Showing posts with label nyc. Show all posts
Showing posts with label nyc. Show all posts

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Happy new year!

Ok. I know. I suck. I am way long overdue for a post. I have stuff a brewin, and have things to share.  But this will have to tide you over for the meantime. 

You may remember I did an interview last summer for Taxi Fare Finder. I was approached not to long ago by them again. Apparently my interview got a lot if great feedback and they asked if I would write an article for them. So, of course, I did. I am pretty stoked about it. You should all take a moment and check it out!!

New posts soon. Promise. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Oogie Boogie! We Are Gonna Get You!!

So I mentioned the other day in my last post about a news story that WPIX was doing on cab drivers.  It was a three part story, so I wanted to wait until all three parts had aired before writing a post about it.

Let me start this off by saying that I first heard about this story because of the ads I heard on the radio while driving my cab.  The commercial played all day and on several different stations.  So I know it was playing in taxis across the city.  The commercial was alarmist and sensational and made it seem like all taxi drivers are crooks out to get the people of New York.  Great for a passenger who I am depending on for my pay to hear.  Honestly, the first thing I could compare the sound of this commercial to was when the KFC in the Village had a rat problem and the news sensationalized it.  In this case, I was among the rats.

As much as it pains me to share the links to the story, I don't want to be like the reporter who was very one sided.  So for journalism's sake, I am sharing these links.

Hack Job Part 1
Hack Job Part 2
Hack Job Part 3

Let me start out by saying that I get it.  Cabbies have a bad reputation for not wanting to go to the outer boroughs.  And there are certainly drivers who "cherry pick" for fares so they don't have to go to Brooklyn.  And I know that on certain nights, this is more common.  But this is not news.  I should also say that when I am out driving, I see other drivers who "cherry pick" and it pisses me off.  I don't like it.  I don't agree with it.

What I have the most issue with in these stories is how it makes all drivers out to be bad people, just trying to take advantage of our customers.  It over exaggerates the frequency of these instances making the few who do it some of the time into all of us who do it all the time.  Obviously for the people this happens to, that is what will stick in their mind rather than the dozen other times they get into a cab and have good service.  People don't remember good service in this industry.  They remember the bad because it gives them a story about 'that bad driver that one time who was oh, so awful'.

All these stories do is vilify an entire industry, including the good drivers.  It will make people think twice about taking a taxi.  And all that does is penalize the good drivers.  There are plenty of drivers who will take passengers to any destination without question.  But this story simply ignores us altogether and highlight the few bad apples for the sake of a sensational story.

In the second installment, they show TLC Commissioner David Yassky trying to hail a cab to Brooklyn during the evening rush.  First of all, some of those drivers may legitimately be "off duty" at that time because that is the shift change.  Second, as Commissioner, he should know that you should get in the car before telling the driver your destination.  I tell customers all the time who come to my window to ask me to take them somewhere to get in and THEN tell me where you want to go.  The second you ask me to take you somewhere and you aren't in my cab is the second you give me the opportunity to drive away from you(I won't, but other drivers might).

Thirdly, and this is the biggie, why is he so shocked and bewildered that any of this is going on.  You are the Commissioner!  You should know this is going on!  It is your JOB to know what is going on in the industry you are in charge of!  And honestly, he does know whats going on.  But instead of fixing the problem by doing more stings like the one shown, and catching and penalizing the drivers who are in the wrong, deterring others in the process, he issues policies like the new roof light system. 

I am very skeptical about the new roof lights.  It may make it a little more difficult for the crooked drivers to cherry pick, but I think the ones who are determined will find another way around it and carry on.  Instead, it may end up penalizing the honest drivers who as it stands now, as they are going off duty can pick up a fare if it is on their way home putting those last few dollars in their pocket which can sometimes make a day.  How it will work with the new system is yet to be seen.  Also, they say it is supposed to make it less confusing for passengers, but those who are used to the old system will have to now re-learn the lights, and for those who are on their way home, people will be less likely to stick an arm up to hail them thinking the car already has a passenger.

