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Friday, November 12, 2010

King of New York Hacks, the Artist, and a New York Minute.

Driving a taxi and meeting someone famous is always a fun thing, unless its Charlie Sheen on a bender and he's trashing my cab and running from the bill...but I never had Charlie in my Taxi, and I'd bet he'd stiff The Waldorf before he'd stiff a Taxi. Anywayyyy...

This past Halloween as I was headed home from the parade, I was walking to the subway and saw this man below making funny faces and charming children that were walking by his home. He was only wearing a simple clever mask made out of what appeared to be an index card,  and I asked if I could take his picture for my blog, and he agreed. I told him I was a Hack and he immediately asked me, "How do I compete with all the other crazy drivers ?" I told him, "carefully, or I wouldn't make any money"...I showed him some of the pictures in my camera of the costumes I just photographed, but told him that I think I will remember his costume the most, and that the children seemed to find it very amusing compared to all the elaborate and expensive disguises. I told him about my blog, and gave him my card, but he told me he really doesn't use the computer.

I smiled.

I've met so many people who have not embraced computers and refuse to..amazes me.

I then asked him if I could have his mask so I could scan it for my posting,  and he said "of course" in a foreign accent that I could not pin down, and I'm pretty good because I speak English in 40 different accents. ;) 

As he went to hand me the mask, a gust of wind blew it down the street and I chased after it where a lovely buxom woman saw it flying by with me in tow and stepped on it bringing it face down to a halt... I said mockingly "Oh Nooo!! You stepped on a MASTERPIECE !" ... and in true New York fashion, she didn't miss a beat and said, "careful honey, you don't know if I just increased its worth BECAUSE I stepped on it"

Touché...well played footstomper of the night.

So I went back to talk with the Gentleman, and we laughed about how I saved his "masterpiece" and he told me how my pictures of Halloween were so different from his as a child, and we began to exchange childhood memories of Halloween..He making costumes out of paper, and myself recalling how I used a burned cork to blacken my face as a hobo...We discussed how Halloween is now a BILLION dollar industry and not the same as it was when he celebrated, nor I.  Below is the mask he was wearing with a little cut-out that his nose fit through. Brilliant. He had shopping bags with him, and I'll bet he made good use of this mask ALL day.

He then showed me how if you draw the face on the paper, then fold it in half like below...and just rip where your nose will go ..."Voilá !!!" a Halloween mask that didn't touch your bank account.

He then pulled a blank piece of paper from his pocket and showed me how to do it from scratch and handed me the mask below...once again.. "Voilá !" I then inquired if he was an artist of any kind, and he humbly said yes I am an artist of many different things, and quickly changed the subject asking me if there were any children in my family and I said "yes, and of various ages"...I hope I wasn't his subject in this work below....but then again, I was the only one there now !!  lol

So he pulled out another piece of paper, same size, and began to draw while looking at me...Uh Oh !! he laughed as he drew and told me the children will laugh when I show them the picture of me that he was making...I was laughing out loud waiting for this caricature he was creating to make more kids laugh with his creations and humor...and once again "Voilá !! The King Caricatured !!! ...or maybe not ;) HA !  As I was observing the pic when he finished and I wondered why he drew two lemons on my head, however he kept writing in the bottom right corner...

...and he signed it.

Jacob El Hanani, I googled him when I got home and his accent was hard to pin point because he was born in Casablanca, studied in Tel Aviv and Paris, and worked in New York City not to mention all over this country. His works have been shown at MANY important places such as The Guggenheim, The Whitney, The British Museum, and the most important, The King of New York Hacks Refrigerator.

I'm in good company. ;-)

...and those lemons,  were actually sunglasses I forgot were still on my head after the long chilly night, even had a rosy windburn ! lol ...However, I am not as good looking as he made me out to be, what a nice guy. ;) I assured him my family would laugh at this pic of me, nor would they let me forget it !! LOL  I shook his hand, thanked him, and we wished each other Halloween, came to an end. a New York Minute.

Just click here to see his history and works------->    JACOB EL HANANI  

...or click this one from The British Museum which shows Jacob without the mask. -->  JACOB

Pretty impressive collections he has created...but certainly not the masterpiece portrait of The King that will fetch a gazillion dollars at Sotheby's on auction...nah, I think I'll keep this one for me...Thanks Mr. Hanani, you are a kind man with a humorous mind and heart...and I could never auction off a priceless New York moment like that...I'm not greedy, and I'm no artist....I'm just...

The King Of New York Hacks

Peace out peeps.


  1. Its amazing who you meet doing this job!

    One of my favourite comedians was in my cab Wednesday night, I spent the entire journey trying to figure why he looked familiar, just to realize who he was just as he of out of the cab!!

