May 3, 2020


Today, a heartening story about Parmelee taxis, which ran in 1937 in Tudor City View, the enclave's monthly magazine. Parmelee had an exclusive deal in the colony, leasing the community taxi stand at the corner of 41st Street and Prospect Place. The article, below, is a thinly disguised promotion for Parmelee.

A very charming resident of The Manor went out of her way the other day to recount a story that we are sure will interest every reader of this community gazette. It seems that she and her niece were going to take in the Music Hall and, as so many residents do, hailed a Parmelee cab at the door. They were quickly driven over to Rockefeller Center and my informant paid the fare, which wasn't very much. So far so good.
1930s Parmelee cabs ad
However, the niece insisted that the show was going to be on her, and reached for the pocketbook that usually nestled under her arm. It (the pocketbook, not the arm) was gone. Well, the two ladies thought, we are in a pickle.
But our friendly resident of The Manor, who knows the ways of Parmelee drivers, still had her pocketbook, and before entering the theater she phoned the dispatcher and asked him to be on the lookout for a missing pocketbook that had, besides the usual things that girls carry, $17 in real money. 
Returning to Tudor City, the theater-goers stopped at the dispatcher's little booth on Prospect Place and 41st Street, and the pocketbook was returned. Miss Niece, in New York on a holiday, was more than overjoyed. 
Now there is a tail to this tale, and we heard it from the taxi driver. He picked up another fare immediately after dropping our people at the Music Hall. As he turned around to drop his meter flag, he noticed his new passenger picking up something from the floor of the cab.  
"I'll have to ask you to show me what you picked up," the well-trained cabby told his new fare.
"And why?" the passenger asked. 
"Because it's a company rule," the driver answered politely. 
"Whadda I care for rules?" the passenger retorted. 
"Well, if you don't show me what you picked up, it is a company order that I take you to the nearest police station." 
That did the trick. The pocketbook was turned over. The driver phoned the dispatcher and all ended well.  
The driver, in telling his part of the story smiled brightly as he finished, and whispered: "You should have seen the size of the tip I got!"
The corner of 41st Street and Prospect Place in 1935, showing taxis lined up around the perimeter of the tennis courts (today the site of No. 2). The dispatcher's booth, circled.

More about Tudor City and taxis here

For more tall-ish tales, check out the story of the gal, the gob, the diamond ring and the carrier pigeon

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