Honestly, I think it is a band aid on a much bigger wound.  For the sake of the honest drivers, they need to actually do something actively to catch the rule breakers instead of use a small deterrent which in the grand scheme of things, hurts the good driver.

What it all comes down to is the reporter, the Commissioner and the public of New York need to realize and acknowledge the fact that the bad drivers make up only a small portion of the taxi fleet.  There are lots of decent, honest, hard working drivers who are not out to get you.  They keep the city moving.  They put up with the police, rude passengers, traffic, bad drivers, high fees, and a million other variables just to get people where they need to go.  For some, like myself, it is a choice to join the industry.  For some, it isn't.  They may not have other job skills or connections, but they do this job with a smile and put up with all the crap that comes along with it so they can feed their families.  I do wish that the dishonest drivers weren't a fact of life, but in any industry you will have your bad apples.  But then you have lots of other shiny, bright and delicious apples.  They may not be the ones you remember, but they did their job and they did it well.
Not all drivers are bad guys! (photo courtesy of USA Today)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Long TIme Coming

OK.  I know it has been way too long since my last actual post.  Between going out of town for helping with my sister's wedding and catching the plague that has been passed around the city recently, I didn't work so much.  I had myself convinced that I hadn't gotten sick this season because being in the cab with all the different people and all their different germs exposed me just enough to build up resistance and I was immune.  Well, I made it through most of the cold season, but then it hit me.  Hard.  It was bad.  I can't remember the last time I felt so horrible.  It was bad enough that I went to the doctor about it, and anyone who knows me, knows how big of a deal that is.  I almost never go to the doctor unless it's serious.

After making a full recovery, I worked last Sunday evening.  I got a car early on, and that was probably where my luck ended.  This car was a nightmare from the beginning.  Before I even left the garage, I had to bring the car into the shop.  The wipers didn't work and the front tire was flat.  And not just a little flat.  All the way flat.  The guys fixed it up quickly and I was on my way.
My car up on the lift before I even got to leave the garage.  This was how my day started, and how it stayed.
 I started at JFK, ready to get going when I got out of my car in the taxi lot.  The tire they had just fixed was going flat again.  I called my garage and they said they were sending someone out to me with a new tire.  By the time he got to me, I had lost my place in line.  Also, he just brought me a new tire and didn't plan on actually helping me.  So i had to leave the lot, giving up on the airport entirely, and head out with my new tire to try and find a tire shop to fix it for me.  By the time I managed to get it all fixed and make it into the city, it was 7pm.  So not only had I lost out on an airport fare, it was now on the later end of the busy time in the city.

After all of that, the city was dead.  And I mean really dead.  There was still enough snow on the ground from the snowstorm that people didn't go out.  Even with Fashion Week going on, there was nobody out.  I struggled just to be able to pay my lease and gas.  I ended up staying out way later than I normally would just to put a few measly bucks in my pocket.  Between how slow it was, dealing with the un-plowed snow on the ground and the beginnings of a migraine, it was just awful.  I haven't had a day this bad since the first day I worked ever.  It almost wasn't even worth it to work at all!
After heading to Brooklyn on a fare, I stopped in a bar to use the restroom.  They had this old timey phone in the bathroom to go along with the antique style, chain flush toilet(not pictured)
Thankfully, I worked this Sunday and Monday, and it more than made up for last week's horribleness.  Sunday night was great.  It was a holiday weekend, so Sunday was almost a bonus Saturday.  Because a lot of people didn;t have work the next day, there were lots more people out and about later in the evening.  Also working in my favor was the weather.  It was cold and windy.  And I mean really cold.  And that there is a good thing for a taxi driver.  When it is cold, but otherwise nice out, people still go out, but they don't want to walk more than a few blocks.

I found that people were pretty friendly overall the whole night.  Had more than a few who took interest in what I do, which is always cool.  I had an Australian rugby player in my car.  His team had just gotten to go to New Orleans where they had their own float at Mardi Gras before they flew up to NYC for a game.  I thought that was really neat.

