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Can You Go Home Again?

New York taxi drivers seem to have different answers to this question.

For Vinod Dogra, the taxi astrologer from New Delhi who will “always be hyphenated,” and Ilyas Chaudary, the Pakistani cabbie itching to return to Gujrat to grow vegetables, the answer is a resounding yes.

But Leslie Destine, who’s been in the U.S. for nearly 40 years, can’t imagine going back to Haiti: “I’m going to be lost. I’m going nuts. I have nothing to say to people.”

And for Godfred Opuka, who worked his way to a taxi medallion after only eight years as a yellow cabbie: “New York is the best city. They give opportunity to anyone who deserves it. No matter where you’re from.” He’ll go back to Ghana, but just to visit.

Each of these men came to Gotham for different reasons, and each has his own relationship with the American Dream.

But the act of leaving and making a life in a new place unites them; it also drives them to make a firm decision about where home is.

If there’s a Big Question that New York cabbies can help me answer while they teach me what their city tastes like, maybe it’s this one.

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