Tag Archives: cab driver

Howard Beach cabbie to the stars ‘Mr. Ferrarii’ has big plans

| amatua@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Manny Anzalota

Howard Beach resident Manny Anzalota has been a New York City taxi driver for seven years but after one fateful encounter in October last year, he became “Mr. Ferrarii” — taxi driver to the stars.

Anzalota’s interaction with actor Tom Hanks has been well-documented, resulting in a post on the popular Humans of New York Facebook page; a two-page spread in InTouch Weekly; television appearances on the “Today” show and “Good Morning America”; and countless interviews in print, television and radio outlets all around the world.

After declining to give Hanks a ride at the end of his shift, Anzalota had a change of heart. He quickly recognized Hanks’ voice in the back of the cab and, mimicking Hanks’ character in the movie Cast Away, jokingly yelled out, “Wilson!”

He received a nickname from Hanks — Mr. Ferrarii because of the car logo emblazoned on his hat and shirt.

When Brandon Stanton, founder of the popular blog Humans of New York, also happened to enter Anzalota’s cab, the cabbie told Stanton his story, and Anzalota received requests for interviews from all over the world.

“The day that I went viral, everyone was calling me,” Anzalota said. “I was home for two days, my stomach was turning. I was getting lots of followers. My Facebook page went from 100 followers to about 7,000 in a matter of hours and I’m reading all the nice things people are telling me.”

Anzalota is now using his newfound fame to raise money for several organizations. Lifeline Energy, a nonprofit that designs, manufactures and distributes solar-powered and wind-up media players and radios for classroom and community listening, is teaming up with Anzolata to spread the organization’s mission. The ambassador to the nonprofit is a good friend of Anzalota’s — Tom Hanks.

“I managed to get the project guy in my car that works with Tom Hanks,” Anzalota said. “I get a lot of people to go to the site and contribute.”

Anzalota has lent his name to anti-bullying organizations, childhood cancer foundations and Girl Scouts selling cookies.

“Every time I see something going on I stop my car, come out with my [InTouch Weekly] magazine, explain to them who I am,” Anzalota said. “They love me right away. I engage with people walking and I sell out all the cookies in a matter of minutes.”

Anzalota is also working with Jack Giambanco, creator of Friendship Lights to spread “peace, love and unity” through glowing LED charms.

The cabbie is also working on creating a coffee table book with pictures and anecdotes from his passengers. He has been documenting his passengers’ stories for a while, he said, but has just started posting his collection to social media in the past few months.

“I just started learning social media in the last eight months,” Anzalota said. “I’m not that savvy tech-wise.”

His most ambitious plan is to install cameras into his taxi and conduct mini interviews with celebrities on their way to talk shows.

“That’s my goal and basically, if things work out and I’m making money, I definitely would like to buy an antique car, have pro cameras, drive people for free in the city and get their stories and donate the money to a great charity,” Anzalota said. “Every week will be a different charity.”



Queens’ Morning Roundup

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

EVENT of the DAY: A tale of two stadiums

Shea Stadium and Yankee Stadium disappear under “the slow precision of giant machinery whose operators’ hands were not unlike skilled surgeons choreographing a dinosaur ballet.” The exhibit shows the changing face of New York through the eyes and viewpoints of three photographers: Rich Scarpitta, Steve Spak and Rob Yasinac.

[Click here for more info or submit your events]

Police search for livery cab driver who allegedly tried to rape passenger 

Police are looking for a livery cab driver who allegedly tried to rape a passenger in Queens. They allege the driver followed the 20-year-old into her Astoria building after she got out of the cab Friday morning. Investigators said he grabbed her and tried to rape her. Read more: [NY1] 

City Board of Standards and Appeals green-lights large Mormon church in Flushing 

The Mormon church’s prayers to build a huge chapel in Flushing have been answered. The city Board of Standards and Appeals voted unanimously on Tuesday to approve construction of a church that is more than one-and-a-half times what is permitted under current zoning. The new chapel will be built on land owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at 145-13 33rd Ave. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

Secret plan would move the controversial Civic Virtue statue from Queens to Brooklyn 

The city has hatched a secret plan to move a controversial, crumbling public statue out of Queens and into Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, the Daily News has learned. The Triumph of Civic Virtue, which sits near Queens Borough Hall in Kew Gardens, has been both hailed as a priceless piece of public art worthy of restoration and derided as a sexist eyesore that should be trashed. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

City, federal gov’ts to work together to improve Jamaica Bay 

Nat Diaz visits Jamaica Bay often but he has other, less frequent visitors on his mind. “They’re not taking care of it,” he said. “They should be taking care of it a little more.” He’s not talking about just the city. It’s the federal government, too. Oversight of Jamaica Bay, its trails and beaches, are split between the two, which sometimes leads to, well, miscommunication. Read more: [NY1] 

