I had to take a taxi for work today. I was toting a big roll of bubble wrap to de-install an exhibition so the subway was a "less practical" transit option. (I love it when I can actually justify taking a taxi - it feels so luxurious.) The driver spoke with a French accent (from Haiti, he can speak five languages), and he took me on a route I've never been before: the Park Avenue Viaduct along Grand Central Station. We chatted along the way - he's been driving a cab for almost 40 years so he's seen all the changes in the City.

Never seen this view before!
We talked about the "Manhattan Accent" (he says Midwesterners-who-went-to-private-school pronounce every consonant, and NY'ers tend to blur their words together), what he's going to do in retirement (in just a couple years!), the advantages to having a hybrid vehicle, and the means and methods of outfitting your car to be a taxi (he paid $46,000 for his Toyota, bought the $4,000 package to remove the carpeting and pleather the seats and paint the car yellow - and he opted for the security camera instead of the plexi breaker to make his passengers feel more comfortable).

He was wearing a navy blue cap with golden oak leaves embroidered on it. My dad wears a similar cap; both have sons in the armed forces. His son was a computer programmer on a submarine; my brother was a computer programmer on the USS Parsons destroyer, in the Indian Ocean when I was born over 30 years ago.

Before I got out of the cab, I handed him one of my cards, told him about my project and asked to paint his portrait. I hope he contacts me, I enjoyed the conversation we shared.

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