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10/28/09 4:00am
10/28/2009 4:00 AM |

Man, leave the poor Moon alone. Don’t we have enough trouble occupying other countries, let alone other planetoids? Yes, we do. So let’s ease up, shall we?

DARREL
Where I hailed him: Grand Central
Where he hails from: Queens
Years as cabbie: 3
Previous profession: Student
Yeah, I read about that. Seems like a waste of money to me. What were they trying to do? [Find if there were traces of water on the Moon.] Yeah, waste of money. How much do you think it cost them to do that? I mean, you know, with all the problems we have down here, why waste money doing that, of all things? With the economy the way it is, really, who cares if there’s water on the Moon? Use that money for stuff, you know, on this planet.

JAMES
Where I hailed him: Midtown
Where he hails from: Ivory Coast
Years as cabbie: 5
Previous profession: Landscaping
I think it’s interesting. I’ve always liked space stuff. I want to find some aliens. Definitely I think there’s life on other planets. You know how big the universe is? There are so many galaxies that if even one out of every million could support life, there would be millions and millions of planets out there with life on them. No, I don’t think the Moon is one of them, but Mars definitely. Without a doubt.

MUSTAFA
Where I hailed him: Bushwick
Where he hails from: Morocco
Years as cabbie: 8
Previous profession: Soccer coach
I think it’s a great idea to find out if there’s water on the Moon. That way we can live there. Must be rich to live there though, I bet. I couldn’t afford it, but anyone who can should move there. [Why would it be better on the Moon?] Well, I didn’t say it would be better on the Moon, but the Earth might be better without the rich people. Anyway, if they don’t like it up there they can always come back.

JULIO
Where I hailed him: Williamsburg
Where he hails from: Ecuador
Years as cabbie: 10
Previous profession: Always a driver
I don’t believe in bombs, not even if it’s the Moon. If there is ice there, and water, then there is life, and if we don’t know what kind, we shouldn’t be bombing it. That should be obvious to everyone. I don’t know what’s wrong with people. Can’t they just put a flag?

10/14/09 4:00am
10/14/2009 4:00 AM |

SIDI
Where I hailed him: Greenpoint
Where he hails from: Morocco
Years as cabbie: 21
Previous profession: Martial artist
The 70s was when rock and roll was at its best. The music today is ok, I’m sure, but I’m busy, you know? I have kids. So I’m not sure what happens today, but whatever it is, it can’t be better than Led Zeppelin.

GABRIEL
Where I hailed him from: Tribeca
Where he hails from: Romania
Years as a cabbie: 5
Previous profession: Mechanical engineer
Oh, the 60s are obviously the best, and obviously the Beatles. You don’t get better than the Beatles, unless maybe it’s Led Zeppelin, there could be an argument there. My father taught me about rock and roll. The 60s were his favorite, so they’re mine too.

SAM
Where I hailed him: Union Square
Where he hails from: South Africa
Years as a cabbie: 22
Previous profession: Security guard
Haha. My friend would be better with this question. He loves the guy with the hair. (Robert Plant?) No, no, the other guy. (Tommy Lee?) No, everyone loves him. (Elvis?) Yes, Elvis Presley. I don’t listen to any rock music, I’m too old to listen to anything. You hear this? (What?) Exactly. Silence. Silence is what I listen to.

Trevor
Where I hailed him from: Midtown
Where he hails from: New Jersey
Years as a cabbie: 6
Previous Profession: Always a driver
Everyone’s favorite music is what was popular when they were in high school, because that’s the music they associate with getting laid. The big bands for me back then were AC/DC, Van Halen and Guns N’ Roses. Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd were also really big, but they’ve always been big. The 70s and 80s were really the best time for rock. After that I stopped paying much attention to new stuff. (Do you still listen to the bands you like?) Yeah, but not as much. You can’t listen to that stuff by yourself and not all customers like it. It’s too much rock for one cab.

