After spending an hour on the subway with the creatures of the night, I finally made it to the Team Systems garage in Long Island City, where the evening drivers were ending their adventures as the day hacks began theirs. I could hear the dispatcher shouting out the names of the cabbies from where I took this shot.
Boris is the man who turned his cab over to me at the end of his shift. When I told him it was my first day as a yellow cab driver, he insisted on showing me how the meter works and gave me a plastic sleeve for my hack license so it wouldn’t fall out of the Plexiglas holder behind my head. I offered him a caramel, which he declined with a giggle.
This is Iggy, who hailed me somewhere on Broadway and saw through his drunken bliss to my confusion. He also pointed out my crazy lady grip on the steering wheel. When I told him it was my first day driving and that he was my very first fare, he lapsed into delight and let me take his picture.
At this point, I’d successfully delivered my first two (intoxicated) passengers to their desired destinations, found an open bathroom (after much agonized searching) at a diner on Houston and was jacked up on a cup of Lower East Side coffee. It was two hours before I found my next fare.
One of my goals on Sunday was to watch the sun rise over New York City from behind the wheel of a yellow cab. I was climbing Lafayette St. in Soho when it happened.
After driving around for several hours and not finding any fares, I decided to line up at Grand Central Station. So much of a cabbie’s life is waiting in lines just like this one. Waiting, watching, and, in my case, hoping you know how to get where your passenger needs to go.
My instructors at taxi school told me that it took them a good two months before they could untie the knot in their stomachs and feel confident in their knowledge of the city. I spent my entire shift breathing into that knot, even though I knew I couldn’t undo it. My guess is that it’ll loosen just a little after every shift.