There are two things that Jersey City just doesn’t seem to have figured out yet. One is how to make a good pizza. The other is how to drive a cab.
Let’s start with pizza. We’ve been here about six months, and while we don’t eat pizza incessantly, we do order it a few times a month. And we have had abysmal luck at finding good pizza parlors.
This was particularly surprising to us, given that you can scamper a half-mile across the Hudson to Manhattan, where there is no shortage of really, really good pizza. I would have thought that some of that might have been smuggled over to the Jersey side, intentionally or otherwise. I would have thought wrong.
We’ve tried a number of places: some recommended; some located online; some pulled at random from a phonebook in a moment of desperation. Of all places, it turns out Pizza Hut is the only place we’ve found that serves up a palatable dish. No offense to Pizza Hut, but if that’s the best pizza in a neighborhood, then the neighborhood has some ‘splainin to do.
We have also had pretty bad luck with cabs. Again, unlike Manhattan, cabs are not plentiful throughout all areas of the city. In certain places, at certain times, you can hail one if needed, but generally you’re going to have to call ahead if you actually expect a car to be anywhere within a hundred blocks of your position.
Given that I travel to and from the airport on a fairly regular basis, I’ve been experimenting with different cab services. Not because it amuses me; because I keep having such crappy experiences with each place that I vow never to use that company again.
Why not just use the taxis that are waiting at the airport, you ask? Three reasons: they’re stupidly expensive; the experience of being lined up and herded into them at the airport makes me envy cattle at a stockyard; and the safety standards in the cars themselves are suspect, at best.
So I keep trying the different companies around the area.
A few weeks ago, on our way back from one trip, my wife and I called for a car as soon as we got off the plane. We went and picked up our bags at baggage claim, then went outside to wait for the car we’d called.
That was our first mistake. Evidently someone ahead of us had elected not to bother waiting, and had just hopped in our cab and taken off. We found this out when we called the taxi company to inquire as to where in the dangling hell our cab was, and were told that the driver had already left, and they were going to have to send someone else.
Could you please have the driver make sure that they’re actually picking up the right person this time, I asked?
I’ll call your cell when the car arrives, responded the dispatch.
I was not reassured.
So we waited.
As chance would have it, a car from another company was waiting there. He’d been there almost as long as we had, and was coming to the realization that whoever had booked his cab had long since taken off. After a quick discussion we realized that we were in a position to help each other: we needed a cab, and he needed passengers. Done and done.
About halfway home, my phone rang. The cab we’d ordered in the first (or second) place was finally pulling up to the airport. I let the phone ring, pulled out my little black book, and added yet another cab company to the ever grown list of places I will never call again.
Image by Phillie Casablanca.