August 03, 2015
As we sit mired in the dog days of summer (dies caniculares), we recall this story from the dozens which involve The Little Goniff. "Goniff," in Yiddish, is used here as a term of endearment, though it technically means "thief." Our late friend Richie was not that kind of goniff. He was a "little" goniff: He always had an angle, even if it was somewhat more or less than 90°.
The Little Goniff painted a glorious life, in checkered yellow. We would drive NYC taxicabs. In those days, our pay would be 50% of the meter and all our tips. Unlike today's drivers, who have to lease the cab and pay for gas, we would pay nothing for the privilege. The Little Goniff never mentioned that taxis, in those days, had no air conditioning, no radios and no suspension.
So, we joined the few, the proud and the hemorrhoid-afflicted. We took the Hack License course and passed the rigorous exam (we still have the answer sheet, helpfully provided to us by our instructors prior to the exam.)
The orange Hack license was a passport into a world of adventure, to say nothing of $20 cash in our pocket every Saturday night (we only drove one day a week.) Gas at 36¢ a gallon, a six pack of Bud for under $3 and SUNY tuition only $1500 (including room and board.) We were stardust. Our Uncle Harvey, who drove a taxi in 1936, gave us our best advice: Keep the cab clean. However, neither The Little Goniff nor Uncle Harvey told us what to do when our first fare was a prostitute who suggested we take the fare out in trade. Who needs Uber? We are cabbie yellow to the core. We took the cash.
It is a modern, technology-rich world. In our profession, nowhere is this more evident than in the area of discovery. So when AD2 decided Feng Wang v. A&W Travel, 2015 NY Slip Op 06312 (2d Dep't 7/29/15) last week, we were scarcely surprised. Plaintiff, who was injured while a passenger on a bus, stood for