At one point in the night, I got a fare out to Brooklyn.  As the guy was getting out of the cab, a small group of folks came running over to get in.  They weren't going far(just to DUMBO), but it was a fun ride.  I was offered french fries and had a good laugh with them.  Also, It's always nice to get another fare when you get taken out of the city on a busy night.
Sunset as I headed towards Times Square.  It was much prettier in person...
Last night was decent too.  Nothing too exciting to report.  It was really busy early on which was good because after 11, it got really dead.  I drove around for two hours empty at one point.  Finally I had gotten a fare to Greenpoint.  After that I didn't think it would be worth going all the way back into the city just to cruise around empty again and then have to head back home, so I drove around Greenpoint and Williamsburg for a little bit before catching a group of guys from Australia to go back to their hotel in the Park Slope area.  I took that as a sign that being that close to my garage meant it was time to head home.  Thankfully, because of how busy it was earlier in the night, the slow down of business didn't hurt me too bad, and I still had an above average night.

I have another post brewing.  While driving around yesterday, there was an ad on the radio which played many many times about a spot on the WPIX11 11 o'clock news about cabbies and basically how we try and get over on people.  I have a lot of issues with this, and will get to that a little later.  But I think that needs it's own post.  So, stay tuned.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

They Can't ALL Be Winners

I worked this evening.  I got to the garage around my usual time and waited until almost 5pm for my car today.  I guess everyone is back from their vacations.  I wouldn't have minded waiting so much except for the fact of how cold it was.  The waiting room at the garage is warmer than outside, but not by much.  At least one of my fellow driver friends was nice and we waited in his car for a little while with the heat on.

I started out at JFK.  It was a short wait there to get dispatched to a terminal.  Thankfully, I got an easy fare.  It wasn't Manhattan, but it was a part of Brooklyn I am very familiar with, and it put me in good position to shoot into the city after dropping him off.

Once I got into Manhattan, I was headed up 3rd Ave. when I picked up a man going uptown.  We got to talking.  He was originally from Glasgow, so I told him about my time that I spent there.  Basically our conversation covered all things Scottish.  Seriously a delightful trip.  And I told him I had a few friends over there who would be excited to hear I had a Glaswegian in my car.  So, thanks Colin for being awesome!

Later on, I picked up a fellow on the Upper West Side.  He was just a curmudgeon.  From what I gathered from his phone conversation, he had just had a bad game of basketball.  He also complained about how slow this cab ride was to whomever he was speaking with(because the two blocks of construction got in the way).  Then when we were almost at his destination, he tells me how it was taking so long and how I went the bad way, when he had about 70 blocks to tell me whatever way he would like to go.  If you don't speak up and tell me you want a certain route, I am going to take the route I think is best.  And maybe I think that is best because I just was on the other option of a street and it was WORSE!  So, sorry you had a shitty teammate on you basketball team, but don't catch a 'tude with me for you not telling me what you want!  He still gave me a decent tip, but then slammed my door when he got out.  So confusing.

I picked up a girl near Port Authority to go to the Upper East Side.  She was super rad.  We reminisced about the big blackout back in I think, 2002.  We complained about landlords.  And she told me she wasn't expecting heat in her apartment when she got in, so she said she was going to be enjoying a bottle of wine until she was warm.  I hope that worked out for her.

At the end of my night, I was headed back to my garage.  On Flatbush Ave, I see a guy who looked like he was headed in my direction, so I picked him up.  He wanted to go to Bay Ridge.  A bit out of the way for me, but its a good ride, so I took it.  This guy was a little on the tipsy side and obnoxious.  He asked me the same questions multiple times because he forgot he already asked them.  When we arrived at his destination, he then tells me he has no money.  Seriously.  I told him I could take credit, but he didn't have that either.  He told me to come to his restaurant where he worked tomorrow and he would give me $100.  Yeah.  Right, buddy.  I told him to get out and forget it.  Funny, because we just had had a conversation about how karma is a bitch.  It's a shame that I had to end my night on that sour note.  So, if anyone eats at Azalea Ristorante, tell the manager he owes me $100!

