American Taxi Driver

American Taxi

On Thursday, I took a taxi to work.

Today (Saturday), I was crossing the street and saw the same taxi driver who drove me to work. He remembered me.

He should have remembered me after all we been through…

On Thursday I flagged him down…not knowing he didn’t know a lick of ENGLISH! I hopped in, told him my destination.

Right away he started speeding down the road in the right direction but little did I know that he did not understand what I said.

When we reach the first red light, he turned around to confirm the address… And he did not know WHAT I was saying. I didn’t know what he was saying either.  I tried to remember all the Spanish I could remember but my brain was stuck. No matter what I did, all I could think of was the word libro. And he asked me  sabes un poco de español? I didn’t know what to say to that.  But I thought to myself: Well, yeah, I do but I’m not in the mood to be searching my brain for my poor spanish vocabulary!

This was the beginning of a stop and go trip as we drove through the BRONX seeking good Samaritans who wouldn’t mind translating.

(You must be asking yourself: why didn’t I get out the taxi and take another one? Well, I wanted to see where this trip will lead and I put myself in his shoes. If I was in a Spanish-speaking country, and I was an English taxi driver, I would want my passenger to have some type of mercy on me.)

First we flagged down a Latino elder gentleman who told the taxi driver what area in the Bronx I wanted to go to, not the exact place.

Next, when we got to the area, we attempted to flag down an old lady but I think she thought the taxi driver was hitting on her because she ignored him. And he said Ella, ignorando las and moved on to another person who looked like she was in her 20’s (we were in an area with very little people) who said she didn’t speak ENGLISH. (We had many more attempts but I kept telling him to Go! The only word he seemed to understand).

By this time I was confused. I asked myself many times where America was heading. It’s scary. English seems to be the second language of the country.

Oh, you are also probably wondering why he didn’t use his GPS- He didn’t have one! Neither did he have a phone (Not knocking him for not having a phone because I didn’t have one either).

Finally, we came to a shopping center and flagged down a young Latino guy who was a lot of help.  He translated everything pretty well and when he was done we were one block away from the place. I could have gotten out to walk but I didn’t know the area well and we had to ask a white taxi driver who directed us to make a left turn.

Finally we reached the place safely.

When I was crossing the street today, he was at the stop sign and when  he saw me his eyes widen and he waved endlessly with a huge grin. All the while, he was speaking in Spanish, as if to tell me in so many words, this is my country, learn my language.

I was happy to see him too. I waved and said: How are you doing?! Even though I knew how to say it in Spanish.

Living in the Bronx II

Living in the Bronx II

I have learned to LISTEN closely for the train

I know when to run for the train

Which way is it going??

North or South

UPtown or



i have learned to WAIT for the BUS


just in case I am running LATE

I know when to run for the Bus…and when the Bus driver will wait

or when he will just leave me standing there waving

I have learned when to just walk and listen to my IPOD

because only in a blue moon or a New Dawning will the bus drivers in the Bronx wait or stop to pick you up.

OH, like when PRESIDENT OBAMA won presidency… That was like a NEW DAWNING. I caught the bus. The bus driver even greeted Me.

I have learned when to SPEAK and when not to SPEAK and

Just in case I speak when I should have not spoken

I know when to pick up my walking pace.

oh, like when that man said good morning

not everybody wishes each other a good morning

are you wishing everyone who passes by a good morning or

just me??

I’ll say good morning and

walk a little faster- JUST IN CASE

I’ve learned when to look

when to pay attention

or when to simply ignore

Like. A Beggar. when to ask and when not to ask.

or like a driver. when to go and when not to Go.

And I learned all of this living in the Bronx

The Material Thing

The Material Thing

I could tell by the way he carried that thing that his heart was torn between me and it. He was with it everyday.

Almost Every night.

I wonder who would he choose. What would he choose. If he had to.

Sometimes I’m grateful it’s not another person.

Other times I wish I had a thing I was devoted to

as much as he.

At least I don’t think I have a thing, but he says I do:

Your Cannon, your camera

I say:

You dress up for your thing

He says:

You do too!

I say:

you carry it almost everywhere.

He says:

You do too!

I tell him

sometimes I can’t stand it.

He say’s

Sometimes I can’t stand it too.

The other night, he was late to a function. My function to be exact. Really late.

All my friends and family were already present.

He and his thing went out. They had a jig. He was jamming.

When he came to my function, he was late but light hearted.

At least he was light. Free. Fun.

He looked good.

He had a tux on.

I bet.

I think.


I know he dresses  for his thing.

This makes me a little jealous.

I was jealous.

He walked in with the thing on his back.

Looking Cool.

Almost with a Miles Davis swag-

but not quite because he swag, is his swag.

He sat beside me.

Well, this was after I happily helped him take his thing off his back and put it on the floor. Now he was free.

The function continued.

Even though his thing was on the floor,

his fingers were constantly moving.

His pen

His staff paper

were always ready.

I was going to reach out to hold his hand but I didn’t.

I kinda enjoyed seeing his rhythm.