    That said i am very impressed by your artist friend!

  2. What a great story and a wonderful keepsake!

  3. What a cool story!!! It really must be very interesting living in the city!! I almost sent you a note last week as my daughter is making her very first visit to the BIG city and she was only going for two days...yesterday and today. I was going to ask you for a reference on where to eat...umm...rather inexpensively!! She is only 24 and is living on a budget!! They ended up finding a place in Little Italy where they ate for just $43 including the tip!! She said the food was terrific!! Oh the stories she will tell me upon her return tomorrow! I cannot wait! If I ever get back there....I'm lookin' you up! You even know a famous artist!!

  4. I dont know whose story i deleted but I apologize, it was by accident.
    There was a LOT of spam and my finger got carried away...can ya imagine ?? Repost folks, with my sincere thoughts, regards,

  5. What a charming post! I also know several old people that want nothing to do with computers. I think it's just TMI for them!

  6. Oh you have such a great life! Thanks so much for sharing your side of a New York minute and the joy and happiness in just a simple unimportant moment that brings such true joy to all that enter! I love what you've done with your place/site/blog very cool as always! And can't wait until your next post! Take care out there and be careful of strangers, lurking behind paper! lol

  7. Only in New York! What a story to tell every Halloween about the masterpiece and the footstomper increasing its value and the unknown famous artist. Frame all of the masterpieces together.

  8. Awesome story, and well told. Man, there's a LOT packed into a New York Minute! I was fascinated to learn that much of Jacob El Hanani's work " inspired by the ancient tradition of Hebrew micrography," amazing! Thanks for a great post!

  9. And THAT is why I love new York City so much!

    What a fantastic story and a wonderful chance meeting of a very talented (and nice) guy. Maybe you should take your portrait off the fridge and put it into a frame for safe keeping. You might be able to put your kids through college someday with it ;-)

    Cheers, jj

  10. Dear King,

    Amazingly, I too have done the burnt-cork facial hair and you won't believe this, but it was for a hobo costume as well!

    I really enjoyed this telling of your Halloween night experience and I was particularly impressed by your use of "Anywaaaay" as opposed to "Anyways". That tells me you're an educated man.

    Thanks for visiting and for the "Batmobile" comment. I'm glad you liked the piece.

    All the best,


    P.S. Adding you to my feed reader straight away.

  11. priceless! are such a class act!
    Thanks for posting!

  12. Cool! I don't think ever would have the pleasure of starting up a conversation with someone who just happened to be a world famous artist. but it just goes to show me how fantastic any minute can be when you're positive and outgoing, and willing to stop, look around, and talk to people.

    I really have to remember to do this... all the time.

  13. That is why you are the king!

  14. This is one of the best stories I have read. So many of us are so consumed with other things that we would not even take the time to stop.
    I actually get into trouble all of the time (from my family) because I am stopping constantly to speak to someone. Never have had your experience though. Maybe someday:)

  15. Great story, one I'll go around repeating in little social conversations--see how you make ME more interesting?

    How many people meet that guy, see him, say hi to him, or walk by him every day? YOU took the time to meet an amazing person, this story, as are all of yours, tell us so much about you also, King! You rock.

  16. Grinned my way through this - some day I will come to the Big City and catch a ride. Thank you for the extraordinary comment (and promise) you left on my blog. That made me grin, too!

  17. You are such a gifted writer. YOu really need to be writing a memoir (unless you have one on the go, and I'm just not up to speed on it).
    As for you and the gentleman reminiscing and drawing pictures of "masks," I think you guys need to accept that the billion dollar Halloween industry is such for a reason. Don't either of you give up your day jobs to go into the mask making business :) Just some friendly words of advice.

  18. Only in the story and the portrait of you go make some lemonade! :D
    Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving my friend!!

  19. Hello, you site is very funny he told me to cheer up .. Merry Christmas.

  20. good writer.., your article so really amaze me.. keep up the good work..

  21. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, may all your wishes come true!

  22. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, may all your wishes come true!

  23. Ah!!! at last I found what I was looking for. Somtimes it takes so much effort to find even tiny useful piece of information.

  24. Awesome story, your highness.but how can THIS guy claim to be the king of caricature, when everyone KNOWSthe subwaysurfer is! I'm so jealous,! Now I gotta draw ya! We gotta hook up!

  25. It`s really nice article. Thank u a lot

  26. Beautiful post, great ))

  27. Really like the graphical design and navigation of the site, easy on the eyes and good content. other sites are just way too overflowing with adds.

  28. I just added your feed to my favorites. I really enjoy reading your posts.


  29. You have made your blog more interesting than most that I read. Thanks for that.