My name is Billy Tashman, and I drive Uber and Lyft. Since arriving in New York City on Halloween night in 1979, I have, mostly through work, gotten to know the city. I’ve been a yellow cab driver, substitute public school teacher, photo-retoucher (before Photoshop made that craft---and the master
retouchers—obsolete), regular public school teacher, journalist, CUNY professor, hotel owner, and now, again, a cabdriver. Driving Uber has allowed me to see parts of the city that I rarely saw driving yellow, almost all in the outer boroughs. I love a building that gives me the shivers, that makes me want to stop my car and linger. The further you go from midtown, the better this city gets. I believe a strip of immigrant-owned stores under the Myrtle Avenue El, is way more interesting than the Hudson Yards’ phony wow-isms or Madison Avenue boutique.
To paraphrase Jim Bouton, I’ve spent a good deal of my life trying to get a grip on this city, and in the end it turns out it was the other way around.