I wanted to tell him

you never wore a tux for me

but I could tell that he was happily torn

I wanted to tell him that I loved the shirt and the tye

but I could tell that he was happily torn

And honestly, I didn’t mind

So, I just picked up my canon and snapped

A shot of him being happily torn.

To which he asked me to put the camera down

He said

I like seeing you free. And not- Torn.




And with that, he held my hand.


Shopping at the Flagship Lord and Taylor

Frequent shoppers at Lord and Taylor know what to expect when they first walk into the store until they leave. They know what floor to go on for what item, first for cosmetics and fragrance, second for BCBG and lady shoes, and tenth for Men clothing. They know that as soon as they enter they will be greeted with a kind smile and warm (sometimes to warm) welcome by the sales associates.

Hi, Welcome to Lord and Taylor.

And then the rat race will begin. The race to drain you of all your money.

Will you like to try Peace, Love,  Juicy Couture fragrance?

And usually before you say yes or no, the sales associate will spray your wrist. And will only tell you the price when you take out your wallet.

Peace, Love, Juicy Couture fragrance scent is what all New York women are wearing. You can wear it anytime, anyplace and anywhere. Do you like the way it smells? Here, let me give you this.

And the sales associate would probably give you a sheet of paper with the scent on it or better yet, a cut lace with the scent. And continue talking.

It is made with lemon, hyacinth, sweet apple and honeysuckle.

If this is a good sales associate, the list will not stop at honeysuckle.

This bottle is filled with eartly treasures such as meyer lemon tree blossom, wild hyacinth, sweet apple accord, black currant bud absolute, sambac jasmine absolute, star magnolia, malibu poppy, honeysuckle, linden blossom, orris extract, sheer patchouli flower, and enveloping musks*.

And after that long list of ingredients, the sales associate will take a breath and you will be able to finally say, No thank you. But it will not stop there! As soon as you turn the corner, another sales associate will be there to offer you another fragrance and its sample and more sale associates will appear! And when you finally exit out of the fragrance department, you will enter the cosmetics.

After dodging the cosmetics department, you will have to pick up your walking pace  to catch the elevator that is not to far from you. Because experience Lord and Taylor shoppers know that waiting for the elevator is like waiting for the train.

Unless, you rather take the escalator. Which gives you a view of each floor.

If you are a frequent shopper at Lord and Taylor, you would know

which floor is best for your budget.

at least one sales associate who will be happy to see you again.

that looking around the store will lead to buying something eventually, so it’s best not to look around too long.

if you get hungry there is a Sarabeth’s on the 5th and 6th floors.

you can call the store to see if they have your item.

there are plenty of dressing rooms, and trying on clothes are always encouraged.

a sales associate will wait on you until you are ready to purchase.

you will always be offered a credit card.

shopping with your friends makes the experience all the better.

returns are a pain for the shopper and the sales associate.

each floor have little sofas for tired shoppers.

And, if you leave you will always look forward to going again.

Lorda and Taylor

Sales Associate

* visit for information on Peace, Love, Juicy Couture.

This is a picture of a sale associate at Lord and Taylor who always talk to me about my career and encourage me to pursue my dreams and then encourage me to shop.

Living in the Bronx

Living in the Bronx

I have learned MANY THINGS While living in the Bronx….

I have learned to LISTEN closely for the TRAIN…


I have learned to LISTEN closely for announcements….

excuse me ladies and gentlemen….if you see something say something…don’t stand next to the platform…

offer your seat to the elderly…and the disabled

I have learned to LISTEN closely for my stop…

the next stop will be East Tremont Ave



Next to Lord and Taylor on 25 West 38th Street is a small boutique named YEOHLEE or some may say it’s name is ‘Made in Midtown’

YEOHLEE clothing is similar to the clothing designer I once interned for, Ivy H.

It is very simple and the material is fine and comfortable.

When I entered the store I was greeted by a kind sales man who insisted that I call him Ito.  I just went in to look around and Ito made me feel comfortable and spent time with me talking about YEOHLEE’s style and clothing in general.

He even told me about the special ceiling of the store and how it follows YEOHLEE’s theme of  being Made in Mid-Town’ because it is recycled aluminum from Mid-Town.

As we were walking through the store and looking at the clothes, Ito told me about each thing I touched.

‘Oh, that material is called…’

‘this actually can be worn year around’

‘its the perfect Christmas present for a mom…’

And we kept talking about the clothing and YEOHLEE’s amazing art. Her ability to create the treads to something that look comfortable and probably 99.9 percent of the time feels comfortable.

Yeohlee believes that “clothes have magic.” She dresses the “urban nomad”, a term she coined for her Fall 1997 collection, defining a lifestyle that requires clothing that works on a variety of practical and psychological levels. She is a master of design management and believes in the efficiency of year-round, seasonless clothes. Yeohlee’s designs have earned a permanent place in the Costume Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where the late Richard Martin, then Chief Curator, called her “one of the most ingenious makers of clothing today.”

I encourage you to pay YEOHLEE a visit.