09/30/09 4:00am
09/30/2009 4:00 AM |

Sadly, we have, like, 30-odd nemeses: the little guy at the deli who undercooked our eggs this morning, the guy down the block who’s always washing his car, the guy across the hall who won’t stop listening to Appetite for Destruction, the guy who publishes this magazine…

muhammad

Where I hailed him:
Soho
Where he hails from: Pakistan
Years as a cabbie: 7
Previous profession: Always a driver
My neighbor, definitely. I’m always having to yell out the window to have him turn his music off. He has stuff playing at two in the morning. I have little kids! I can’t deal with that, you know?


hugo

Where I hailed him: Port Authority
Where he hails from: Puerto Rico
Years as a cabbie: 3
Previous profession: Busboy
Like, if I was the hero, who would be the bad guy? I don’t know. I am a hero. Probably the biggest enemy I’ve had as a driver is people who try to run out without paying, or one man who yelled at me for everything. It’s not my fault there’s traffic, buddy. That guy is probably not my real enemy, but I think if I were to see him again I would recognize him, then drive off just as he was trying to enter.


sufe

Where I hailed him: West Village
Where he hails from: North Africa
Years as a cabbie: 2
Previous profession: Tailor
I get into fights sometimes, but I have no nemesis. I do what I gotta do, and I don’t hate nobody from the bottom of my heart. After a day or two, if I have a disagreement, I will forgive you, and then we both keep doing what we gotta do.


victor


Where I hailed him:
Hell’s Kitchen
Where he hails from: Queens
Years as a cabbie: 2
Previous profession: Delivery truck driver
I can’t think of one, but a buddy of mine, he has one. His wife left him. An ex-wife, now there’s a nemesis. In fact, when they started dating he got a tattoo of her name on his arm. Then she left him, and he got a big black line drawn through the name.


mian


Where I hailed her: East Village
Where she hails from: Pakistan
Years as a cabbie: 2
Previous profession: Teacher’s assistant
I’m a girl, so all my enemies are girls. Obviously, I’m not afraid of them. I have no male nemesis, but I have a girl one. Girls just can’t be happy for each other. Let’s just say this girl is my nemesis because she’s jealous. But I don’t focus on her. I focus on the people who love me.

09/16/09 4:00am
09/16/2009 4:00 AM |

We will never forget the first time we barreled down the FDR at about 11pm, white knuckled and exhilarated by all the weaving and honking and Mad Max-style mayhem. We wish we could have that feeling all over again..

ANDRE

Where I hailed him:Hell’s Kitchen

Where he hails from: Puerto Rico

Years as a cabbie: 3.5

Previous profession: Worked in a school

They go too fast, too slow – they don’t use their turn signals – that’s the worst. Or they don’t stay in their lane. One time I saw this guy drift into the middle of two lanes without realizing it. He stayed there for about a minute. Everyone was honking at him; but another problem is that everyone is always honking here, so you can never tell if it’s directed at you.

SAM

Where I hailed him:Herald Square

Where he hails from: Yonkers

Years as a cabbie: 7

Previous profession: Building maintenance

Everyone always asks me why I want to drive here for a living; most people don’t want to drive here ever. But the worst part of driving here isn’t the other New York City drivers. I have more problems with bikers going too far into the road or pedestrians walking in the street. Seriously, don’t do that. Another problem is the people who don’t drive here regularly. They get scared and slow everyone down. There’s definitely a rhythm to driving here that you only get after you do it enough. You learn when to change lanes, when to speed up, even when to bend the rules a little bit. If you made every driver in Manhattan a native New York driver, you wouldn’t have any traffic.

DASS

Where I hailed him:Chelsea

Where he hails from: Pakistan

Years as a cabbie: 1

Previous profession: Bank teller

New York drivers have no patience, none at all. I live in Jersey, but when I come here I turn into a different man. In New Jersey I like to drive nice, with my seatbelt on, take it easy. New York is a different story; road rage is a real problem, people are always angry with me. People are stressed out.

SUN

Where I hailed him:West Village

Where he hails from: Nepal

Years as a cabbie: 2 months

Previous profession: Production assistant

New York drivers are fine. I have nothing bad to say about them. The other cabbies are great. We’re all in the same boat, like a team sport. But when you get someone from out of state, like New Jersey? They have a totally different system. They’re slow, they get lost. Out-of-state drivers are the worst. New Yorkers are fine, even on the phone, they know what they’re doing.

09/02/09 4:00am
09/02/2009 4:00 AM |

Our favorite teacher was a guy called Mr. Stewart. He was a history teacher and he had a funny, mean sense of humor. And he played guitar. And he drank a lot. Looking back on it, we’re pretty sure he was severely depressed. We hope he’s ok, wherever he is

ZAKARIAH

Where I hailed him:West Village

Where he hails from: West Africa

Years as a cabbie: 8

Previous profession: Always a cabbie

Mr. Baswire was the best teacher I ever had. He taught English. He taught us the basics of language, which are hugely important, obviously. And how books could make a difference in your life. We read James Baldwin, something called The Fire Next Time. Even the kids who thought they were too cool for studying read that. It changed our lives.

