New York is a city of immigrants, whether you’re an Upper East Side Mayflower blueblood or a Punjabi cab driver. And while it’s true you can find nearly anything you want in New York, from all over the world, there are certain things you can’t duplicate. For the International Issue, we asked the cabbies what they miss the most.
Muhammed Where I hailed him: Murray Hill Where he hails from: Pakistan Years as a cabbie: 16 Previous profession: Bookkeeper My family is living with me, and I don’t have my parents alive there anymore, so actually there are not so many things that I miss. Sometimes, you could say, I miss the food. There are things in my country that I never have in New York. Childhood friends I miss sometimes. One of the most interesting things that I miss is the Kite Festival. It’s a very big festival every year in Lahore. Many people come and fly kites. It is very interesting, very colorful.
Zbiegniew Where I hailed him: Chelsea Where he hails from: Poland Years as a cabbie: 6 Also a businessman, writer, musician Well, my friend — I’ll be 27 years old soon. And I go to Poland for my vacations. Financially, I’m tied up here, so it’s about the only choice I have if I want to see family and friends. I do miss them, but Poland certainly isn’t the most beautiful country in Europe. It would be nice to travel more widely for a change. When I’m here, I miss Poland, but when I’m there, I can’t quit thinking about New York. I like the mentality of this city much better than the European mentality: If you’re going to achieve — and not just stay in your apartment all day, you need force, no? Me? I don’t just drive the cab — it’s not a very good job. I also have written a book. I have produced an album. And this year I’m launching an internet business. So, I suppose I don’t have too much time to spend missing Poland, actually Mohammed Where I hailed him: Union Square Where he hails from: Egypt Years as a cabbie: 12 Previous profession: Still a student My wife and baby, obviously. They’re back in Egypt, but it’s ok because I only come here to drive for two months out of the year. This is something I’ve been doing for quite awhile — I’d say for six years now. It’s nice — when I come over to drive I can work for anyone immediately, make good money and then fly back to Egypt. I’m studying to be an accountant actually. This year when I’m done with university, I’ll finally take a well-paying job. Then I can stay home and not have to miss my wife and child again. I’m looking forward to it, as you can probably imagine.
Mirza Where I hailed him: LES Where he hails from: Pakistan Years as a cabbie: 10 Previous profession: Student I miss family members. My wife and my kids are here, but I still have like a brother and a sister. It’s been ten years since I’ve gone back to see them. My status is still pending, so I can’t leave right now. I don’t know how long it’s going to take. I could be dead by that time. My wife and kids just went back yesterday to visit. My status is still pending, but my children have never been to see their grandparents, so I didn’t want to hold them back. I feel like I am in a prison, even though I am not in prison.
Allejandro Where I hailed him: Meatpacking District Where he hails from: Peru Years as a cabbie: 31 Previous Profession: Always a driver I suppose I don’t miss much of anything after 30 years. It’s sad, but true. Well, alright. I miss the food. There’s a good Peruvian restaurant here in New York, on 57th and Ninth, but it’s very expensive. And, oh yes: the weather and the beaches. That I miss too.