“If I had a CD to record everything that goes on in the backseat I’d be a rich man, I’d sell to the porno industry,” my cabbie says. I’m not quite sure how we got to the topic of sex; perhaps it was my remark about the cold weather and not having enough clothes on to bare the wind? Caught of guard but thoroughly interested in the subject I take advantage of my driver’s openness. My driver tells me he’s been driving in New York for 16 years and is originally from Russia, he answers all my questions but tells me he’d like to remain anonymous...”I need to keep my job” he remarks justifying his request.
“You can tell what’s going on by looking in the mirror, the man is either car sick or getting a blow job. Sometimes people are quiet and other times they just don’t care. People never apologize.” My cabbie continues rather surprised when I ask if people apologize or acknowledge their acts. “Why would they? Sometimes people drunk sometimes they not. It happens all the time. Friday and Saturdays especially.”
My driver tells me he’s had passengers try to make deals with him in exchange for a free ride. Admittedly he says he’ll accept if he has enough money to pay his rent and cover his expenses. “Women offer to flash me, give me blow jobs...I like legs, sometimes if women show me legs, I give them free ride.” My driver says he doesn’t mind the displays of sex, if it really bothered him he says he’d simply kick a passenger out.
Displaying any sexually offensive material, this includes the act of sex itself as well as masturbation, “pubic area or buttocks with less than a full opaque covering” and “exposed genitals” in the state of New York will cost you $250 and a maximum sentence of 15 days in jail if you’re caught (New York Penal law Section 245.11 Public display of offensive sexual material).
On east 7th street between avenue A and 1st avenue my cabbie and I part ways, I thank him, pay my toll, and noticing my own bare legs hurriedly rush out of the car.
“The New York City Taxi & Limousine commission (TLC) is responsible for licensing and regulating New York City's medallion (yellow) taxicabs, for-hire vehicles (community-based liveries and black cars” (nyc.gov website). TLC serves really as the only form of regulation between driver and passenger, everything else is left up to individual act and decision.