Wednesday, December 29, 2010

NYCTAXI-VIDEO: From the blizzard

Well sorry I fell out of the routine of regularly posting, as usual. And thanks Star for the reminder, BTW Star has a blog over in Milan, Italy, and you might want to go over there. I can't wait to check out more italian taxicabs, I love seeing what cars are across the Atlantic that they haven't been kind enough to give us. Anyway Star, you've been cool enough to always leave comments, and even a post sending readers my way, so I should dutifully send some over yours as well.

Where were we now? oh yes, the storm, major snow. Major, major snow. I drove the day of the storm, but at just about the time it was getting near unmanageable the cab was due back. No worries, it was all cabs in, and even the cars got 24 hours of vacation, ahhh, they never take off unless it really comes down. That it did, as I called in the next day, I said it wouldn't be such a good idea, and the dispatcher agreed. So I walked about town watching all the cars get trapped. Then we all figured the roads would get cleared soon enough, so I came in on Tuesday. The owner and dispatcher gave us cars with a warning, "do not leave 'The City' or else you'll be stuck for a month." He said the highways to the airports would be fine, but not to do any out of town trips either. well I pretty much wound up err, doing more. But everything seemed a bit more chaotic than we knew it would be, and yet, still sort of manageable. He also said no side streets, stay on the main roads. Wow, was he ever right about that!! all the side roads were plowed in for 2 days, or 3, or 4.

But even in Manhattan you needed to be really careful, not much gas, and light presses on the brakes in cars with really good brakes only. I did get stuck once, at a hotel in Times Square. It took me 2 hours just to get my passengers there from JFK, but fortunately while they were angry about it, they were congratulating me every step of the way, in pretty much the worst traffic jam on 9th Avenue that I had ever seen!! it took 30 minutes to travel 4 blocks. So it took about 6 guys to push me back on to the pavement from the soupy piles of snow I pulled into to unload and load bags at the hotel. hey so it was an adventure, and due to A-the bad camera work, hey I'm driving too! and B-a really piss poor cellphone for a camera, we have some footage of some of my exploits, but alas, could be better.

So here are the videos from this week, with wheels and without. If you have any problems playing the videos, please hit the pause button and then scroll down to watch the next one. Hitting pause should give the video some time to load. I realize that a post full of videos might be problematic, besides, some videos might be better than others.

It probably makes a difference to tell you that this video shot just as I returned the car the day of the storm, was only at 5:30 in the evening, 6 and a half hours into the snowfall.

Day Off: And these were from the day after the storm, which might have been worse than during, because it may have convince just a few to feel it was safe to start driving. I'd say that half if not more than half of the drivers wound up stranded.

Day On: Back on the road, the city came to life only very slowly, and really it won't be fully functioning probably until next week.


Star said...

I particularly enjoyed the driving videos. I gave up driving over here in Italy because they're crazy. They never stay within the lines, and honk the fraction of a milisecond after the light has turned green, what's worse, on the highways and freeways, they never EVER observe the safety distance. And this is in northern Italy. They roll their eyes at me, and say, "If you think this is bad, just drive in Naples!"
Thanks so much for the heads-up about my blog about Milan (recent post, with taxis and trams and a whirlwind tour of part of the area around the Duomo:
Your post of today inspired me to try to do a cell phone video, myself. Maybe I'll get brave....

Real cab driver said...

I always loved driving in blizzards.

The one I recall best was when I was attempting to get a second degree in Forestry. I woke about 9:30am, looked out the window, and said, "Jesus Christ!"

I had a class at 1:00 pm., and I figured the only way I'd get there was if I took a cab out and drove myself. It took about 45 minutes to wade through 8 blocks of snow to the office. They said sure, take out any cab you want. And before I was even out of the lot, I was loaded with a 3 way 5 passenger split.

My people were going shallow west, ending just past the University, so it was perfect. Before I even crossed Park street (I was passing the fine art museum) they announced over the radio that for the first time in history, The University of Wisconsin was closed because of a blizzard.

It was my idea of a fun day to drive a cab. And we did all the classic things you'd expect. For instance, park the cab at the corner, and go 2 blocks on foot to help the little old lady get to the cab.