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For NY Pedicab Driver, Happiness is Life on Wheels


Central Park is Frankie Legarreta's 'office'

There are many ways to see New York, a dynamic city where more than eight million residents earn a living in nearly as many ways as there are people.

For Frankie Legarreta, a bicycle taxi - or pedicab - driver, dodging traffic on three wheels is the only life for him.

The city's famed Central Park is Legarreta’s work place. For more than six years, he has driven people around the park in a three-wheeled bicycle taxi called a “pedicab.” It all started with a friend who had lots of free time.

"I said, 'What do you do?' He says, 'I’m a pedicab driver.' I said, 'What the hell is that?' And one day he brought me out here," Legarreta says. "I got sick of working at the office and I started this."

The job has been a learning experience.

"Once I started this job, I figured it was a great way to make a living," he says. "I was meeting all sorts of people from all over the world and it actually was helping me to grow mentally and physically as well."

Indeed. He bikes 32 kilometers [20 miles] to work and back each day and says he’s lost more than 16 kilograms [35 pounds]. But staying fit is only half of the journey.

"This is the enjoyment in my life in terms of making a living," Legarreta says. "I would hate to work in an office with air conditioning. Man, I got free air conditioning here, you know what I mean!"

While he never tires of riding around Manhattan, Legarreta does look forward to his down time.

"I’m home with the family, wth the kids, having fun," he says. "As long as we have the bills paid, and financially we’re okay…we could just be happy. Really, it’s all about being happy."

As long as his body cooperates, Legarreta will be happy to show off his city for decades to come.

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    Arash Arabasadi

    Arash Arabasadi is an award-winning multimedia journalist with a decade of experience shooting, producing, writing and editing. He has reported from conflicts in Iraq, Egypt, the Persian Gulf and Ukraine, as well as domestically in Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore, Maryland. Arash has also been a guest lecturer at Howard University, Hampton University, Georgetown University, and his alma mater, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife Ashley and their two dogs.

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