There are some things about New York that I will never get, no matter how hard I try. I won’t be able to understand why police cars regularly block one lane of the Brooklyn Bridge, turning the main route into Manhattan into a car
parklot. I struggle to comprehend why there’s a frozen yoghurt store every seventy three yards, and why some New Yorkers seem as obsessed by ice cream when the temperature’s well below freezing as they do when it’s hot and blistering. And if there’s some explanation as to why every New York sports team is about as useful as a one-legged man in an arseass kicking party, then I’d love to hear it.
But if there’s one thing above all others that I just don’t understand, it’s why all New York cabs go off duty between 4pm and 5pm.
Don’t get me wrong, I realise that cabs need to get back to the garage so that they can switch drivers and end shifts. But for the love of all that is good and righteous, why does every last cab have to do it at the same time?
Standing on the corner of 9th Avenue and 23rd St today in order to get a taxi to JFK, I waited for about 45 minutes for a cab that didn’t have its ‘off duty’ sign lit proudly on its roof. An occasional taxi returning home or to base would ask if I was going in his direction, but otherwise the streets didn’t have a single cab available to take passengers. And all at 4.30pm on a Friday night, a time when it could be argued there’s more than a few people around with a desire to get somewhere fast.
Did I mention it was snowing?
If Mayor Bloomberg has any pretensions of being President, and wants to show that he’s a common sense man-of-the-people, here’s one idea to get every New Yorker on side: stagger the times at which cabs go off-duty. It’s not a Nobel Prize winning-idea – it’s just common sense. Then there’s plenty enough cabs to go round for everybody, and I won’t be stuck on street corners wondering if I’m ever going to get to Old Trafford by 3pm on Saturday.
Who said that Brits don’t know how to tip?