17August2006Farmers3.jpg

I broke my personal record for the single most lucrative fare I’ve ever taken in my five years a yellow cabbie. I drove a couple who’d been out on the town shopping all day to their place off Farmer’s Boulevard in Queens. We listened to the traffic report, and when they heard Matt Ward say that there was a jam on the Van Wyck, they told me to take the Belt. I warned them that it would be extremely expensive because it’s about twice the distance, but they assured me that cash wasn’t an issue.

As we crossed the Manhattan Bridge I handed my Caselogic full of cassette tapes that I’d collected between 1983 and 1991 through the partition. “It’s gonna be a drive, so why don’t you pick out some tunes,” I suggested as I always do when I’ve got a working tape deck and a long haul ahead of me. They settled on Nina Simone, and we were jamming to Mississippi Goddamn by the time we merged onto the BQE.

But I thought I’d drop some knowledge on them, so I said, “If we’re heading to Farmer’s Boulevard, I feel like we should be rockin’ the bells with some LL Cool J.” They LOVED it. Cackling laughter filled the cab. The girl kicked the back of my seat repeatedly as she literally slapped her knee. The guy, when he finally caught his breath, shouted, “OOOOOH SNAP. My boy said . . . my boy said ‘LL Cool J’ . . . White boy said ‘ROCK THE BELLS.’” I was very proud.

I was their hero for the rest of the ride. We all showed off our old school hip hop knowledge, biting rhymes from LL, RunDMC, The Beastie Boys (that was me), and the Treacherous Three. We listened to half of "Walking With The Panther." And then they stiffed me on the tip.

The fare was $67, and they said they said they weren’t expecting it to be that much. I really didn’t mind, and I told them a tip on good food in the neighborhood would be more appreciated than money anyway.

17August2006Farmers2.jpg

They enthusiastically informed me of Kuntry Bickle back out on Farmer’s Boulevard. The girl was Jamaican, and she implored me to order the ox tail as though it was a matter of life and death. So I did, and I’ve never enjoyed ox tail so thoroughly. The meat was succulent, and it pulled off the bone without much effort. Unfortunately, my plate was heavy on the vegetables and light on the ox tail. I can’t say it was a good deal, but I shouldn’t have been surprised since the recommendation came from a couple who clearly didn’t have much regard for bargains.

Still, I was happy to have found a tasty spot on Farmer’s, because back in the day before I was THC, I used to hang up on the corner eating the pickles people see. Always told the brothers if I got a contract, when the money started flowin’ I’d be back. To eat a meal against all odds. . . Introduce the eater #1 to Farmer’s Boulevard.

17August2006Farmers4.jpg

Kuntry Bickle, 138-30 Farmer’s Blvd., Queens, 718-990-8929