Night-Shifting for the Hip Fleet is an article from the September 22, 1975 issue of New York Magazine that is said to have been inspiration for the award-winning sitcom, Taxi. Whether you dig the show or just have a thing for old articles about the life of a cabbie, give it a read, as it’s pretty good stuff.
It has been a year since I drove a cab, but the old garage still looks the same. The generator is still clanging in the corner. The crashed cars are still in the shop. The weirdos are still sweeping the cigarette butts of the cement floor. The friendly old “YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE for all front-end accidents” is as comforting as ever. Danny the dispatcher still hasn’t lost any weight. And all the working stiffs are still standing around, grimy and gummy, sweating and regretting, waiting for a cab at shape-up.
Shape-up time at Dover Taxi Garage #2 still happens every afternoon, rain or shine, winter or summer, from two to six. That’s when the night-line drivers stumble into the red-brick garage on Hudson Street in Greenwich Village and wait for the day liners, old-timers with backsides contoured to the crease in the seat of a Checker cab, to bring in the taxis. The day guys are supposed to have the cabs in by four, but if the streets are hopping, they cheat a little bit, maybe by two hours. That gives the night liners plenty of time to stand around in the puddles on the floor, inhale the carbon monoxide, and listen to the cab stories… read more >