NYC taxi drivers reveal best stops for food and more in viral TikTok series – New York Post

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On any given day, Kareem Rahma might find himself hopping into the back of a yellow cab in the afternoon and dancing on top of it with the driver by nightfall.
In his new TikTok series, “Keep the Meter Running,” anything goes. 
Anything that the cabbie wants to do, that is. 
“If they want to go to a mosque, we go to a mosque,” Rahma, 36, a stand-up comedian living in Bedford-Stuyvesant, told The Post. “If they want to play soccer, we go to Pier 40 and play soccer.”
For each installment of the series, which has amassed nearly 4 million views over seven clips posted since the Oct. 24 debut, Rahma hails a taxi and strikes up a conversation with a willing cabbie, asking questions about their life and interests beyond the wheel.
He then tells the driver to “keep the meter running” as they proceed to spend hours exploring off-the-beaten-path spots in NYC, frequently heading to some of the cabbie’s favorite haunts.
Rahma covers the costs of their food and expeditions. And, at the end of each ride — some of which have lasted 10 hours with meters ticking to more than $600 — he pays the fare and includes a tip of at least 15%. The project is funded by New York-based media company Mad Realities. 
“These cab drivers have so much wisdom regardless of their age,” said Rahma, who’s been schooled on everything from sacred Islamic prayers to mid-20th-century Tibetan history since launching his cab driver-focused production. “There is so much faith in their daily lives.”
For his first foray in early October, Rahma, along with filmmaker pals Adam Faze and Ari Cagan, hopped a train from Brooklyn to downtown Manhattan and started hailing cabs.
After receiving an emphatic “No” from more than a half-dozen drivers who didn’t want to be filmed, the trio met Pakistani geologist-turned-Big Apple taxi driver Abdur. He agreed to give them a glimpse into his world in Queens. 
Footage of their hours-long excursion through Jackson Heights — spent unearthing crystals found in rocks lining suburban streets, dining on authentic Pakistani food and exchanging nuggets of wisdom such as Abdur’s advice to Rahma, who is divorced, about having “one wife for life” — garnered 3.4 million TikTok views.
But Rahma insists he isn’t motivated by the prospect of racking up digital clicks and followers.
“I love hanging out with these cab drivers, and learning so much about the city and life from them,” he said. His late father became a cabbie in Minneapolis after relocating to the U.S. from Egypt in the 1970s. Connecting with New York City’s cab drivers, many of whom are from the Middle East, lends the comedian a sense of home. 
“These people are very under-appreciated and some have had f- -king hard lives,” Rahma continued. “So I’m like, ‘Yo, take a break with me, let’s grab something to eat, do something fun, but keep the meter running.’”
Here are some of the coolest places cabbies have taken Rahma so far.
During his inaugural ride, Abdur took Rahma for lunch at Pakistani eatery Dera Restaurant & Sweet on Broadway in Jackson Heights. There, the professional funny man was introduced to what he now considers one of his favorite bites, karahi gosht, a dish made of tender goat that’s been slow-cooked in a blend of vegetables, spices and yogurt. “Dera is this big cafeteria restaurant where other cab drivers and their families eat,” said Rahma. “I asked Abdur why he likes this place and he said because it reminds him of home.”
A Tibetan driver named JJ, who grew up in India and moved to the United States in 2008, introduced Rahma to taxi-stand restaurant Dil-E Punjab Deli at 170 Ninth Ave. It’s a “hole-in-the-wall” eatery where cabbies are welcome to park, use the facilities and grab a bite to eat at a reasonable price. There, he scarfed down the Punjabi dahi curry, a traditional Indian dish of crispy onion fritters dunked in a savory yogurt sauce. “Anyone can eat at the taxi-stand restaurants, but taxi drivers usually go there because other places won’t let them park for free or use the bathroom,” said Rahma. He learned that, since the pandemic, nearly half of the city’s 80 taxi-stand restaurants have closed, leaving only around 40 available for NYC’s estimated 174,924 licensed cabbies to use.
Although it’s the largest pier alongside the Hudson River, Rahma, a New Yorker for more than a decade, hadn’t spent much time at Pier 40. That is, until he and JJ, who played semi-professional soccer before taking his seat behind the wheel, decided to hit the field and kick the ball around for 45 minutes. The field, where kids and adults often play both organized and pick-up games, is also where JJ plays soccer with a cabbie group, mostly made up of cab and Uber drivers. “I couldn’t believe I was there playing soccer with a guy I’d just met 20 minutes ago,” Rahma said with a chuckle. He and JJ ended the night dancing to Tibetan pop music on the side of a city street. 
In an upcoming edition of “Keep the Meter Running,” Rahma will set out on a 10-hour journey with cabbie Ali, originally from Morocco. Rahma tells The Post that they enjoy “the best food I’ve had in the past 5 years” at a little-known spot called Little Morocco on Steinway Street in Astoria. “At Little Morocco, we had a huge feast of chicken tagines, lamb shanks and lentil soups,” said Rahma. “If you ask a cab driver where you should eat, they’re going to take you to a spot that almost no one knows about, where the food is affordable and f- -king good.”


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