled over and he tells me he has a bunch of fruit he has to transport up to 14th street.  I get out to help him and then I see what he means.  He literally filled my trunk AND back seat with bananas, mangoes and strawberries.  I couldnt belive that THIS was my first fare.  Ever.  But he was very sweet and he didn't leave any mess from the fruit.

Caught a fare up to the west side and then had to drive around a little bit before I was hailed down by a woman and her very cute beagle.  She was a little out there, but she was nice and we had a good conversation about dogs.  And I got a little hand kiss from the pooch.  So cute.

Only other notable fare of the day was a gentleman I picked up by Central Park.  He got int he cab and we had a fantasitc ride.  He was totally digging that I had Van Halen on the radio when he got in.  Had a nice conversation about music, beaches, and the french toast at the Roscoe Diner upstate.  He was also one of the only people all day to comment on the fact that I am both female and a native New Yorker.  He asked how long I had been driving, and was surprised to learn that he was only my 5th passenger ever.  He was super sweet and gave me a good tip.  Very cool guy.

The rest of the day was pretty uneventful.  It was slow.  But even though it wasn't a busy day, it was just what I needed to ease me into driving.  I feel much more confident behind the wheel.  I also learned a few things, like where I shouldnt stop to pee, I should have my own toilet paper, and Morningside Park is in the way.  Always.

After paying the lease and for gas, I made a whopping $16 for the day.  Slave labor.  But again, it was a learning day.  My feet are wet, and I am ready for the next day of driving, which hopefully will be soon. 

So, stay tuned for more GirlyCabbie adventures!  I hope to have some real gems to share!