Tuesday, July 05, 2011

NEW YORK CITY!!!!!!!!!!!

I did it. I survived New York City and the National RWA conference. Normally, when I go to a writing conference, I seldom leave the hotel. As a rule, the fear of becoming road kill isn’t part of my conference phobias. Mostly they consist of toe pain, back of the heel blisters, wardrobe malfunctions, and brain farts when talking to editors and readers due to too much wine and staying up late giggling with the roommates. But since this trip, I’ve added the road kill phobia to my list of things to obsess over before attending a conference. You see, this year I had meetings, and parties to attend all over the Big Apple. Which meant, I had to hail a lot of taxicabs.

Now, I’m the type of person who learns by watching others. And not being a complete idiot, I did just that. I went outside and for a good hour, I studied the art of taxi hailing. Problem is that everyone had a slightly different approach. Some people used the two finger approach; some had the one finger technique down. I heard some people whistle. Some people just held out their hand, and continued talking on the phone or chatting with friends and a taxi came running over like a hungry dog at dinner time. Some people just stood on the curbside and those yellow go-mobiles would screech to a halt right in front of them. I mean, they might have wiggled a brow at the driver, but if they did, I missed it.

I know that you city folks are probably laughing at this country bumpkin. But, seriously, I’d never hailed a cab before. I hadn’t ridden in a taxi until I was almost drinking age. In the south, we believe in cars. And if your car is broken down, we believe in calling a cousin. If their car is broken down, we call another one. That’s why we have plenty of cousins in the south.

As a southern lady, I’m not much of a risk taker. And while taxi hailing might not be up there with bull riding or jumping out of perfectly good airplanes, it was pretty darn scary.

When you’re standing on the side of the street in Times Square and the yellow cars are zipping past so fast that all you see is a golden blur, that’s risky. Now consider that you’re short, so you have to actually get on the street to be seen, it doesn’t feel like no small feat. Not that it can’t be done by vertically-challenged individuals, because I watched one of my editors, about my height, get me a cabbie in no time flat. But me . . . ha! After standing there for a good twenty or thirty minutes, knowing I was going to be late for my meeting, this southern, soft-spoken lady, got downright pissy. I mean, when people to the left, and people to right of me were getting carted off like royalty while I stood curbside, my arm muscles aching from all my hailing a cab attempts, I was tempted to go from the two finger technique to the one finger salute.

Seriously, the way those taxi drivers were zipping down 45th and 46th street, it appeared they got points for every tourist they either passed by or ran over. One point for the Jersey people, five points for the tourists from bordering states and a whole-heartedly ten points for tourists who were cab hailing impaired, talked funny and said y’all, and were crazy enough to go out wearing something other than a shade of black. And one look at my poor-hailing capabilities while dressed in my brightly colored wardrobe, and they had me down as a y’all-speaking ten-pointer at first glance. I had several near death experiences and was late for three events.

One of those experiences had a taxi so close that if it had been a man, I could have had him arrested. I’m not blaming anyone here, but I had followed my wonderful agent into the swirl of traffic. Yup, her Jersey-hailing approach was a tad different. She didn’t wait for the crazy yellow vehicles to come to her, she went to them. Not that I don’t appreciate her go-getter attitude; it’s what a writer wants in an agent. I just wouldn’t enjoy admiring her abilities from the underside of a taxi or while standing in the street with my backside kissing a bumper. In her defense, she didn’t tell me to follow her, but considering she had more hailing capabilities, I wasn’t about to let her out of my sight during rush hour.

Ahh, but other than a few near misses, I had a blast. I stayed up too late giggling with my roomies and met up with three of my Killer Fiction gals.

I had the honor to say hello to some of my favorite authors, got to walk out on the balcony of the Flat Iron building, ate fancy hors d’oeuvres and drank some good wine at my publisher parties. I signed books until my hand cramped, learned a few more things to stuff in my educational bank, and met up with some of my own readers.

Yes, I experienced some toe pain, bandaged a few heel blisters, suffered through a few brain farts, but thankfully only had wardrobe malfunctions in the privacy of my hotel room. Life was good in New York City. And I plan to go back the first chance I get. But you can bet your bottom dollar that I’m practicing my taxicab hailing. I wonder if they teach that class at my community college.

So. . . what’s going on with you guys this summer? Are you going on vacation? Do you love the big cities? Are you taxicab hailing impaired? Any hailing advice you’d like to share with me?



Sandy said...

LOL Christie, I laughed so hard over your blog.

When I'm in New York, I mostly walk everywhere other than to and from the airport. I have taken the bus a few times, which was great.

I also watch the intersections. Cars have the right of way you know.

Loved it, CC.

Anonymous said...

New York was fun, but this Southern girl decidedly would rather stick to the smaller towns, like Houston. :-)

Those cabbies had even me, a self proclaimed aggressive, defensive driver shaking in my boots. They make their own lanes, for goodness sakes!!! Scared the be-jeebers outta me.

Great post, CC.


Christie Craig said...

Hi Sandy,

Walking is much safer. LOL. Next time, maybe I'll brave the subway. Or not!

Thanks for stopping in.


Christie Craig said...


Well, I feel better knowing I was the only one suffering taxi phobia. LOL.

Thanks for dropping in.

Linda Warren said...

Thanks for the laugh. I love NYC. It's like no place on earth. I was bummed I didn't get to go to the conference. Next year, yes! But it won't be NYC.


Loretta Wheeler said...

Awww, Christie...loved this killer post!:)...you have my sympathy AND admiration. I've never done NYC (wish I had:) but, I have done Madrid. Much the same madness, only the taxi's are black. So, you're not even sure what you're hailing...a cab, or a funeral procession.
For some reason I was the one the group always "volunteered" to do the hailing, WHY I don't know, because I'm a short person like you. It was such a spectacle they took pictures. I seemed to nab the cabs though...maybe it was the shock value of seeing a short blonde charging at them (not many blondes over there)...haven't got a clue, so I have no techniques to share. Frankly, I was hoping you could pass on a few!:)
Loved the "glimpse" of the convention...I'm getting into vicarious living...:)

Christie Craig said...

Hi Linda,

It was great in NY. I missed running into you. Thanks so much for stopping in.


Christie Craig said...


I think you would have done just fine hailing a Taxi. LOL. You are real character.

Thanks so much stopping in and sharing.


Robin Kaye said...

LOL Christie--And to think I sent my friend back to the hotel with you thinking you had experience in these things. LOL It's like the blind leading the blind!

Taxi hailing tips from a native New Yorker--I never thought about how I hail a cab until now. I stand on the curb, not the street because there are often puddles in the street at the curb and yuck, you don't want to step in that.

I face traffic lean sideways in toward the street and raise my arm--I raise one or two fingers depending on my mood--just be sure if you're only raising one, it's the pointer finger that's up.

Once a cab stops you must move fast to cut off any other cab stealer--there are tons of them out there. Elbowing a cab stealer is acceptable but whoever gets the door open is the winner--unless the man is really cute and you can slide into the seat, smile up to him and then thank him for his help. Sometimes that works, but be prepared to get pulled out of the seat and told off, or share a cab with said hot guy.

There, that's all I can come up with. My Dad used to whistle for cabs--but I haven't done that since I was a kid. Riding the subways are easy, and though I never was much of a bus person, I hear they're great too.

It was such fun seeing you, Diane, and Amanda at the St. Martin's Party!

Brandy said...

I've never been to NY. Through it on the way to somewhere else, but not actually visited. And the only taxi ride I've ever been in was in MS and the driver was INSANE. He looked a lot like what you think a serial killer looks like and drove 80 miles an hour. Yeah. Never doing that again.
Loved your post!

Christie Craig said...


LOL. Thank you, girl. Those tips will help. I'm sharpening my elbows before returning back to NY.

And about your request to get Laura back to the hotel...? Well, I wandered about that. The only reason I agreed to it was because I knew my agent would be riding back with me. Who knew that my agent would almost get Laura and I both killed with her Jersy cab-hailing ways. LOL. Hey...I chalk it up as a wonderful memory.

Great to spend some time with you, Robin! And to meet your wonderful critique partners. Do you ever loan them out??? LOL.


Christie Craig said...


I swear every cab driver I had looked like perfect material for a seriel killer.

Thanks for making me feel almost normal. LOL.


Diane Kelly said...

My marketing person had to hail a cab for me when I was in NYC, so I can totally relate to your blog, Christie! : )

Great photos! The Flatiron building was so unique!

Meb Bryant said...

I can imagine you "helling" a cab!

Linda McDonald said...

That is so funny! As someone who has rarely ever been in a taxi, I totally don't know the hailing the cab technique either.

Sounds like you had a great time at the conference. I'm looking forward to going to my first RWA conference next year in Anaheim. :)

As for trips, we are doing a road trip to national parks in August. Yellowstone, Glacier, and then on up into the Canadian Rockies. I'm really looking forward to it.

Christie Craig said...

Hi Diane,

I wonder if the taxi-hailing handicap is common in Texans? LOL.

The Flat Iron building was unique.

Thanks for stopping by.


Christie Craig said...

Hi Meb,

It took a while, but I eventually got me a cab. LOL.

Thanks for stopping in.


Christie Craig said...


Thanks for making me feel less like a total idiot. You vacation sounds fabulous. Enjoy.


Nancy Kay Bowden said...

Fun post, Christie! The only thing scarier than NYC taxis are the blue NYC Supershuttles that will literally hop a sidewalk full of pedestrians. Last time I was in NYC my fellow shuttle passengers and I started counting pedestrians we almost hit (about a 1000.) I think the NYC Supershuttle drivers go through special kill-all training.

As for hailing a taxi, never stand near someone taller than you hailing a taxi--unless you're together!
I think a fake foam finger/hand from a sports event might catch their eye too!

So happy you had a blast in NYC!!!

Anonymous said...

Well, I hate to be the one to break it to you, but you could have had the doorman hail one for you. :-)
Jenn and I ended up with a stretch limo going to the airport! I'm still not sure how we managed that one. Of course, I had white knuckled Weber next to me. She wouldn't listen when I kept telling her to just NOT look where we were going!!!