Cinematographer Documenting Short Stint As a Taxi Driver Finds Cast of Characters
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A sword swallower, a rap musician, and a supermodel from China are among the colorful cast of characters that a cinematographer, Steven Capstick, has encountered during the first part of his two-week stint as a New York City taxi driver. Through Saturday, the 39-year-old Denver resident is offering free taxi rides to New Yorkers willing to hop in the black-and-yellow hatchback that Mr. Capstick has been driving through New York since June 10.
Armed with a city map, Mr. Capstick, a bespectacled, married father of a 12-year-old daughter, scopes out customers who appear to be trying, unsuccessfully, to hail a city taxi. Mr. Capstick, who has driven more than 400 miles in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, said the road rules of New York City are different than they are just about anywhere else.
“You’re constantly playing the ‘What if?’ game,” he said. “What if that car pulls out? What if that woman steps into the road?” So far the best advice about New York driving has come from a veteran yellow cab driver. Recalled Mr. Capstick: “He said, ‘The first three rules are relax, relax, relax.'”
Mr. Capstick hosts a public access cable television show, and was hired as part of Volkswagen’s “Gypsy Cab Project” to promote this summer’s relaunch of the VW Rabbit. All of Mr. Capstick’s interactions with riders were filmed and can be seen at www.gypsycabproject.com – if the customers sign a release. So far, he’s provided transportation for about 70 New Yorkers and tourists. He estimated that about 15 skeptical would-be customers have refused the free ride.
“He’s very disarming with people,” a film producer working on the project, Trevor Herrick, 36, said. “He explains to people what he’s doing, and they seem to be put at ease by his manner.”