Monday, August 14, 2006

Just saying

So I'm doing my very first reading this Saturday at a fundraiser to help the Taxi Worker's Alliance in their attempt to deal with rising gas prices. I'll be reading a section from the book I've been working on. I hope some of you that are in New York can come out and lend your support.

The press release is as follows:

Join us on SATURDAY, AUGUST 19, 2006
At a fundraiser to help cab drivers earn a living wage

With gas prices soaring, manhole covers blowing, and power outages knocking out traffic lights, it has never been harder to be a cab driver in NYC. Join the Taxi Worker's Alliance and NYC cabbies for a night of music, comedy, poetry, and prose.

Saturday, August 19th
Rocky Sullivan's Bar, located on Lexington Ave. at 29th Street
from 6:00 - 9:00 pm

Performances by cabbies:

John McDonagh, founder of CAB Cabbies Against Bush, doing comedy

Randy Credico, project director of the William Moses Kunstler Fund for Racial Justice, also doing comedy

Davidson Garrett, author of King Lear of the Taxi, reading poetry

Melissa Plaut, writer of the New York Hack blog, reading an excerpt
from her upcoming book to be published by Villard in 2007

Also featuring:
Music by Moogie Klingman with a new song about cabdrivers
Kevin Fitzpatrick
Steve Smith
Seth "The Kaballagh Kabbie"
Bhairavi Desai
Jerry Hassett (Green Party)

Suggested donation is $10.00 or 3 gallons of gas.
All donations go towards the Alliance's ongoing efforts to petition the NYC administration in order to help cab drivers earn a livable wage in the face of the gas-price crisis.

Tune in to WBAI, 99.5 FM or, that afternoon from 1:30 to 3:00 pm to hear NYC cabbies tell their favorite stories from behind the wheel. You can listen live at


Matt Chalmers said...

Good luck, hope it all goes well...

Petrol prices are absurd here in Australia, too, and I hope this event will alleviate the stress on people that rely on petrol to make a living.

Hope the reading goes well.

John Doe said...

Ha First Post!!!!! Really Melissa, I just read back all the way to your first post and you should not be so dismissive about personal health! Please heed my advice, for some day I could become a doctor and make sure to consume daily recommended vegetable portions via v8 juice, or celery sticks! Don't ignore excercise!

John Doe said...

Damnit, second post I guess

Matt Chalmers said...

Sorry to ruin that for you, John.

april herms said...

I work for an organization called the Urban Justice Center, at its Community Development Project. We've helped the TWA with a number of things, including a study called "UnFARE" that helped convince the Bloomberg administration of the need for a fare increase a few years ago. (You can read it at
publications/Unfare.pdf) We're now helping the TWA establish a health clinic for taxi drivers at JFK airport.

I've been reading your blog for a while, and it's really a fantastic piece of journalism. There have to be more ways that you and the TWA can join forces to advocate for cab drivers.

I passed the info about the benefit on to all of my coworkers, so hopefully we'll have a sizeable contingent there!

Anonymous said...

Melissa, I love Rocky Sullivan's (used to be a semi-regular, although it's been a while) and I adore the way you write (just started reading you since that newspaper article a week or two back), so I'm planning to be there. I hope they're not serious about the three gallons of gasoline for admission and that nobody's stupid enough to actually do that. I can all too easily imagine flames engulfing my favorite basement bar and incinerating everybody (there's only one exit, I think). If someone brings gasoline, I hope the bar managers keep it outside somewhere.

Anonymous said...

Melissa, have you ever read cartoonist Ted Rall's superb article on his website about driving a cab in New York? It's on his website ( at

meesh said...

That sounds like it'll be a great evening. Wish I was still in NYC so I could support you guys in person. How about if I promise to tip my cabbie really well the next time I'm in the city? :)

Break a leg! I hope it goes well.

Corn Dog said...

I wish I could be there but I'm across the country in Oakland. Have fun at the reading.

Anonymous said...

