5PM is like the flute that charms our neighborhood cab line that snakes along South End Avenue at Liberty Street.
This cab line never ceases to amaze me. It’s an interesting and distinct example of how Battery Park City is a special community. Is there another area in NYC that would relent to such self policed organization when participating in hailing a taxi — where in New York can be a full contact sport?
Only at airports does such a cab line exist — but even those lines are policed by airport dispatchers.
As a Battery Park resident, I will be the first to admit — I sort of appreciate the line.
Nothing makes me crazier when I’ve been waiting on that line and Â someone “steals my cab.” Two parts fury and Â one part guilt overcomes me when I feel that way because I often find myself asking, “Why am I even waiting on this line?”
Some of my favorite methods of “BPC Cab Theft” include:
“The Liberty Street Stealth Attack” – When your happy to see a free taxi gliding onto Liberty Street when it pulls up to the stop sign – with a shadowy figure closing the cab door.
“The I’m Overtly Stealing Your Cab Run” – When a person knows there is a line but runs to steal it anyways.
“The Gateway Plaza Abyss” – When a cab enters Gateway Plaza and someone runs into the apartment complex to steal it.
These are just a few examples.
The history of the cab line is relatively unknown, but yet we as a neighborhood abide by this unspoken law. Sure, one could reasonably walk south where no such law and taxi order exists or revert to traditional hailing standards on West Street — yet I look for the line and stand on it whenever I need to leave the neighborhood.
Granted that there is no written Constitution for this line — Â I’ve added some personal bylaws to it throughout the years. For example, if there are people waiting on the line — or if its raining/snowing, I ask the driver to drop me off at the line. If not in a terrible rush, I let a pregnant woman or a mother with several youngsters take the cab first. If I see neighbors with lots of luggage and I’m about to take a SUV taxi — I offer it up to them.
While I have waited Â in line last week I noticed a trend of office mates who presumably work at the World Financial Center asked to share cabs and make drop offs. For executives waiting/sharing a cab becomes an extension of politics and the continuation of wheeling (pun intended) and dealing. In my mind goes to further explain how is this line is policed by employees who want to see other friends on the line. This has changed the way I see this line — as if waiting on the line itself becomes the activity.
New York City is a highly competitive town. We compete for everything – jobs, dates, homes and yes, taxis. I guess what I’m seeking are some thoughts, personal stories or theories why this section of Battery Park City proliferates the taxi stand line … would love to hear them!