Filmmaker Adeel Ahmed has directed a short film in hopes of preserving a piece of New York City's culture and a Lower East Side neighborhood staple. The Punjabi Deli is not only a taxi relief stand but also a place where everyone can have a meal for $5.
Kulwinder “Jani” Singh, a former yellow cab driver, opened Punjabi Deli in 1994, recognizing the need for a place in the city where cabbies could go to use the bathroom, take a break, and get something to eat.
However, Punjabi Deli is now in danger of closing. Delayed sidewalk construction in front of the deli has cost the business 50% of its revenue by obstructing any available parking for the deli's cabbie patrons.
Lower East Siders and the NYC cabbie community want to save Punjabi Deli from closing. Some described it as "essential" to the neighborhood and the "essence" of the East Village community.
The deli has become a NYC institution; it's a haven for taxi drivers and a staple in the neighborhood because of its authentic offerings and unique hospitality.
For longtime customers, the beloved deli is more than a just a taxi relief stand; it's an irreplaceable part of their community and a piece of home.
The construction that began in 2010 has seen no real progress in the past five years. Filmmaker Adeel Ahmed said he hopes people will join the effort to preserve the deli by urging the NYC Department of Transportation to complete construction.