Today I went to visit one of my pregnant co-workers for lunch on the Upper West Side. I needed to get from 50th and 6th to Broadway between 76th and 77th. I knew I should have taken the subway to 79th and then just walked the couple of blocks, but I said to myself that I would take a cab if I saw one first. Normally I would always take a cab but midtown traffic is never a good bet at lunchtime.
I managed to hail a cab on 50th Street between Broadway and 7th. I figured he could just swing around the block, go over 49th to 8th avenue and then up either CPW or Broadway to my destination, depending on traffic.
I get in and the first question is "How do you want to go?" I thought for a minute, "Okay, good sign, he's cognizant of the traffic issues"... and then he asks if I want to go up Sixth. On my way towards Seventh Avenue I had thought about catching whatever cab I saw on 50th but decided I didn't want to have to sit in traffic on Sixth, so I gave him my thoughts about taking 49th to 8th.
Unfortunately, the ride from 50th and 7th to 49th and 8th took approximately 15 minutes. Fine, fine, whatever. Next we get on to 8th. As we get closer to Columbus Circle my driver asks me if I want to go through the Park.
My response: "We're going to Broadway, why would we go through the Park??" I quickly follow this with, "We could go up Central Park West and over 75th, if that's what you mean..." No, my driver didn't mean that. Just at that moment he notices a sign saying "2 Left Lanes, Broadway" and at this point he admits that its his first day on the job and he thought Broadway was on the East Side.
Broadway... on the East Side???
Don't these guys have to take any sort of a test to get their hack license or what??
To be fair, he was very nice and with a little guidance up Broadway (most notably, how to make the transition from Amsterdam back to Broadway after 72nd Street--- at which time my driver cut off a FedEx truck and made a right on a red... and no, he's not from New Jersey...) we managed to get to my destination relatively safely and speedily.... which at the end of the day is more than I can say for most cab rides, even when the driver does know that Broadway's up and the Battery's down.