10/25 2011, sitting behind a desk at the Master Cabbie Taxi Academy in Long Island City, Queens. Looking out the office window, I see the green glass of the Citi Corp Tower across the street from the Queens Sumpreme Court.
The street is closed off for a movie or TV shoot. Lots of onlookers are strolling by,watching the NYC Hollywood crowd. Most of whom are doing their best, looking very busy and intent..In charecter, for their part in making images to be seen by the onlookers at a later date. They Demonstrate a sense of pride in their work, probably deriving a sense of pride in the glamour associated with the end product. The final shape of which will have little to do with decisions made by them.
Trailers and trucks line the street, all in support of a handful of people inside the Court Square Diner, beneath the Court Square Subway station at 23rd Street at JAckson Ave. where the filming is taking place.
No orders to go today until the film crew is gone. But, the image of the diner on TV will bring in wandering tourists at a later date I suppose.
But today, the real action... is at the Taxi Academy.... This is where hard working folks are all studying to pass the New York City Taxi Drivers Exam. Geography, Rules and regulations, customer servie, defensive driving, and practie exams. All these are appetizers for Friday each week when the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commision inspectors come to adminsister the TAXI EXAM for forty or fifty applicants, most of whom are up late the night before, studying, hoping, for the possibilty of success. Once these future cabbies have passed the test they will be out and about on a daily basis and earn a few hundred dollars per day, ferrying people from point A to Point B...and beyond.
It's been many years since I have drivin a taxicab in this town, but the memories are still thick in my mind. So, I recognize, and understand the anticipation of the soon to be cabbies as well as the yearning that will be theirs as they evolve into the life of wandering. Where few reach longevity, but virtually all who pass through tell their taxi stories for the rest of their lives..
Whats the draw? To make a living, and NYC is an exciting place. The human electricty, the "juice", the current of excitment that surges through all who pass through this town, whether they want it or not. Affecting them in so many different ways as we march toward our individual destinies. Time spent here is not wasted.