Cabbing Down NYC’s Mean Streets

By Carmen Comment

USA Today’s Bob Minzesheimer meets Melissa Plaut
, the woman behind the blog New York Hack and author of HACK: How I Stopped Worrying About What to Do With My Life and Started Driving a Yellow Cab. One of only about 200 female cabbies in the city (out of more than 40,000) Plaut calls herself “sort of an anomaly.” She’s also gay and Jewish. “This is the only perspective I’ve ever had,” she tells Minzesheimer. “It doesn’t really affect my driving or my social skills.”

The college graduate foundered for a few years before stumbling into the world of taxi-driving. And there she found her niche. Her book describes why she began driving a taxi, what she has learned and passengers she remembers. One told Plaut she was a dominatrix and complained about her Wall Street clients. Plaut knew just the type: self-important “masters of the universe” who are lousy tippers. She told her passenger, “I’d rather have dominatrices and escorts – or even hookers and pimps – in my car over those guys.” And with that, she writes, “we arrived at a nice doorman building, she tipped me generously, and she got out.”

Plaut doesn’t plan on driving a cab forever but when she doesn’t she finds she misses it. Does she think of herself as a cab driver who writes or as a writer who drives a cab? “A little of both. The sad thing is, it’s easier to get behind the wheel of a taxi than it is to write something other people want to read.”