Tuesday, January 26, 2010

McGuinness Management

Beautiful twilight sky, contrasted with the dark starkness of the taxi lot.
That pole in the back resembles a minaret in the distance if you use your peripheral imagination.

Notice the three different hues of emanating light in the background:
Amber streetlights. Isolated florescent apartment windows.
And a subtle glow of urban purple in the predawn skies.

Exhaust pipes leaning haphazardly against an exterior wall.
And in the foreground an old taxicab partition with a hole cut out in the shape of a TV screen.

Seems as if the taxicab's jaw was torn wide open.
Chassis and wheels below. Everything else left suspended in mid air. Looks painful.
What could possibly call for such violence. Reminds me of a Colombian necktie.

Mikey and I hanging out between our two parked taxicabs in the Meatpacking District around 4 A.M.
He only works on the weekends. I miss his cellular support on the weekdays.

Mode of transportation to go pickup a taxicab before a shift: BICYCLE!

The one half inside the garage looks kind of like an optical illusion of....
....two different cabs, because of the lighting.

Junior Pulaski Auto Repair across the street.
They lease the space from Gus, the Greek magnate who owns a vast ocean of taxicabs,
real estate, and the nearby gas station where we are required to fill up our tanks at shift's end.
You know that game, Monopoly? Us hacks are the playing pieces.
The race car, wheelbarrow, sack of money, horse and rider, shoe, dog....
....train, battleship, cannon, thimble, top hat, and iron.... all rolled into one!

A video clip of cabdriver, garage owner, and taxi dispatcher arguing over money issues.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Around Brooklyn

1. FISHING FOR L TRAIN PEOPLE: Hovering on Bogart with crossed fingers.
UNSPOKEN UNITY: cab yields to cheese bus at crossroads of Bill, Wick, and Stuy.
KHASSIDIC CORRIDOR: Quasi-public transport from far southwestern WB to Boro Park.
4. HONORABLE GUEST: global hitchhiking connoisseur Guillaume C.
5. WILLY BEE BRIDGE: corner of South 6th and Kent at dusk.
6. KEAP AND HOPE: remarkably wholesome graffiti mural in Williamsburg.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


Drivers' lounges at taxi garages across NYC vary widely in the ways they operate and in what content they post on their walls. Most of the signs, however, are announcements and warnings for the cabdrivers. In this post I've included a few signs from the previous fleet I leased from in Long Island City. I like referring to them as the Russian mafia because of the sneaky sleazeball vibes they put out in their dealings with us (the workforce.)

Above is a notice that says, "We are letting you know that car wash located on 43rd Avenue, corner of Crescent Street is opened to serve you." The garage has an account there, since it is not the duty of the driver to pay out of pocket to keep the cab clean. Below is just a random, funny, unusual scene. Taxi roof cones, etc. stored haphazardly on top of a vending machine.

And now for a bit of hypocritical irony. Above is the chart that tells you how much it costs to lease a taxicab at that garage, depending on what time you start. Though a normal shift goes from 4 or 5 am until 4 or 5 pm (or pm to am), this garage likes to charge extra if you wish to begin your shift early.

Now look at the sign below. It says, "A driver shall not operate a taxicab for more than 12 consecutive hours." Does that mean this garage expects its cabbies to return from the streets as early as they left, after being that much further in the hole with their overhead expenses? If you've ever driven a taxi in NY you know that is total Baloney.

The only motivation for a cabdriver to be an 'early bird' is to try and hope that a couple extra hours of exposure to the boroughs might inch them slightly closer to a living income. To have to dish out more money for this slim gamble of an opportunity is frankly an abomination to our morale, and illegal if I'm not mistaken.

My current garage in Brooklyn does not engage in such . They respect the extra effort I make to improve my own lot by showing up at an even ungodlier hour. That's why I refer to them as the Greek gang. They too are greedy, but not as rampant as the Russian mob. Their garage feels more like a family, drivers included. Their dispatchers (a Trinidadian and a Bangladeshi) often dissuade us from tipping them (out of solidarity), as opposed to demanding it like black mail.

Between me and you, I've never leased a cab from this garage that had a spare tire, a jack, or a wrench. And if you ask the management about it, they'll send you to the mechanics. And the mechanics will tell you, "tough luck." The sign above is a crock.