I was driving my taxi in Manhattan on that beautifully warm Monday evening of December 8, 1980. At around 10 pm, I was traveling without any passengers, going north on Central Park West, when I made a slow left turn on to 72nd Street.
When I was driving my taxi in the neighborhood of the Dakota and without passengers, I would often go by it very slowly, on the slight chance that I may see John.
As soon I made the slow left turn on to 72nd Street, now looking towards the front of the Dakota, my instinct sensed something was wrong. So, I slowed down to a crawl while passing in front.
I first noticed the outside doorman Jose Perdomo, which somehow took the media six plus years to finally name correctly, who was standing on the left side of the archway. He was just outside of the doorman enclosure.
Then, I looked directly at this other man, and right away sensed that he was lurking in the darkness. He was standing alone on the sidewalk, on the right side of the archway. My intuition told me something was terribly wrong, and I very nearly stopped my taxi. The next day this man was identified as Mark David Chapman.
About an hour after I passed by the Dakota, I was still driving my taxi in Manhattan while listening, as always, to Vince “Vinny” Scelsa on WNEW-FM 102.7, when he suddenly announced John Lennon had been shot. A short time later, while trying to hold back tears, he announced the death of John Lennon.
When Vince Scelsa broke this unbelievably horrible news of John Lennon’s death, I was with a woman passenger in my taxi. I was on East End Avenue, the same street where I was born, in Doctor’s Hospital. As soon as my passenger heard the news, she immediately broke out crying. Moments later, there were tears in my eyes, and they quickly and profusely began rolling down my checks.
At first I ineffectively tried to compose myself, which I found impossible to do, but eventually did, for I was now driving on the FDR Drive. I turned my off duty light on, and finished driving my passenger to her home in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, which was one block away from where my paternal Grandmother lived. I dropped her off, waited until she was safely inside of her home, and then headed straight to the Dakota.
It was about 11:45 pm when I arrived, and there was already a group of one hundred or so people gathered. I double-parked my Peugeot 504 taxi just about twenty feet West of the archway, in front of the Dakota, on the North side on 72nd Street.
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