JFK jet in laser scare 

A lunatic aimed a powerful laser beam at an airliner flying over Long Island on its way into JFK — sending the pilot to the hospital and endangering the lives of the 84 people aboard. The first officer on JetBlue Flight 657 from Syracuse was treated for injuries to both eyes after the blinding flash of light lit up the cockpit Sunday night — as the FBI and Suffolk cops hunted for the person responsible. He could face federal prison time. Read more: [New York Post] 

Cab Driver Charged With Raping Passenger May Be Linked To Second Attack

| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Cab Driver Charged With Raping Passenger May Be Linked To Second Attack

Police have arrested a yellow cab driver who they say raped a passenger at knifepoint in Brooklyn last spring, and sources say he may be charged with a second attack that took place in the fall. Gurmeet Singh, 40, of Queens was arrested on Monday and now faces charges including rape, robbery, assault and sex abuse. Police say Singh picked up a 26-year-old woman on May 6 in Williamsburg and allegedly attacked her in the back seat of the cab. The woman, who had been drinking and fell asleep in the cab, woke up during the assault and found she had a knife to her throat. She was then abandoned in Downtown Manhattan, where she contacted police. Read More: NY1

Mayor’s plan to limit booze sales

First, Mayor Bloomberg went after smoking in public places. Then trans-fats, salt and sugary drinks. Now Bloomberg — known for sipping fine wine and downing a cold beer from time to time — wants to crack down on alcohol sales to curb excessive drinking, according to a provocative planning document obtained by The Post. The city Health Department’s far-reaching Partnership for a Healthier New York City initiatives proposes to slash the number of establishments in the city that sell booze. Community “transformation” grants provided under President Obama’s health-care law would help bankroll the effort. Read More: New York Post

JFK Terminal 4 expansion on schedule

After a smooth takeoff, the $1.2 billion project to expand a terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFKIAT) is on track — with no foreseeable delays to its arrival destination date. Improvements to Terminal 4 — the Delta Airlines terminal, which officials say serves 10 million international passengers a year — have been underway for the past year. Upon completion in May 2013, fliers can expect to see a new mechanized baggage screening system — which officials say will expedite the process — a centralized security system on the terminal’s new fourth floor, as well as nine additional gates and a 1,500 linear foot passenger bridge to connect Terminals 2 and 4. Read More: Queens Courier

Beyoncé & Jay-Z’s $1.5M in ‘Blue’ gifts

What to get the baby that has everything — even more. Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s baby girl, Blue, has been lavished with more than $1.5 million in gifts, from a golden rocking horse to a “fantasy” crib fit for Cinderella. Blue Ivy Carter — the music world’s smallest diva — left Lenox Hill Hospital yesterday in the arms of her famous parents for home, where she’ll enjoy the priciest swag this side of Buckingham Palace. When she gets bigger, baby Blue will rock on a solid-gold, handmade horse from Japanese jeweler Ginza Tanaka that Jay-Z bought for $600,000. Read More: New York Post

Sparano to replace Schottenheimer as Jets offensive coordinator

Jets fans won’t have offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer to kick around anymore. The Jets announced last night Schottenheimer informed them he would not return for next season. It seems unlikely he would just walk away from the two years and $3.2 million left on his contract, so it appears the two sides worked out an agreement for him to walk away instead of getting fired. Former Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano, according to a source, will replace Schottenheimer.  Read More: New York Post

Genovese wiseguy Anthony Romanello lucks out, cops to gambling rap with feds 

A Genovese geezer hit the daily double Tuesday, pleading guilty to illegal gambling and winning permission from a federal judge to hang out with a mobbed-up pal who runs the famed Parkside Restaurant in Queens. Reputed capo Anthony (Rom) Romanello, 74, got lucky when a cooperating witness for the feds had a heart attack over the weekend while prosecutors were prepping him for the gangster’s trial, which was to begin this week. Read More: Daily News

Police searching for man that attacked cab driver in Richmond Hill

| brennison@queenscourier.com

102 pct pic 1

Police are searching for a man who robbed and assaulted a livery cab driver in Richmond Hill recently.

The suspect placed the driver, 59, in a headlock causing the cab to crash into a fence in front a house on 112th Street at approximately 3:30 a.m. on Saturday, December 17, police said.  The suspect took money from the driver’s bag and fled.

Police describe the suspect as a Hispanic approximately 25 years of age, standing 5-feet-7-inches-tall, weighing 170 pounds.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call Crime stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.