Who is Hoboken Disco Cab?
Let's meet the man behind the disco on wheels...
Are you going to the candy shop?
If you have ever gotten into a (seemingly normal looking) taxi cab in Hoboken and heard those words - you might be getting set up for a 50 Cent play on words and a good time.
That's because you probably just walked into the Hoboken Disco Cab. Founder Tamer "Timmy" Iskandar is about to lower the music, ask you a question and once your confusion sets in, he'll kick on the lights and the corresponding song, i.e. "Sir, can you make a left?" begs the Beyonce "Irreplaceable" chorus "to the left, to the left."
Hoboken Disco Cab makes for a very entertaining ride home from the bars and clubs about town. But who is the man behind the mobile disco?
Tamer "Timmy" Iskandar was raised in Egypt and came here in 1999 - just as he was about to celebrate his 21st birthday.
"When I was a kid, I liked to party. I liked fun. I made myself comfortable with music," said Tamer.
As Tamer learned the language here, of which he knew none of, he also learned what American music lyrics were trying to say. And with that, Tamer became a 103.5 KTU believer and general lover of house music.
"When I moved here, all I knew [in English] was 'yes,' 'no,' and 'thank you'," Tamer said, despite finishing college in Egypt.
Tamer then began working in transportation and driving dispatch vehicles. He drove a limo for a short while but by 2006 - he was fully committed to taxis. Hoboken taxis. "I had my first job in Hoboken. I love Hoboken."
The disco cab started out slow, a little volume and a blinking light - just a simple idea to string some Christmas lights around 2009.
"The Christmas lights were giving me a hard time. People wanted to grab them, hang on them for fun, pull them down," Tamer said. "Then I switched to strobe lights."
That's when the marriage of club and cab really took place. Little by little, lights were added, ceiling LED's, strobes in the dash, holiday decor, bobbing figurines, NYE glasses, what have you. In fact, Tamer and his 6-year old daughter custom pick out all the toys and lights where ever they may go - like Six Flags Great Adventure.
It was around 2009/2010 that it became time to get serious and make some business cards. The Hoboken Disco Cab was officially born and so were over 50 You Tube videos. Hoboken Disco Cab was a sensation.
"Every minute, there was a call," said Tamer. "What's your number, what's your number...Everyone wanted a ride in the disco cab."
Hoboken Disco Cab burned through 15,000 of 25,000 business cards, collecting loyal customers all over the Mile Square. His rolodex today boasts over 3,000 residents categorized by building.
In a randomized search, we found nine in 716 Madison alone!
"Some of these customers have been with me for six years," Tamer said. "One girl went from living on Monroe to Adams to the Tea Building to New York City and back - all with me."
Tamer also said he gets requests for birthdays or when out of state friends come to visit local Hobokenites.
"I charge the normal price, nothing extra. I follow the rules and I love what I do. Many people try to do lights and music but they don't do what I do. I match what people say to the songs. I'm not just on the phone 'bah, bah, bah, bah ,bah' - I'm listening to them."
The Hoboken Disco Cab waits in line just like the rest of the taxis at the Path train to pick up its unsuspecting customers during the week. However, on weekends, you can always call and make a request. Tamer himself only works Friday and Saturday nights now after opening an auto body business in Bayonne, but he has drivers.
"I still work 6pm to 5am on the weekends. When I get home my head is burning from the lights and music," Tamer said.
So what's next for Tamer and the disco cab?
"I'd really like to have a reality show - like cash cab. Everyone calls me cash cab. I don't know how to do it, but it would be fun."
To add Hoboken Disco Cab on Facebook visit: https://www.facebook.com/hoboken.discocab