Had another very New York experience this morning. My flight back to France was leaving very early in the morning so I asked the receptionist in my building if she could recommend any taxi companies that I could call to pick me up.
She recommended that I call a certain Mr Mahmood who also lives in my building and would take me to the airport on a flat fare. I called him at about 7pm yesterday and he agreed to meet me in the lobby at 4.30am.
He was a lovely man, originally from Pakistan, who had lived in the city for 20 years and was married to an American woman.
So how come a taxi driver & I can both afford to live in the same building on the Upper West Side? He told me that he lived in one of the few rent stabilized apartments available and that he was determined to hang on to it for as long as he could!
He pays $600 per month for a large studio – I pay $2,400 for a large 1 bedroom …
I should feel a little peeved about this but I don’t at all. In fact I love it and I’m glad the system still exists (although the number of apartments available under the scheme is reducing every day), otherwise it would take away from the true multi-cultural aspect of New York.
I have seen so many different types of people in my building – every single ethnic origins, business people, old people, families, students. It’s what makes the city special.
Mr Mahmood got me to JFK in half an hour flat and even bought me a cup of coffee. He’s officially my favourite NYC cab driver.