It should not be a surprise that famous people sometimes ride in my taxi. Every famous person comes to New York City eventually and only yellow cabs are legally allowed to pick up passengers on the street, as opposed to limos which must be called on the phone.
Potentially, the most famous person who ever rode in my taxi might become Liqun Song, an organizer of the Falun Gong, a mystical religious sect which claims 100 million followers in China. She rode in my taxi on Saturday, September 2, 2000. I took her and three members of her group from La Guardia Airport to the Park View Hotel, a youth hostel on 55 Central Park North at Seventh Avenue.
Also on September 2, 2000, I took two players to the US Open Tennis Championship. They said that they were a doubles team from Brazil. However, I could not find their names on the players lists. Their first names were Fabio and Ricardo. I could not find any doubles team from Brazil on the lists.
Occasionally, I ask a passenger if he or she is famous. I asked one attractive young woman this, and she replied "Soon to be". I was driving her to the set of "Sex and the City". The cameras and other equipment were set up waiting for her, as she was going to be in one of the episodes. I wrote her name on my trip sheet, but I am unable to find it. I never watch TV, but I have seen ads for "Sex and the City" and her face does seem familiar.
I believe that she was Sarah Jessica Parker. What was especially noteworthy and unusual was that she rode in the front seat of the taxi, next to me, the driver. Passengers almost never do that, especially not women. I got a very close look at her face. Still, I have been reluctant to say that she was Sarah Jessica Parker, but that is who I believe that she was.
(Does anybody know if Sarah Jessica Parker has the unusual habit of sitting up in the front seat with the taxi driver?)
I now believe that Matt Le Blanc, a TV personality who plays "Joey" on the series "Friends", was not a passenger in my taxi. I drove someone who was claimed to be him from the dance club "Roxy" to his home in New Jersey on April 24, 1999. However, members of the Matt LeBlanc Fan Club deny that this was him.
When I saw photos of Lauren Bessette, I felt that she may have ridden in my taxi. I drove a taxi for 24 hours from 5:00 AM Wednesday, July 7 to 5:00 AM Thursday, July 8, 1999. Then I took a 24 hour break and then I drove for 72 hours from 5:00 AM Friday, July 9 to 5:00 AM Monday, July 12.
The next weekend, I drove 72 hours from 5:00 AM Saturday, July 17 to 5:00 AM Tuesday, July 20. It was during this weekend that JFK Jr. was killed.
I have a clear recollection of a passenger in my cab who was a bright, attractive, smiling young woman who looked like Lauren Bessette. I am wondering if anybody can trace whether she rode in a taxi in the last week of her life. It was while I was driving a taxi during this last weekend that I heard the news on 1010 WINS news radio that the aircraft of JFK Junior was missing.
I do not remember either the pick-up point or the drop-off point of this passenger, except that both were in Manhattan. Is it even possible that I drove her to the place where she caught transportation to her death?
The problem is that I have only been able to find one close-up picture of Lauren Bessette and in that picture she has an unhappy scowl. If I can ever find a picture of Lauren Bessette with a happy smile, I will have a better chance of determining if she was the passenger in my taxi.
Regarding JFK Jr., after his death it was published that he lived at 20 North Moore Street. I have driven several passengers to North Moore Street, which is a minor street of which I had never heard before I became a taxi driver. I can remember one passenger in particular that I drove to North Moore Street about one year ago who bore a resemblance to JFK Jr.
On the other hand, I am sure that I never had the wife of JFK Jr. as a passenger in my taxi, because I knew what she looked like and I was on the lookout for her. I remember feeling shocked to read that she hung out at the dance club "Life", which is at 158 Bleeker Street, where I often pick up passengers, because I would not want any woman I am involved with going to such a place.
The first famous person who rode in my taxi was Peter Luger. (His real name is not Peter Luger.) I picked him up at about 7:30 AM at his home in Lawrence, Long Island by appointment and drove him to his steakhouse near the Wiliamsburg Bridge in Brooklyn. This was in July, 1997. I was not yet then a Yellow Cab driver. I was working for a small company in Lawrence called Towne Taxi. He was in bad shape and walked with a cane.
On the weekend of October 31, 1999, I picked up Actor Danny Glover, who is a star of "Lethal Weapon", in my taxi. I made no note of it until on November 4, 1999, when his picture was on the front page of the New York Daily News complaining that taxi drivers were refusing to pick him up. He has filed a racial discrimination complaint. (I am not sure that Danny Glover was in my taxi, but I am sure that I picked up at night on the right hand side of Sixth Avenue near the corner of West 4th Street a man who looked very much like the man with his picture in the newspaper.)
The latest famous person who rode in my taxi was Mark McEwen, CBS News Reporter, who rode in my taxi at 5:15 AM on July 22, 2002. Mark McEwen has interviewed many famous celebrities, including Bill Clinton, George Bush, Gerald Ford, Steven Spielberg, Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Sidney Poitier, Paul McCartney and Sam Sloan.
She is not very famous yet, but she will be famous soon, as the most obnoxious and difficult passenger ever to ride in my taxi. Staci Satsky is now only famous for finishing 263rd in the New York City Mini-Marathon, but she was by far the worst taxi passenger I ever had. Staci Satsky rode in my taxi on August 19, 2002.
Here are some famous people who have ridden in my taxi:
Here are some famous people who have ridden in my taxi: