The Park Avenue Conundrum


Why is it that cabbies tend to head for Park Avenue whenever a passenger needs to go uptown or downtown in NYC?

This is something I've always wondered. I live on 85th Street near the East River, and anytime I'm west of Park Avenue and need to take a cab home, the cabbie makes a bee-line for Park Avenue.

This totally doesn't make any sense. Park Avenue is a divided street that doesn't have timed lights. First Avenue and Third Avenue have their lights timed so that if you're cruising at 30 MPH and there's no traffic, theoretically you never have to stop. Park has no such lights - they're on timers and you have to stop every so often. Then there's the nonsense associated with going around the MetLife Building. Add to this the fact that lanes get clogged up on Park with other cars trying to make turns, and Park can be a mess.

Just about the only thing I can see that's appealing about Park Avenue is that no commercial vehicles are allowed. That means no trucks, which rocks. But it's still slow as molasses trying to get anywhere on Park.

I decided to ask some cabbies why they like Park Avenue so much. Here's what I got back...

  • It's one of the streets that runs relatively uninterrupted from southern Manhattan all the way north.
  • No trucks.
  • It's nice looking.
  • Fewer potholes.
  • Lots of cute rich women milling about.
  • No bridge traffic.

I call bullshit on all of this. Frankly, I think the cabbies enjoy stopping every three blocks and fighting their way through the traffic so they can collect higher fares. Every time I've told a driver to take First Avenue or Third going north, I get home faster. And since I'm right on the East River, I tell most drivers to take the FDR when I'm heading south.

Like most everything else in NYC, I think it's just a scam.