I'll try to make the trip although I'm geographically impaired so if I don't get too lost. grr oh well have fun

wil said...

I wish I could get 3 gallons of gas for $10.

Best wishes and I'll skip some sleep so I can listen to the show on the web.

I've always wondered what your "Queens" accent was like.

Do you have a more definate date, other than 2007, for publication? When will we be able to place advanced orders?

Anonymous said...

I really enjoy your blog -- and even if you weren't such a great example of a thoughtful, personable cabbie, I would work really hard to resist my all-too-human temptation to judge people as a group.

So your cabbie benefit coming up on Saturday is kind of a watershed. See, when I moved into my neighborhood three years ago, I said to myself, "Just in case the cab drivers hold a benefit someday, I'm going to put $5 a day in a jar so I can send it to them when that day comes."

"But," I added, "I'm going to take $1 back out of the jar every time a cabbie honks the horn, here on my residential street with babies sleeping upstairs, for absolutely no fucking reason whatsoever. Such as, they're eighth in line behind a light that turned green 0.01 seconds ago. Or there's a big, obvious fuel delivery or garbage truck blocking the street that everyone knows isn't going to budge until their business is finished, but they honk anyway."

"And every time a cabbie violates the pedestrian ROW when making a turn, I'll take back a dollar for that, too."

So, the bottom line is: you guys owe me $11,487.

It would be more, but I account for the cell phone chatter, the poor navigation and the cigarette smoke by adjusting each offender's tip. The other stuff I have to charge communally.

Where do I get my money?

catkins said...

We fully expect a photo of you 'on stage' on the next post!

Eric said...

Hey, anonymous- congratulations on figuring out that New York is noisy.

Anonymous said...

Of all the bars in NYC! Sadly, I am no longer welcomed at Rocky's. Flirting with someone's girlfriend seems to make some guys so angry... and others very brave (maybe it was the belly full of Johnnie Walker?) A few accusations, some cursing, and a little scuffle ensued, etc. etc. thus I will not be able to attend.

Anonymous said...

Hey Eric, as a NYer through and through, I hear ya in that NYC is noisy. But Anon at 3:44 is right.

Cabbies who honk their horn for a reason other than safety are breaking the law. Just because it is in NYC is no excuse to let it go. I find myself several times a year telling a cabbie to stop honking the horn. Usually I get verbally abused for wanting to keep my hearing and sanity. Once, one driver tried to run me down in the crosswalk after I told him not to honk.

I have a love/hate relationship with cabbies here in NYC. I love 'em 'cause they are convenient and I take them everywhere. I hate 'em because 98% are too loud, horrible, inattentive drivers, and have bad hygiene.

As far as the fares go, I say raise them to help the cabbies make ends meet. Of course, I don't want the fares raised, but I won't begrudge those trying to make a living. Afterall, gas has tripled in price in the past year or two and the fares haven't been hiked in quite sometime.

Anonymous said...

Finally, you wrote about something political!

Pat T Hat said...

How groovy! Sounds like a great cause and a good time. Wish I could be there for the support but I'm sure you don't need the likes of me. Sure would like to hear some excerpts. I'm a sucker for those! Much luck and have a great time!!! You'll be a hit for sure!

Homer Simpson said...


Anonymous said...

Was going to go until I saw this CAB "Cabbies against Bush"...Pleeease! The only reason this city is still standing is because of Bush. If Gore won we`d be on our 9th 911 by now, still "looking for those responsible" for the first. Don`t forget MP, the only reason it`s safe today for you to drive a Cab is because of a Republican named Guliani. Try doing it in the `80`s like I did when that waste Koch and Dinkins was Mayor. In one year alone (1986) I was robbed 15 times, more than once a month, 7 by gunpoint. How many times you been robbed? I can`t stand a-holes who bash Republicans...They never say anything about the absolute hell it was to live under democrats. Talk to people what it was like to live under Lindsay. That dude made Koch and Dinkins look like the greatest Mayors on the planet.

The Lone Beader said...

