"I'll be right there Bobo."
"O.K. Avineri, just making sure you're coming".
Like I've said before: the sweetest taxi dispatcher in NYC. I run out the door and hail. A Coptic cabbie pulls over on Metro and almost pulls a refusal on me for not heading into Manhattan, but succumbs when I beg and plea that I'm a cabbie too, trying to make it to my garage at a reasonable hour. At the end he refuses to accept more than a $10 bill for the $12 fare. He wouldn't let me pay him full price, let alone the tip. I'd do the same for any yellow brethren of mine.
It's a late start, but my luck makes up for it. First fare is a Macy's employee who was walking to the subway and forgot something at home in Cobble Hill. I stop for him there first and then we're off to Grand Central Station, via Brooklyn Bridge and FDR. He's headed for the soon-to-open new Macy's store in Yonkers, and he does not want to miss his MTA North. $25 right of the bat.
Minutes later I land a fare to JFK for a young lady who got a couple days off to go visit family back home in Los Angeles. We discuss the futuristic vibe of Virgin America. Add $54. I catch up on my zees at the central hold for an hour and twenty minutes, before taking two women from Charlotte, NC to their hotel in Times Square. They ask me for good eating places. They claim to like all foods. I prepare them a written list while in short lived bumper-to-bumper traffic on the Van Wyck.
#1. Yatagan Turkish Grill on Macdougal in Greenwich Village.
#2. Nam Son Vietnamese on Grand St. in Chinatown.
#3. Grimaldi's Brick Oven Pizzeria in DUMBO.
Add $60 and subtract $5 for the QM Tunnel. I would have taken the free (and panoramic) bridge, but 1010 am reported a stalled vehicle on the lower level, which affects all approaches. Soon after, a black Costa Rican lady who speaks nearly no Spanish got in, late for work on the other end of Midtown. She's been here since age 1 and will end up living in the Caribbean some day soon. Three rides later a Slavic Jew on 22nd and First requests Grand Central, but he's allergic to 42nd Street. He's pleased with my shortcut via 33rd and up Park.
Across the street, two girls look around in confusion. I roll down my window and offer assistance. They seek the Holiday Inn on 57th and have no other info, and no cabbie on their side of the street wishes to help. I flash my hazard lights, put it in park, and run across all the lanes to haul over their luggage. They kindly share an Excedrin for my migraine.
Moments later a Mexican employee of Lucky's Famous Burgers motions me to turn left into the most backed up block in Hell's Kitchen. When I get him to tell me that he's going to Chelsea with two big boxes of frozen fries that are sitting half way down the block, I offer to pull over without getting off Ninth, and run over to carry them back with him. I then utilize the time we saved avoiding traffic standstills by stopping at the 99 cent Bangladeshi Pizzeria to get us each a couple slices of the best cheap cheese in NY. He's flattered.
Later in the day I had the honor of taking the two joint owners of Empire Diner in Chelsea to West 72nd. Theirs is the diner that flashes bright as you travel along Tenth Avenue.