Cabdriver Thanked for Returning a Stradivarius
By Richard G. Jones
Newark, New Jersey – The violinist stood on a makeshift stage between two lampposts crowned with a patina of bird droppings, under a weathered vinyl canopy hastily erected outside Newark Liberty International Airport in the taxicab holding area. The audience watched him in awe, about 50 drivers in three rows, their yellow cabs a few feet behind, some lined up neatly, others askew.
As Philippe Quint spent half an hour playing five selections, the cabbies clapped and whistled. They danced in the aisles, hips gyrating like tipsy belly dancers. "Magic fingers, magic fingers," one called out. Another grabbed the hand of Mr. Quint's publicist and did what looked like a merengue across the front of the "stage."
Afterward, the virtuoso was mobbed by drivers seeking his autograph on dollar bills, napkins and cab receipts.
"It was so pleasing to see people dancing – that never happens," said Mr. Quint, 34, a Grammy-nominated classical violinist. "These people, they work so hard, I doubt they get a chance to get out to Carnegie Hall or Lincoln Center."
So Mr. Quint took Carnegie Hall to them, in a miniconcert that was his way of expressing a simple sentiment: Thank you.
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