BERNARD

Where I hailed him:Grand Central

Where he hails from: The Brox

Years as a cabbie: 8 months

Previous profession: Always a driver

School teachers? I can’t think of any. I went to a really shitty school. I don’t want to tell you which one, but it was bad. There were like 30 kids in each class, so the teachers didn’t have time for anyone. I got shitty grades, so I was paid even less attention. I can’t even remember the names of a lot of my teachers. I did have a guidance counselor who was all right. I saw him when my parents got divorced, and we would just hang out and talk. I remember we talked a lot about music, which was cool, but I don’t know if I’d say he taught me anything.

EUGENE

Where I hailed him:Port Authority

Where he hails from: Miani

Years as a cabbie: 5

Previous profession: Bank teller

Probably my dad, I guess. But every man can say that. [What did he teach you?] I don’t know. Everything. How to be a man.

MAKRAM

Where I hailed him:Hell’s Kitchen

Where he hails from: Syria

Years as a cabbie: 2

Previous profession: Pharmacist

Well, I didn’t really like school growing up, so I didn’t like any of my teachers at the time. But I had a science teacher who caught me not paying attention in class one day. He took me aside and said, “Not only are you disrespecting me, you’re hurting yourself by not working hard.” Then he started talking about how important it was to learn about science because it explained the way the world worked. He said, “No matter what you look at, science can explain why it is that way. How buildings are made, how flowers grow.” I didn’t think much of it at the time, but now I think he said a very wise thing.

08/05/09 4:00am
08/05/2009 4:00 AM |

We know the best place in New York to get coffee, but if we told you, it would get really crowded and then we would be sad. Very sad. Also, angry at you.

BRIAN
Where I hailed him: Union Square
Where he hails from: Queens
Years as a cabbie: 3
Previous profession: No previous profession
I don’t know about “best,” but I like to get it from the guys who sell it out of carts along with bagels and sandwiches. It’s not bad coffee, and it’s cheap. The only thing is you have to remember to ask how fresh the coffee is. If it’s not fresh, forget it. You can’t drink it it’s so bad. If I’m not getting it to take with me, I’d go anywhere that gives you free refills. No Starbucks. Diners are just as good as Starbucks and they’re a tenth of the price and they give you refills. I’d go to those even if I don’t have the time to have more than one cup.

AHMAD
Where I hailed him: East Village
Where he hails from: Pakistan
Years as a cabbie: 15
Previous profession: Always a driver
Coffee Shop on 16th Street has great coffee. Better than Starbucks. And the service is good. The restaurant is busy all the time but you can take coffee to go. I used to go there when I first came to New York and I still go there now. Also, the girls they have working there are always very pretty.

PLAISIR
Where I hailed him: West Village
Where he hails from: Haiti
Years as a cabbie: 23
Previous profession: Dry cleaner
I like coffee. I drink it every morning. It’s the smell, it gets you out of bed somehow. When I was a child, my mother would give me coffee in a bowl, and I would dip bread in it. I now get my coffee from that place… what is the name… oh, I can’t think of the name… it’s very popular. [Starbucks?] Yes, that’s it! Starbucks. It’s strong, like the coffee my mother made. I take it black, though I hear that’s bad for your stomach.

ANDREJ
Where I hailed him:
Midtown East
Where he hails from: Russia
Years as a cabbie: 2
Previous profession: Student
I drink coffee from this little cart in the East Village, in Astor Place. It’s called Mud. I don’t know why they called it that, the coffee does not taste like mud, I assure you. But I think I might have to stop drinking coffee because it makes me too nervous. I think I will switch to tea. You ever get anxiety? [All the time.] You drink coffee? [Constantly.] There, you see? We should both drink tea instead. But if you want good coffee, I would go to Mud in Astor Place.

07/22/09 4:00am
07/22/2009 4:00 AM |

The book that means the most to us is probably The Heart Is a
Lonely Hunter, by Carson McCullers. It makes us sad and happy. ALL AT
THE SAME TIME. Which is like life.

