Monday, May 22, 2006
Last night was ok. The day started off slow mainly due to all the street fairs and random parades and marches, like the one pictured above, which was proceeding up the east side of 6th Ave. Not sure what it was for, but I'm already fed up with street fair/parade season. The only reason to work on a Sunday is to have a little break from the weekday traffic hell but, come spring and summer, Saturdays and Sundays become a test of one's patience and endurance -- at least until 6:00 or 7:00 pm, when they finally clean up and give the streets back to the cars.
Business picked up after dinner time, and it was actually pretty decent for a Sunday night. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get the picture of the cop car/taxi collision that I drove past on 14th Street around midnight. Nor was I able to get a shot of the new parking spot for the police cruiser that sits on the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge, but this new placement came as a pleasant surprise. For the first time in many months, there was no late night traffic getting on the bridge. I guess the police department finally realized there was a better place to put their cars, one that doesn't terrorize every driver who needs to get over that bridge at night.
One funny thing I should mention is the little taxi-driver phone network that goes into operation during each shift. Last night it was in full effect. Around 11:30, Elliott called and said, "I'm at LaGuardia. It's stripped," meaning there were no cabs there. "You should get over here if you can make it. There's a huge line of people at American waiting for cabs." I was near the 59th Street Bridge at the time, but there was traffic due to construction, so I decided to skip it and stay in the city. I didn't want to risk going out there empty and arriving too late for all the action, which has happened too many times before.
Two minutes later, Diego called and said, "I just talked to Elliott. He said LaGuardia's stripped. I might head over there." I told him I wasn't going out there and we hung up. Five more minutes passed and the phone rang again, this time with Allen on the other end. "Yeah, hi. Elliott's at LaGuardia. He says it's stripped. I don't know if I'm gonna go over, but I thought I'd let you know."
There's actually a hotline we can call to get updates on the capacity of the taxi hold lots at both airports. It's supposed to be updated hourly, but LaGuardia is notorious for rarely changing their outgoing messages, especially at night. For example, I was in Astoria around 9:00 and called up to see what was doing over there. The most recent update was from 5:00 pm, a mere four hours earlier. Later, when they finally did update the message, the announcer never said what time it was, making it impossible to know how relevant the information was.
Occasionally, the message will include a number that you can call to complain about the "service." Apparently no one ever actually uses it because Diego tried once and the guy on the other end cursed him out.
Diego did end up going out to LaGuardia three times last night and got three good jobs out of it, catching the last of the wind-delayed flights. I guess I should've gone.
For updates of LaGuardia's taxi lots, call 866-296-2238.