My father drove a cab at night. This was the early 1950s. A Brooklyn-born New Yorker, he knew the city’s streets the way a junky knows his veins. I thought of him because of a headline in today’s New York Times: American-Born Cabbies Are a Vanishing Breed in New York. Dad also knew doormen, theater managers, stage hands, bar owners, bartenders, and building superintendents. He was a walking-talking switchboard of high and low connections. He didn’t want relatives to know he was driving a cab. It embarrassed him that his day job didn’t pay the rent. But one day he turned up in the newspaper because an out-of-town fare reported him to the New York World Telegram & Sun.