Who tagged me, why the blogaholic new york taxi driver @ Cabsareforkissing.
G.S. was the first taxiblogger to comment on my blog and link to my blog about a year and a half ago, when I first started this blog. When looking for some inspiration, or an interesting story, his blog is the first one I go to. I'd go there if I were you.
The rules are you post six interesting things about yourself, and if you get stuck, just bend the rules and write anything. Uhh yeah, sorry I got stuck. Then mention six other bloggers you hope might send this forward.
- I’m a vegetarian; actually I’m a vegan. I was raised an herbivore on top of my allergies to milk and various nuts and seeds. The allergies make me different from the typical vegans and vegetarians, since I never chose this lifestyle as a rebellion from my parents or society as a whole. Rather, I grew up feeling ostracized and struggling always to find something to eat, all the while saving up allowances while all my peers spent their change on candy. Yeah I guess I could’ve eaten a lot of candy, but my parents were afraid I wouldn’t know the difference between the food with milk and the foods without, so I grew up with good teeth, all the while hearing things like, “Wow, you’ve never eatin’ ICE CREAM, my god how do you live.” To which I would reply, “I’ve never eatin’ it, so how would I know if I like it?” It has only been recently that health food has gained popularity, and so it has been much easier to find food now, at a popular, expensive, price. Okay, okay one more thing I need to whine about, I hate health food restaurants, they think everything should be doused with either tahini, (which is a high concentration of sesame seeds whipped to a spread) or cooked in sesame oil. The other restaurants that lack skills tend to make everything with butter, which is an allergy I am becoming more immune to over time. I am most comfortable eating at a vegan friendly Mexican restaurant.
- I got a BFA in photography. So why am I a cabbie? Well getting a job in photography isn’t easy, it’s all about telling people how good you are, and about getting lots of people to talk about you to one another and then bouncing from one job to another. Personally I have a conscious problem with talking about my skill, my work. To explain one’s work briefly with small words is one thing, but to try to drop as many big words, and big names as possible isn’t my style. I prefer cab driving, because unlike so many other chosen fields, there are no self-righteous interviews, no recommendations, no experience. All it is; is myself, a taxicab, and a shit load of temporary responsibility. As a cabbie I am only judged for my efficiency and no bullshit in between.
- I was born and raised in New York City, but people have a problem believing that. The taxicab though creates and builds upon some mythical urban edge that I almost have or improvise, as people’s questions get dumb. My answers get sharper only to save time as we fight traffic. Sometimes I wonder, have I actually gained a spark of wit from driving this boat? Or are these the most witless sheep to march in? Nonetheless for those who can see through the taxi, I appear completely and utterly un-New York, with no engrained repression, no accent (unless I put one on), and no impatience (well not until you don’t know where you are going). Oh by the way, I love getting directions, by receiving directions, I know you have your head on straight, and I might learn a faster route.
- Much related to having grown up in New York City, I must say a little something about the neighborhoods I have lived in while in the city. The city is way to big to bring generalizations about the whole place. Growing up in various neighborhoods can yield completely different educations, careers, passions, attitudes, wealth, and etcetera. I grew up in the East Village in Manhattan. I was shocked not long ago when a classmate of mine in Boston told me that I must be rich to have been raised in New York, I mean shit, ya might as well call me a Jew or assume that the whole city is made of lawyers, doctors, and agents (I am a Jew BTW, so I was commenting on her anti-semitism, not my own). In case anybody is wondering, a city cannot succeed with only one class of people; it thrives with both a ooober high class, and a dooooober low class as well. As a family we have always existed somewhere in the middle to lower-middle class. Anyway, I have no idea what wealth really means unless you are filthy stinking rich, it is all relative. The typical rents now fetch 2000 for a one bedroom, but most attention is paid to the part of town everyone knows. I have managed to find a rent that would even seem cheap in middle America, and back in the 80’s when this city was rising from the status of cesspool, people could live in SoHo and pay 60 per month. So somebody tell Tia that I am not rich. What, do you think I drive a taxi for pure joy? Well, actually it is kinda fun. Phew that was a tangent, the point is that many people do not understand the many different lives that can be experienced in such a city. Most children aren’t raised in midtown, and all residential neighborhoods have a miraculous way of isolating the children from such a complex size of the city, it is really impossible to comprehend for a child until they hit Junior High.
