How to hail a cab in NYC

Having grown up in Toronto, I’m no newbie when it comes to big cities and New York City didn’t disappoint. One lady I met (a Canadian and former Dior house model living in the city) said it best, “you either love New York, or you hate it. There’s no in between.” I’m in the I heart NYC camp, not surprisingly. Aside from the shopping and parties I learned two things in New York:

1. How to jay walk. These people wait for no man or car and I am on board with this way of living. Have you ever stood at a completely deserted street waiting for the walk symbol shivering in the freezing cold? Definitely, and I never thought anything of it before! Go on, live on the wild side.

2. How to hail a cab. So I get there thinking “Pfft, no biggie. I’ve definitely got tons of experience with this one.” I stepped out of Penn station and couldn’t get a cab to save my life! So I took the opportunity to interview my cab driver (once I finally got one) on some tips. First of all, unlike Toronto if the big triangle light is on it doesn’t mean the cab is in service, it’s just an ad. If the cab number is lite up in the top centre of the sign then it’s in service, and there are two small lights on either side of the number that say “off duty” and those are pretty self explanatory. But if you don’t know what to be looking for, it’s hard to tell what lights mean what from a distance.

The next step to hailing a cab is confidence. None of this raising your arm halfheartedly and then lowering it once you think a cab is stopping, or any limp-wrist action. You gotta step out into the street and stick your arm out like you mean it.

Also, know where you’re going — mid-town, uptown, downtown, address and closest intersection. Cause they’ll grumble at you the whole way there if you don’t know where you’re going.

And lastly, wear your seat belt. Yeah yeah, I know it’s not cool but cabbies in New York have some serious chutzpah behind the wheel. I personally loved their style of driving as opposed to the Toronto cabbies who slow down at even the hint of a yellow light, NYC cabbies will blaze right through a solid red.

All in all, it’s definitely my kind of town.

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