The Night Line

The Night Line

The Night Line

The shape-up at the taxi garage in mid-afternoon: you get a cab two, three, or four hours after you've clocked in and given your hack license to the dispatcher–perhaps five or six if it is summer and college kids are working along with professionals. All those hours you could be on the street earning your living, or being mugged. When you get a cab it needs cleaning, but you don't do the needful at the garage. You have to show mileage, so you drive off some place where you can park. And from then on it's a scramble to deal with the geography and the traffic. Part of that is virtuosity, exploit, and exhilaration; the other part is nerves, rage, and killing fatigue. Day after day. If you're healthy and you're lucky.
Ambrose Clancy, who wrote the text of The Night Line, is a novelist and was a professional taxi driver. Peter M. Donahoe, who took the pictures that appear in the book–of which twenty-five have been chosen for permanent exhibition of the Museum of the City of New York–was also a professional driver, working out of the same garage as his fellow author. Mr. Clancy's text...

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