- All right I”ll make fact number five simple, after the East Village, we moved to Stuyvesant Town. Stuy-Town was the model for Housing Projects. In an age where everything was a huge project, the city looked at Stuyvesant Town’s green space and mass housing accommodations as a solution to housing the lower class. This was at first a great plan, however over time the most important element of housing projects was overlooked, THE BUDGET. While Stuyvesant Town always kept the neighborhood in good conditions, the subsidized housing projects were neglected, and deteriorated quickly. Actually Stuyvesant Town was completely different from the housing projects even though they look the same. Stuyvesant Town was built after World War Two and put a priority on housing the veterans of the war. To build the neighborhood they demolished an entire shantytown of Blacks and Irish, oh but it gets worse, Stuyvesant Town had a history of refusing minorities as tenants. Previously owned by the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, Stuy-Town would establish playground rules where park supervisors would watch children and tell them not to slide head first on the slides, or not to play hardball in parks too small for hardball. Instead of tennis, a game with a half deflated ball was only allowed on the tennis courts, in addition, all games with a ball were to only be played in playgrounds designated for such use. There was and still is no bicycle riding allowed. Fortunately times have changed, Stuyvesant Town was sold for more than a billion dollars to a different management company and is now being completely re-gardened and plowed constantly, There are video cameras and key cards being used now for doors to investigate tenants who may not live there full time. Each apartment is moving up to market rate, which is probably 2000 per bedroom per month, and so it is beneficial to kick out every tenant possible to make way for younger and richer people.
- And now to where I live now; Staten Island. When talking about New York City, New Yorkers will raise there voice and straighten their posture while naming all that is good with their entire existence, but New York’s biggest secret is Staten Island, the 5th borough of NYC’s 5 boroughs, it is about the same size as Brooklyn, and it connects to Brooklyn with the our country’s largest span suspension bridge. What this Borough has going good ends pretty much there. If you’ve seen the suburban houses all in pleasant rows from the city line all the way to the end of Long Island, and throughout the entire state of New Jersey, then You might as well skip Staten Island. In fact Staten should be a part of New Jersey in my opinion. They wanted the Statue of Liberty, and they got Ellis Island. Nobody came to America to live in Jersey, and likewise, nobody came to America to live in Staten. The said, I love it on the island. I get to ride my bicycle through the hills to the beach, and a lot of the houses are beautiful Victorian style in some disrepair. Most commonly Staten Island is known for it’s Italian population and most of the residents I assume are in blue collar or pension plan work. Still there are many others who live only Island because it is the last affordable haven. There are still hints of old New York in the Staten Island accent, which is a cross between Long Island, northern New Jersey, and a little Brooklyn for flavor. And the prices, did I mention the prices. Now if only we had some decent transportation, and a decent place to get some good food.
The Six Bloggers tagged are:
Paradise Driver - The Taxi Driver in Hawaii, with a good sense of humor, and word has it, he's going to be an english teacher in Korea, the good Korea, I'm not good at geography, nor do I care to look it up, I know, America today humph, lazy bastards like me who don't look things up. BTW Good luck on your new endeavor.
Taxi Talk - His Canadian town is riddled with drugs, prostitutes, and ya know, danger, darkness, et-cetera, et-cetera, Really?? well shoot, I'm canceling my trip to Canada. Rated the best taxi driver in Edmonton Canada. He keeps the language raw so make sure your innocence can click the I accept profanity button. Are you still driving the cab?
trog - The college people are invading New York City Damn it! but I want to hear about their lives. This blog is written by a friend who graduated the art school up in Boston, who is now down in NYC with a whole bunch of my alumni friends from up north.
Keep Up - Abby gave me the tour of the school in Boston, which I cleverly fail to mention 'cause it sucked balls, but Abby was alright.
GodsHomeMovies - Yet another alumni who makes the school look brilliant, writes of real inspirations and interest and is one of the few to question What the fuck they're doing from time to time, and pull out always with great composition, gorgeous color, well thought out concept, and just all around good photographs, now if only they drove a taxi.
JezBlog - Jez Coulson, I doubt will stoop to the low level of writing such a post on his professional photoblog. I had the pleasure of having Jez ride around in my cab and shoot as much as he could. His shots from that day are here, and here,
and if you want to find all the taxi shots in his blog, they are here: Taxi Archive