Other than that, things were uneventful.  Very few talkers tonight.  At least I had a good night, money wise.  Because of the cold, nobody wanted to walk anywhere, so that means lots of taxi business!  I stayed out pretty late, so now I am pooped.  It is time for me to curl up with a kitty or two and pass out.

Monday, January 21, 2013

You Take The Good, You Take The Bad...........

Between a stomach bug, having my kitchen floors re-done, bachelorette party planning and a million other things, I didn't get to work for longer than I would like.  It had been almost a week and a half since my last shift by the time I got to the garage last Wednesday.  And even then I wasn't feeling 100%, so I pretty much had to force myself to work because, hey, bills need to be paid.
Going into Times Square
Last Wednesday was slow.  And I mean really slow.  I eventually made close to my average, but I had to really work for it, and I stayed out way late.  I think I worked about 14 hours that shift.  It was just rough all around.

I started my shift heading into the city with no intentions of hitting the airports.  But as soon as I made it over the bridge, I get a fare to JFK.  Okay, fine.  I wasn't planning on going there, but I went.  After dropping my passenger off at his terminal, I headed to the taxi lot where I had to wait for about an hour before getting to a terminal and picking up a fare.  I didn't realize until after we pulled away that this guy was just going a little way into Queens and I didn't get my "shorty ticket".  So after waiting there for all that time, I only got a small fare out of it and then had to trek all the way into Manhattan from Forest Hills empty.  By the time I made it into the city, it was almost 7:30(I started at 3:30) and I didn't have much to show for my time.

After killing myself just to make my lease, I was passing by my old store when I see a few of my old co-workers leaving.  I pulled over to say hi and offered them a ride home.  At that point I was annoyed with how slow the night was so I figured why not.  It was awesome to see them!  It really has been a while, so it was great to catch up.  Even if I wasn't making money, I had fun.  And I probably wouldn't have made much if I hadn't stopped for them.
Me with my old co-workers; Laura in the front with me and Mike and Corey in the back.
The rest of the night was just blah.  The city was dead.  All the bars seemed empty and nobody wanted a cab.  I seriously drove around empty for around an hour more than once.  My last fare, I think was my first repeat customer, although neither of us were sure.  But she seemed really familiar, and I have totally dropped the person she reminded me of at the same place in Red Hook.  So it was either a really striking similarity, or she was the same passenger.

After spending a few days relaxing in the woods up in Massachusetts over the weekend, I worked tonight.  What a contrast to last week!  This was my biggest night money-wise that I have had yet.  Over double my usual average.  The whole night was busy.  Between the football games, hockey and the fact that it's the Sunday before a holiday Monday, people were out and about and going places all night.
Gorgeous sunset over the JFK taxi lot
Once again, I didn't plan on going to the airport.  I had a short fare in Brooklyn before heading over the bridge to Manhattan.  My first fare in Manhattan took me to JFK.  I am starting to notice a trend! After dropping her off at the terminal, I headed to the taxi lot.  Even thought the lot was pretty full, the line moved quickly.  I was out of there in about 40 minutes.  I had a shorty fare first to just outside the airport, and was back in just a few minutes.  Easy money.  Because I had my shorty ticket, I didn't have to wait in the lot again, so I went right to my next terminal where I picked up a couple going to Manhattan.
Things were moving all night.  And then I picked up a pretty unassuming guy. Oh boy, I had no idea the character I had in my car.  He was very nice and told me I was a good driver and I was very laid back.  I said thanks and as he was about to get out of the car, he asked me if I would show him my "front porch".  For those of you who don't know, and I didn't until I had him clarify, "front porch" means boobs.  He wanted me to flash him.  I told him no, and thankfully he was considerate of my denial and laughed it off saying, "well, if you don't ask, it won't happen".  Very strange man.  But, after all that, he gave me a pretty generous tip.

Even though the night was super busy, people didn;t seem too chatty.  So other than Front Porch guy, I dont have much else to talk about.  It was a long shift, and I am pooped.  Its time for sleep. 

Oh!  and also, my Girly Cabbie business cards came in the mail.  Now I can share this blog with people without having to scribble the address on a piece of scrap paper.  Woo!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Hunker Down. It's a Long One!

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!