Step aside, Mr. Universe.
Emmanuel Kozadinos, an Astoria resident for more than three decades, has come together with 11 other New York City taxi drivers who decided to step away from the steering wheel and strut their stuff.
The cabbies are all featured on the 2016 NYC Taxi Drivers Calendar, which takes these every day drivers and sets them up in funny – and in some cases seductive – scenes, portraying a “comedic take on the traditional pin-up.”
Kozadinos himself stars as Mr. March in the calendar and said that although he was a little reluctant to participate at first, he decided to go with the flow and have fun with the shoot.
“I had a lot of fun doing it,” Kozadinos said. “In my head I was like, ‘just roll with it and have fun.’”
For the lifelong Queens resident’s March scene, the creators of the calendar – husband and wife duo Philip and Shannon Kirkman– decided to go with a more seductive scene. Kozadinos appears in the back seat of the taxi, shirtless, smoking a cigar, holding a piece of paper with a woman’s name (his girlfriend’s) and phone number, and a bra hanging in the background.
Participating in the calendar was a change of pace to his every day routine, said Kozadinos. The 37-year-old has been a taxi driver for seven years and although he says he would like to be making a little more money – he enjoys the job.
“Every day is different. I’m not stuck in an office staring out of the same window every day. I can dictate where I’m going to go and what I’m going to do,” Kozadinos said. “The freedom of this job is what I enjoy the most.”
The idea of the calendar, which is in its third year, originated as just a gag Christmas gift for Philip Kirkman’s older brother who is a carpenter. After being well received by family and friends, the couple decided to expand the idea and tried other professions – finally ending on the taxi driver.
“They’re just really iconic and there is sort of a mystery to the cab driver. Sometimes you don’t even see what that person looks like,” Philip said. “There’s sort of that level of anonymity with some of these guys and women.”
All the photos were taken by Shannon Kirkman throughout the city and the couple came up with the ideas for each scene – with some suggestions from drivers while getting in character.
Calendars are $14.99 and a portion of each sale will go to University Settlement America’s oldest settlement house (1886), based in New York City and serving over 30,000 immigrant and working individuals and families every year.
The decision to give back to this organization in particular, comes from the first calendar in which the couple used an all immigrant cast of drivers.
“Some of these guys drive six to seven days for 12 hours a day. They are the new blue collared workers,” Philip said. “They’re trying to give better opportunity to their family and their children. That’s sort of the immigrant story.”
To purchase a calendar, click here.