Thursday, May 1, 2014

Guess who wins battle of cabbies and food deliverers?

On Tuesday evening, a Ford Crown Victoria taxi struck and knocked down a food delivery cyclist on Madison Avenue and 52nd Street in Manhattan. The crouching man, left, is a pedestrian who stopped to help the injured deliverer, who was wearing a helmet, but who didn't move after he was knocked to the pavement.


If you spend a few hours in Manhattan, one of the first things you'll notice are the unusually large number of food deliverers on bicycles.

Step off a curb without looking and you might find one of them bearing down on you.

And when you're driving, even at the slow pace forced on you by Manhattan's insane traffic, you have to watch out for them.

With tens of thousands of new apartments built in the last decade, especially on the West Side, ordering delivery of restaurant food is huge.

I don't know how much or how little food deliverers are paid, or how well or badly they are treated by their customers, but theirs is certainly a dangerous job.

As a light rain fell on Tuesday night, I was stopped at a light on 52nd Street when I heard a sickening crunch.

I looked ahead to see a bicycle under the front wheel of a yellow cab on Madison Avenue, and the food deliverer lying on his side, his helmet still on his head. 

He wasn't moving.

A pedestrian carrying a briefcase stopped and tried to help the injured man.

At 774 Ninth Ave. in Manhattan (near 52nd Street), [kahve] coffee lounge is a pleasant spot filled with recorded classic jazz. Try the delicious Almond Chai ($4.85 for medium, plus tax).

The Hell's Kitchen neighborhood is filled with Thai, Afghan and other ethnic restaurants.

A young man thought nothing of stopping his Range Rover on Ninth Avenue and walking into [kahve] for takeout coffee and a pastry as his girlfriend waited in the SUV, above.

Parking isn't easy

Before I saw the food deliverer run down by a cab, I had spent about 40 minutes or so in [kahve] coffee lounge on Ninth Avenue in the 50s, listening to classic jazz and sipping a frothy Almond Chai.

I parked on West 54th Street, west of 10th Avenue, and learned a valuable lesson about the city's hunger for parking revenue and fines.

People who drive into Manhattan to see a Broadway show or eat in a restaurant think nothing of parking for an hour or more on a street, waiting for the end of restrictions.

When I pulled into the space at 5 p.m., across the street from the Colbert Report, I noticed other drivers sitting in their cars, which had New Jersey, New York and Connecticut plates.

The signs said no parking from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., except Sunday, and I should have waited until exactly 6.

I didn't. I left at 5:50 p.m., and when I returned to my car from [kahve], I found a soggy parking ticket under my windshield wiper that had been written just after I walked away.

The car behind me also had a ticket. That driver left at 5:30 p.m. The fine: $65. Ouch

At least three Thai restaurants on Ninth Avenue carry the "Wondee" name, above and below. They reminded me of my favorite North Jersey spot for Thai food, Wondee's Fine Thai Food & Noodles in Hackensack.

I met Michael Felber, the local artist who painted the mural inside Holey Cream, an ice cream and bake shop at 796 Ninth Ave., near 53rd Street, above and below. Felber recommended [kahve] when I asked for a place to have coffee.

The "A" displayed in the window, above, is the city's top sanitary rating. North Jersey has nothing like it.
On the night I got my parking ticket, I saw streets lined with illegally parked cars, each one with a "NYC PBA" card displayed on the dashboard, such as the one above. A police precinct was in the neighborhood.

This morning around 11 a.m., I encountered an anomaly. One side of West 60th Street, near Fordham University, had parking signs covered by dark garbage bags. As a traffic agent I asked said, "No sign, no fine." I parked, walked to Starbucks Coffee around the corner and returned to the car with a Venti Zen Green Tea. In Manhattan, you can never be too sure that a "legal" space is actually legal.

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