Passion: Life, driving, bbq
Favorite song: Vampire Weekend- Taxi Cab
Hidden gem: Wellington Hotel
Favorite neighborhood places: Taverna Kykclades, Tierras Colombianas.
Angry tweet: «Maybe you should have enough common sense to move knowing that I'm pregnant is what I was told by a lady behind me on line at a supermarket. As if I have eyes behind my head!»
Few things are more iconic. Think of New York and yellow cabs pop up. Part of the city romance. Movies, series, pictures. Always there. Impossible to neglect. Let’s have a look on the inside. The driver. What’s their take on the job? On New Yorkers? On life? I’ve met with Emmanuel in his home in Astoria. A rockstar cabdriver.
«Most taxi drivers feel it’s condescending if you call them a driver. You don’t see the person at all. I couldn’t care less though, as long as you pay me. You can call me whatever you want if you pay me extra!»
All The Nightmares In The City
This guy. A witty and charming gentleman. He’s been in the industry for 9 years and still going strong. With a decade of experience, chats and new faces, you learn a thing or two…
«I’ve seen it all in the back of my cab. People getting it on. I keep my eyes on the road though, or else I could get into an accident» He laughs. Of course he’s seen it all and learned to focus on the traffic. Now, on a more serious note…
«You learn to feel people out and respect them. I never talk politics. That’s what I learned at taxi school because it can cause conflicts. Once passengers opens up, you realize there’s a lot of sad people here. They’re not happy where they are. A lot of people hate their own jobs. I almost never get a customer in my car who loves their job.»
«There’s a lot of dreamers who have nightmares in the morning. What am I gonna do today? With my life? I’ve learned to enjoy my job and enjoy my life a lot more. I realize how many people come here with a dream, and as they grow older they feel the pressure. There’s not enough time.»
From Cab driving to Male Modeling
One year ago, Emmanuel was featured as Mr. March in the New York City Taxi Drivers Calendar, a comedic take on the traditional pin-up, featuring some of the city’s best-humored yellow cab drivers.
«I like to seek for things that kill the monotony of driving. Different things. Like doing the taxi calendar as Mr March. It’s fun and you get to meet a lot of new people, doing different things»
Now, let’s go visit Mr. March and get some additional posing... (now it’s time to see the video!)
The Astoria- Warrior And The Entitled New Yorker
Emmanuel was born and raised in Astoria, a neighborhood in Queens. He likes to think of himself as the Astoria-warrior: One who’s been making his way even when the neighborhood wasn’t as colorful and beautiful as it is today. The fighter instinct also led him into the cab industry.
«I was in that situation where I didn’t know what to do. I was fed up of working for anybody else, so I looked into how I could become independent. My friend got into cab driving first. He earned $250 in 10 hours and I was wowed»
Additional to the lost souls in the city, Emmanuel has discovered the distinct difference between two groups of people in NYC. New Yorkers and tourists. Pretty much the opposite and they cause some interesting dynamics.
«Either you’re here, you die hard, you work hard, you party hard, you’re part of the living. Or you’re part of those people looking up at the beautiful skyscrapers while the guy behind you is telling you to get the fuck out of the way because you’re fucking up the flow»
The well known attituded New Yorker can sometimes go too far. They even got their own nickname within Emmanuel’s closest circle: The entitled New Yorker!
«Some of us joke around with what we call the entitled New Yorker. Being you’re from New York you have everything at your fingertips, so you assume you can pay yourself to get whatever. I was driving a guy once whom wanted me to make an illegal turn. He screamed at me. I do not break the law, so I got to the destination legally. It was a $4,75 ride and the guy screamed at me to give his change back. I threw it on the sidewalk. If you give me that attitude, I’ll give it back»
«Being a cab driver is not the most prestigious profession, but at least it’s an honest living. You can try to treat me the way you want, but just because you say it, doesn’t mean I’ll do it. I respect the law»
The Desire To Cut Each Others Throat
«It’s a rush. It’s a hustle. You gotta get the next ride. You gotta keep moving. It’s New York City. If I drop off someone at Penn Station, where am I gonna find the next passenger? I go around the block on 33rd and 8th, cause Penn Station has 3 entrances. I know I can get another there»
He’s talking with a manic speed to reflect how his mind is working during driving hours. Hungry. Always thinking ahead. Always winning. Every man for himself.
«Competition all the way. There are no colleagues in the taxi driver industry. If we’re on the road we’re trying to cut each others throats.»
It seems preeeeetty hectic, but there’s still moments to enjoy when Emmanuel is out there in the war zone.
«I really notice the city is a magical place during the rush-hour watching everybody hustle and bustle like a group of crazy ants to their destinations.»
Emmanuel knows the anthill like his own pocket. I get somewhat breathless when he talks about his everyday worklife. Guess that’s the fun part though. The rush he talks about. The downside these days is the radical changes.
«I get up at 5am to kill the rush hours. It’s so hard, competing on the same dollar as everybody else. Especially now when the business has changed with Uber, Lift, Uno and so on- we have to drive faster and more efficient. The landscape has changed.»
Mr. March. Mr. Astoria- warrior. Mr. Charm. I want to ride with you one day! The city is lucky to have you! Stay cool!