SU machinist, Taxi Man spends free time driving his taxi cab

A local Syracuse man rebuilt his taxi and offers people like SU coach Jim Boeheim rides.

A row of antique yellow-checkered taxicabs lined the road of Brooklyn’s dilapidated Box Street in June. The vehicles stood out with vivid hues on a street populated by warehouses. While this Checker Car Club of America’s annual convention might seem an oddity for most New Yorkers, it’s a tradition for 53-year-old Syracuse resident Phillip Arnold.

Nearly 250 miles from the city, Arnold works at a Syracuse University. He started on campus as a janitor and now builds an eclectic mix of machinery in the Physics Building subbasement. While Arnold’s day job involves constructing tags for hummingbirds and supercolliders for foreign countries, his fascination lays with his own checkered taxicab.

He originally purchased the rundown vehicle in 2003 at a car lot in New York City. Although he’s still maintaining the cab 12 years later, he also has his share of taxi stories to tell.

Arnold remembers driving SU men’s basketball team coach Jim Boeheim into the Carrier Dome during Midnight Madness in 2013.

“He was in the back seat for 10 minutes, and he’s not the most talkative guy,” Arnold said.

The backseat door of the cab now has Boeheim’s signature to prove the ride happened.

Driving around in the cab, Arnold knows he will always enjoy the routes.

“I’m going to be like that old fart with a taxi," he said. "I told my kids already they’re going to have to pry my car keys from my cold dead hands."

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