GARY

Where I hailed him:Hell’s Kitchen

Where he hails from: New Jersey

Years as a cabbie: 10

Previous profession: Realtor

I don’t get much time to read anymore, but sometimes I’ll check out
stuff from the library to have with me during my shift. I like David
Baldacci, but I wouldn’t say he especially means much to me. He’s just
entertaining and easy to read a few pages of whenever I have a few
minutes. Probably, if I had to pick something it would be a children’s
book. I used to read to my kids, and when I did, it was the first time
I had read those books since I was young. Stuff like Charlotte’s
Web, Treasure Island
… they all hold up really well.

TABARI

Where I hailed him:Grand Central

Where he hails from: Iran

Years as a cabbie: 4

Previous profession: Repairman

I don’t read many books, so if you’re asking about novels, I’m not a
good person for your survey. Sorry. I do read, but I can’t remember
what the last book I read was, even. What do I read? The newspaper.
Everyone should read the newspaper. I always get the Daily News
and sometimes riders will give me the Times or the Wall
Street Journal
, but I don’t read those as much. It’s very important
to keep informed about what is going on in the world, especially today.
More important than anything you can read in a book.

MOZE

Where I hailed him:West Village

Where he hails from: Haiti

Years as a cabbie: 22

Previous profession: Student

Most of the time I read the Bible. It changes your life constantly.
It changes your life, your morals, your whole system. I listen to it in
my cab as well. Have you ever heard of Sodom and Gomorrah? [Oh,
sure.]
You have to be careful not to live like that. Because you
never know when death will come. Look what happened to Michael
Jackson.

BADNEAL

Where I hailed him:East Village

Where he hails from: Senegal

Years as a cabbie: 7

Previous profession: Consultant

I don’t read a lot. I work so much I don’t want to dedicate my lazy
time to reading. But I read a book by a guy called Machiavelli once,
called The Prince. See, in America, in this culture, money is
the centerpiece of everything. It makes me worry a lot. Machiavelli’s
book helped me understand that selfish way of life, where power is the
most important, and money is the most important.

07/08/09 4:00am
07/08/2009 4:00 AM |

It seems like the High Line has been in its planning stages for
decades, but a section of the elevated Westside walkway finally opened
last month and, predictably, New Yorkers have taken to the novelty in a
huge way. But will its popularity last?

Ted

Where I hailed him: Grand Central

Where he hails from: Toledo

Years as a cabbie: 6

Previous profession: Construction worker

It’s nice enough, but I think people are making too big a deal out
of it. Since there are so few places like that in the city, even ones
that aren’t that great become a huge deal. I live in the Bronx, near
Fordham, and in our neighborhood there’s a small park. There’s nothing
in it, hardly even trees, but we all talk like we’re proud of it. It’s
the same with apartments. A small or old one somewhere else becomes a
great apartment here, because in some things we’ll take whatever we can
get.

Nabih

Where I hailed him: Penn Station

Where he hails from: Lebanon

Years as a cabbie: 3

Previous profession: Student

I drove some people there about a week ago. It was very crowded.
Yeah, probably a lot of that was because it just opened. I think that
once people get used to it, it won’t be as crowded. It’s not a very
good place for a park. It’s not as easy to get to as other places, and
once the novelty wears off fewer people are going to go. Maybe I’ll go
then. It’d be a good place to take my family.

ASH

Where I hailed him: Upper West Side

Where he hails from: Bangladesh

Years as a cabbie: 2

Previous profession: Student

I’m excited about the High Line! I haven’t been there myself yet,
but I’ve seen lots of people there. I would jog there, I just need to
find a partner because it’s so boring by yourself and hard to stay
motivated. Maybe I could find a partner there, though. New York needs
all the parks it can get. The fresh air is good for you. Would you want
to be my jogging partner? (I don’t work out.) You’re thin,
though. (I’m a heavy smoker.) Oh, can I have a cigarette
then?

RANGAR

Where I hailed him: Meatpacking District

Where he hails from: India

Years as a cabbie: 10

Previous profession: Bank teller

I don’t know about the High Line. I might go. I am working all the
time, but I do like to jog. Plus, I like the idea of an elevated park.
It’s beautiful, like being in a garden. However, I do not like this
neighborhood, because there are too many hookers. I don’t mind taking
them in my cab as long as they pay, but I wouldn’t like to see them in
a park on my time off.

06/24/09 4:00am
06/24/2009 4:00 AM |

We miss fried beaver tails and skating on rivers and free
healthcare and strong beer and really, really big snowforts. We, in
case you haven’t guessed, are from Canada. (To read more homesick
cabbies, head to thelmagazine.com.)

