AdviceNew York

Cab Advice: Don’t Trust the Honkers

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These are the only honkers I trust.

The single thing I hate the most about New York is cab drivers who honk and slow down to pull over when they see me walking alone at night, like it wasn’t my choice to walk. If there is one thing anyone can learn about the real New York from watching TV and movies, it’s how to hail a taxi. You stand on the sidewalk, stick up your arm, and one of them will stop. You don’t need a bat signal or anything. The cab drivers who honk are like the the shopkeepers in the garment district who get out their scissors as soon as I ask for a price on something. If I want to buy the ride (or the fabric), I would let proprietor know. I’ve always made a mental note not to accept rides from cabbies who honk, because they lack a certain politeness I require from dudes who I ride in cars with. But, I went against my better judgement last week.

Monday night, I got out of work at 3am. When I hit the sidewalk from my office, with visions of pajamas in my head. There was a girl walking a few paces ahead of me. A yellow cab honked at her and pulled over, but she refused. He seemed to be the only cab coming for a minute or two. In a moment of weakness, I decided to be sloppy seconds and I hailed this guy down. I was immediately put off by the music he was blaring over a staticy iPhone like he was driving the basement of Shoemania. Then he took the stupid route between my office and my place. The smart way involves going through Soho on Broadway, eventually ending up on Delancy toward the Williamsburg Bridge. He instead drove toward Alphabet City, and got on the FDR for thirty seconds, only to exit and follow the loopy path down Grand Street toward the bridge.

I can forgive the crackling music and the poor choice of route, but then he failed to notice the sign that the exit was closed. He slammed on the brakes so we didn’t hit the bright orange barrier. Then he put the cab into reverse along the shoulder, and pulled back out onto the highway. Once we were in the Lower East Side, he took a side street that had the asphalt torn up, and it ended with another construction barrier. At this point, I looked up to check out his taxi license, thinking I’d call to complain if he turned down another dead end. But he had no photo or paper in the window behind his head. This completely set off my sketch-dar, and I grabbed my keys and clutched my purse in case he pulled a knife or something and I needed to tuck and roll. In the end, he got me to my apartment. There was no pun-ridden headline about me in the New York Post, and I calmed down after a eating a snack and putting on pajamas. And the experience solidified my biggest piece of advice about living in New York: follow your gut. Unless I’m bleeding and on my way to an ER, I will step into no cab that honks.

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Kiley E - Ragamuffin Researcher

Kiley E - Ragamuffin Researcher

After years of denial, Kiley has finally admitted to baring a striking resemblance to Velma from Scooby Doo. Instead of traveling in a van hunting ghosts, she prefers wandering on foot in search of tacos, cheap beer, and fake birds. Growing up in Portland, Kiley enjoyed the balance of urban and green spaces. Then she spent her four years at Ithaca College, and found herself craving more sprawling asphalt in her life. So she moved to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where most of the buildings look like they're about to collapse. Kiley's favorite activities include: getting lost, crafting, sewing, biking, and geeking out at museums. Her love of taxidermy probably makes her a terrible vegetarian, but she doesn't care.