One of the quintessential experiences in New York City is taking a cab somewhere in Manhattan.  You haven’t truly experienced the Big Apple without a cab ride.  It’s a large part of the mythology of Old Manahatta.  Taking a cab ride in New York can be a spiritual awakening.


And I speak with the voice of experience.  I found Jesus on a New York City cab ride.  This illuminating experience quite a few years ago.  I was on the Upper West Side catching a show at the Beacon Theatre.  I needed to get down to the Village Vanguard in Greenwich Village to see Pharaoh Sanders.  This event was before I overcame my subway phobia which will be a tale for a later date.


Little was I prepared for this ride.  These NYC cabbies are often criminally insane.  Others must be stunt drivers in action car chase scenes from the movies.  You’re taking your life into your own hands when you get into a New York cab.


This ride was especially frightening and enlightening.  The driver was a recent West African immigrant.  He has a radio station on that is playing West African music with an overly excited French speaking deejay.  I get in and tell him where I want to go.  He sets the meter and we get on our way.


We’re on our way.  I immediately release that I have placed my life in the hands of a maniac.  He was a demon on wheels.  He was weaving in and out of traffic.  He was blowing through red lights and cutting off other cars.  He was going well over the speed limit.  I was sure someone was going to die and I was praying that it wouldn’t be me.  This guy even cut off a police car.  Unfortunately, the cop didn’t pull us over and rescue me.


I was like “Holy cow!  This man doesn’t respect human life and I’m his passenger.” I started praying for my self preservation.  I was a spiritual free agent in that cab.  I was like “Jesus?  Allah?  Buddha?  Brahma?  Whichever god rescues me I promise to convert.”


When we finally arrived at my destination, I was completely frazzled.  I paid the cabbie after writing down his name.  After he pulled away, I was on my knees kissing the sidewalk and saying a quick prayer of thanks.  Now it was time for music.


I vowed to one day name my first born son after this cabbie.  I was shaken all night but it was a memory that will last a lifetime.  Need I mention that I walked the 20 plus blocks from the Village Vanguard to Penn Station after the show was finally over.


Author's Notes/Comments: 

another one based on a true story.  Cabbie's name omitted to protect the guilty.

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allets's picture

Pharoah Sanders

The musician who performed: The Creator Has A Master Plan. tThat just came to mind. - slc



georgeschaefer's picture

Pharoah Sanders played a free

Pharoah Sanders played a free show in Brooklyn last year.  It was great to see him still around.  I hadn't seen him perform since the 90's.  thanks for dropping by.

allets's picture

Ain't no thang

Pharoah had to rock. Last year, good to here he is still axin' - slc