MUHAMMAD

Where I hailed him:Grand Central

Where he hails from: Pakistan

Years as a cabbie: 10

Previous profession: Truck driver
I lived in Pakistan, in a small town in the Punjab. My father moved
here about 20 years ago, and the rest of us came a few years later. In
a perfect world we wouldn’t have left Pakistan; we only came because my
father had trouble finding a job there. My parents just thought of
America as a place to make money. I don’t miss my childhood. I was too
young to remember much of anything before my father left. Then when we
came here, that was hard, too. Hard to leave what you know.

DANY

Where I hailed him:Penn Station

Where he hails from: Haiti

Years as a cabbie: 3

Previous profession: No previous profession

The food. They say you can find anything in New York, and you can,
but it’s not the same. It always tastes just slightly off from what
you’d get back home. Yes, there are Haitian restaurants here, but
they’re hard to find. I can only think of one Haitian place here, and I
don’t even remember the name of it. I only found it by chance, after
dropping someone off nearby. I wasn’t even hungry when I saw it, but I
ate something anyway. Wasn’t bad food, just different. I also miss the
beer. Everyone at home drinks a brand called Prestige, which tastes
almost like Miller Light, only not as much like piss.

KALEED

Where I hailed him: East Village

Where he hails from: Queens

Years as a cabbie: 3

Previous profession: Limo driver

I’m addicted to my neighborhood. That’s Jamaica, Queens. It’s cool
but it’s rough. I love New York, and whenever I go anywhere else, I
miss it. I’m just happy to be here. As soon as you leave the house,
there are things happening, and it’s a rush. Whenever I go somewhere
else I miss that rush.

SEYO

Where he hails from: Pakistan

Where I hailed him: Gramercy

Years as a cabbie: 20

Previous profession: Business owner

I only miss my friends and my parents, nothing else. I can get
everything else here: the food, the paper, the people, the language.
You can order everything off the internet now. But not your parents.
You only get one set of parents. My parents are still together because
there is no divorce in Pakistan. I call my mom every day.

06/10/09 4:00am
06/10/2009 4:00 AM |

We haven’t left our apartment in over three years and have yet to
experience a problem with street crime. We’re fairly certain this is a
sound strategy readily available to all New Yorkers.

ISMAIL

Where I hailed him: LES

Where he hails from: Pakistan

Years as a cabbie: 18

Previous profession: Always a driver

This one time, I saw three boys standing in the rain in Times Square
at two o’clock in the morning. I saw two cabs pass by them, and I knew
they weren’t going to get picked up. But I felt so bad because they
were my son’s age, and I could just see my son standing there. I picked
them up. Sure enough, they take me to one stop in Washington Heights,
and one boy gets out. Then another boy gets out at the second stop,
then the third boy goes to his stop and he says, “Oh no, I don’t have
any money but the second one went to get the money.” We wait for five
minutes. Then he’s like, “Oh, I’ll go find him.” I said, “Listen, I
know by now you don’t have any money, but you remind me of my son, so
that’s why I picked you up, I felt sorry for you. So you can do what
you like, but just know that.” And he said, “Uncle, I only have seven
dollars.” And he gave me the seven dollars. And I told him not to do
that again. He said he wouldn’t do it anymore, but who knows. Teenagers
are teenagers.

CALVIN

Where I hailed him: Grand Central

Where he hails from: Brooklyn

Years as a cabbie: 12

Previous profession: Worked in a drug store

Well, don’t be an idiot. Don’t do anything stupid. This is a safe
city now, and it’s easy to stay out of trouble. It wasn’t always that
way; I got mugged twice as a kid. Punks. I probably didn’t even have $1
on me. One time I even had to go to the police station to look at
pictures to try and point out who did it.

KHAM

Where I hailed him: Nolita

Where he hails from: Hong Kong

Years as a cabbie: 6

Previous profession: Restaurant owner

You know what to fight crime with? The sixth sense. Look at people,
the way they talk and carry themselves. Like if a guy you’ve never seen
before wants you to let him into your apartment building? Don’t do it.
Giuliani really cleaned up the city, and for that I am thankful, but
things could get bad again, with so many people having lost their
jobs.

JARABE

Where I hailed him: Port Authority

Where he hails from: Nigeria

Years as a cabbie: 8

Previous profession: No previous profession

I’ve never had a problem with anything like that. Look at me, I’m
pretty tough. No one wants to mess with me. I think if someone were
looking to rob a cab, they’d wait for a weaker driver, to be honest. So
I don’t worry.