"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

New York Minute

I was at the game last night in the Todd Drew box seats with Ted Berg. It was cold and the game was a dud but we had a good time. The crowd was mostly absent when Derek Jeter grounded out to end the game so I figured I might have a shot at catching a gypsy cab back home. I found a guy who was willing to take me uptown for $20. Good dude, from the west coast of Africa. We spoke French for a few minutes and then he told me in English that he’s been in the States since 1989 but that his entire family is still back in Africa. He sends them money and talks to them four or five times a week but he hasn’t been home in seven years.

He has a lot of friends in New York, almost all African. A bunch of them drive cabs too. They line up a block north of River Ave, across the street from the doughnut shop where Todd and his wife Marsha stopped before each game, and listen to the game on the radio. “John and Suzyn,” he said. I imaged them talking in their native language, standing outside parked cars with the windows open and the sounds of Sterling filling the air.

The cabbie’s favorite Yankee is Jeter. Through his thick accent, I heard “Geeduh.”

Business was slow last night. “It’s better when they win,” he said. That’s when people hang around the local bars until 2  in the morning or later so the cabbies can make three or four trips from the Stadium.

“Tomorrow they will win,” he said.

“What makes you say that?” I said.

“I just have a good feeling.”

I gave him $25 and he said, “Have a good bed.”

[Picture by Jozef Baláž]

Categories:  1: Featured  Bronx Banter  New York Minute  NYC

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One comment

1 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  May 17, 2011 2:13 am

AB, I love your New York Minutes. A few years back I was got a cab from the city to JFK on my way back here. The driver was from Senegal and was really happy to talk West African music with me. Such a nice guy but seemed he had a lot of trouble connecting with American-born black neighbors in his Bronx neighborhood..different culture, religion, family lifestyles, etc etc. Hoped to save enough to retire back in Senegal but knew his wife and kids would never want to leave America...

Really miss the diversity of NYC sometimes. Slowly diversifying here (VERY slowly) but still some encouraging signs..

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
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