When will you make an appearance in Boston?? I hope stop by for your book signing next year:)

Dan said...

Thanks specifically to Anonymous 7:51 pm's (obviously he's a coward going by "Anonymous) self-embarassing rant/diatribe, I am sending a large contrbution to the TWA. It is despicable right-wing, clueless people like Anonymous 7:51 pm who are destroying this great nation. You are responsible for putting a man with the criminal record in the White House. And the fact that the world and the US is much less safe than it was prior to Shrub. Shrub has destroyed our fiscal responsbility, environmental laws, peace, and the world respect we had after 9/11. He has lied and caused about as many deaths of US soldiers in Iraq as who died here on 9/11. While Osama roams free. That will be Shrub's legacy: the needless loss of thousands of US soldiers fighting a completely unjustified war. Thanks Anonymous 7:51 pm for doing your part to ruin the lives of thousands by supporting the worst president of the modern era, bar none, by any objective analysis compared to where we were prior to 1/20/00. And it is not even close.

Maffi said...

Hi M

Like the way you write have put a link to you on my blog.

I wish you well in you venture and your book, but please dont expect sympathy from UK they are paying $7 a US gallon :o(

Anonymous said...

I refuse to believe that John Kerry could've done a better job. It's your own party's fault that they couldn't come up with a credible LEADER who has conviction in his words and decisions.

Now you have Howard Dean and Hillary Clinton. I'm a moderate, but forced to vote Republican because the Democrats can't offer a decent leader. Now you've run off a decent man like Joe Lieberman. WTF?

The democrats are hijacked by ultra-liberals just like the terrorists have hijacked the muslims...

Maffi said...

In case you are wondering.

97p/ltr X 3.8ltr/USgall X $1.89/£1

Vernon said...

This is what you should be doing. I will try to get you on the internet. Good luck.

Tableside Hack said...

Can't wait for the book to come out, I will add it to my library. Maybe there is some way to get an autographed copy? I would imagine that you read these comments, so just consider it.
Also, to thos earguing politics, shut up. Seriously, go to a news ebsitr and argue. Of course, I'm not the moderator or anything.

Anonymous said...

All the best for the big day. It really sounds great. Good on you

Melissa said...

Wish I could make it, but it's a long drive from Nashville. Good luck though. :)

legal alien said...

Good luck , hope it all goes well.

I really enjoy reading your blog, can you share more of your political thoughts and ideas with us.


CharterJames said...

Dammit! I'm driving on Saturday. Well maybe I can squeeze some time early. Would be fun to see you in person. Davidson Garrett used to drive at the garage I currently use. Would be fun to see him again too, though we've never introduced ourselves.

MJ06 said...

Good for you I will toon in on the web if I can.

Chez Bez said...

I can write all day long, but doubt I could read for 30 seconds in front of a crowd.

I'm impressed by all who can do that.

Have a great time!

Lboogie said...

Oh, I REALLY WISH I'd decided to wait to come home until this happened! Best of luck to the effort, it's for a WONDERFUL cause!!

EverJack1 said...

Good luck on the reading, and the fund raiser, Melissa.

I'll put the website on a sticky note. Maybe I'll remember it. :o)


tangerine said...

Villard in 2007

Jen said...

I'm am a new NYC'er and since I live in Brooklyn I don't take cabs often but I did take one home from JFK the other night and is it weird that I looking for you? Hahah. Don't be scared I just think it would be fun to run into you is all! ;)

Also, the man that harrassed you really worried me. It's unreal that the cops didn't do anything about it. Jerks.

R2K said...

When are you guys going to use priuses ?

All the cabs in canada do. It would really help. I wont take a cab until they are hybrids, sorry.

Anonymous said...

I've driven a cab for over 5 years now. Truly, I believe the city needs to buy back 3,000 medallions. No one wants to admit it, but there are too many cabs on the streets. That means unecessary pollution, extra traffic and low pay.
We do need something to cover the new gas costs, but the reason we make so little, really, is that we are vacant 1/2 the time.