New York City taxi cab driver Eugene Salomon once picked up a young man smoking a “cigar bigger than his face,” and when the exuberant youth got in the back seat, he immediately demanded that Salomon recognize him.
“I’m an actor, man!” the kid said. “Did you see This Boy’s Life? I played with De Niro, man!” Salomon hadn’t seen the movie, or any other other movies the young man claimed to have appeared in. But as he continued to talk to his passenger, he learned the kid’s name.
The story comes from Salomon’s new book, Confessions of a New York Taxi Driver, which hits stores from publisher HarperCollins on January 28, in New York City and everywhere else.
That wasn’t the end of the Leo story, however, as a New York Post summary of the book pointed out. When they reached DiCaprio’s destination, the then-popular nightclub Spy, DiCaprio asked, “Who was the biggest celebrity tipper you ever had in your cab?”
Salomon told him it was tennis player John McEnroe, who once tipped him double the total fare on the meter.
“I’m gonna give you triple the meter!” the future Wolf of Wall Street star declared. Which he proceeded to actually do.
Salomon counted 114 celebrity passengers in his 37 years at the wheel of a New York City taxi, going back to the city’s nightlife heyday of the late 1970s.
Among the other stars he’s driven around New York City, Salomon says — according to publicity material for the book — are: Lauren Bacall, Sean Penn and Dennis Hopper, Simon and Garfunkel, Tony Bennett, Robin Williams, Norman Mailer, Suzanne Vega, Kevin Kline, Dan Ackroyd, Diane Keaton and, yes, even Kevin Bacon.”
Salomon gave two rides to legendary singer/songwriter Paul Simon — half of the Simon and Garfunkel duo — who, in addition to penning such hits as “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” “Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard,” and “Call Me Al,” is also known as an ardent New York Yankees fan.
“You should buy the Yankees!” Salomon once suggested to Simon.
“I don’t have that kind of money,” the singer shot back. “You should talk to McCartney.”
In addition to his New York City celebrity tales, Salomon is not short of other sordid stories from the back seat of his cab. If you want to know if people really have sex in taxicabs, with the driver just feet away in the front, the answer is definitely yes.
One couple jumped in his cab and immediately started going at it — though not first without courteously asking, “You don’t mind if we have sex in your cab, do you?
As the web site Gothamist recounts, When Salomon pulled alongside a police cruiser, he asked the female officer if what was happening just over his shoulder was legal. The cop responded by getting on her megaphone and loudly commanding, “Hey, you, lady in the taxi — get off that guy right now!”
Other crazy tales of cab life include the senior citizens who engaged in the most passionate make-out session Salomon ever witnessed, a girl who stopped the can seven times to get out and vomit, and the blood-soaked former Marine who came directly from a New York City bar fight, saying to Salomon, “I hope I didn’t kill him.”