He was a regular guest of the Keeler in the Morning Show for some 30 years, and now we've learned that Peter Franklin, New York City's Gabby Cabby, has passed away.

Peter first started coming on my radio show in 1992, giving his true tales told only as he could tell them from the streets of NYC, usually every Tuesday morning. He called himself the "Last English Speaking Cab Driver in New York City" until that title was deemed a bit inappropriate by the politically correct. Yes, he really was a New York City cab driver.

Following the COVID shutdown, Peter became a bit more difficult to reach and he admittedly became somber and somewhat depressed. After all, the city he loved so much had become a shell of itself during COVID. The streets were bare, the store fronts closed, and no patrons for cabbies like Peter to pickup for cab fare. "I don't think this city will ever come back," Peter said during one of our conversations.

The fact is, many of the cabbies who relied on fares paid by millions of tourists getting from point a to point b in one of the world's greatest cities, had disappeared during the shutdown.

Peter was famous for serving as New York's unofficial spokesperson, speaking to TV and radio shows from around the world - including programs like Today on NBC. He wrote books, traveled the country and the world, and even made it to the Keeler Show in Utica, and even my show in Providence, RI during the 90s when I was there. Peter had the "gift of the gab" which is why Gabby Cabby was the perfect title.

Peter was also famous for his day-long amazing tours of the 5 Burroughs of New York City. He would warn people, don't take my tour if you're not willing to put in the whole day. My wife and I, along with the crew from my TV show back in the early 2000s took the trip. Peter took us everywhere.

In the early 2000s, Peter came to Utica and spent time at my home where he enjoyed Utica style Italian cuisine - including Utica Greens and classic spaghetti and meatballs.

He was an awesome guy and someone I considered a friend.

I never knew Peter had Parkinson's Disease. We've now learned that's what ended up taking him from the world he lived so much.

He was so proud of his wife, who was an amazing cook.

"Peter had an exceptional caregiver, his loving wife of 48 years, Mrs. Lalina Franklin. She prepared the most delicious and exquisite cuisine that also met his dietary requirements (low sodium, low fat, low sugar, dairy-free, and gluten-free) from the original recipes she creates and shares on her blog “Mrs. Gabby’s Kitchen”. His favorite cuisine was Italian he loved good ole spaghetti and meatballs (but he also loved Sri Lankan cuisine, food from Lalina’s birth land).  In contrast, he did not care for fatty meats nor eggplants. Lalina knew his preferences, such as stonewashed relaxed fit Levi’s paired with tee shirts, the color blue, and Andrea Bocelli’s version of “Can’t Help Falling in Love with You”."

He was also so proud of his children Nicholas, Catherine and Alexi, who he would speak of from time to time.

I looked forward to Tuesday mornings at 6:45. That's when Peter would come on the air and give his take on the Big Apple. He would often times be critical of the city, but in the end, the Big Apple would always turn out to be the love of his life.

Over the last year and a half I called Peter on his cell a couple of times because our producer was unable to reach him. I was unable to make contact with him.  I had no idea he was ill. My last call was in the fall of 2023 and someone picked up the phone but didn't speak. I knew someone was on the other end of the phone, so I simply said, "Peter if this is you I'm calling to make sure everything is ok. You're greatly missed and if you can, please give me a call back." I never heard back. To this day, I wonder if that was Peter on the other end of the phone. If it was, I hope he understood we really missed him...not as a radio guest...but as a friend who I'd been able to speak with nearly every week for more than 30 years.

Here's the announcement on his website, GabbyCabby.com:

It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of a beloved and iconic figure, Peter Eston Franklin, widely known as “The Gabby Cabby.” Peter departed this world on Thursday, November 28, 2023, leaving behind a legacy that will forever be etched in the hearts and minds of those who had the privilege of knowing him personally and remotely via a variety of communication channels (newspapers, magazines, radio broadcasts, television, internet-based video, social media, and his website).

Peter Franklin, “The Gabby Cabby,” was the original world-renowned New York City (NYC) taxicab driver loved for his big personality, engaging conversation, friendly demeanor, thirst for knowledge, and light-hearted perspective on current events. For decades, he was a fixture in NYC, driving his yellow cab, which he affectionately referred to as the “yellow mobile conveyance lounge”. He loved striking up conversations with passengers.

Rest in Peace my friend. I so miss talking with you on Tuesday mornings.

Visit Peter's website here, and be sure to visit the archives and listen to some of our chats together on the radio.

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