Backstage with Sandy Kenyon: The Checker Guy

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Tucked away behind a house on Staten Island is one of the last of a dying breed -- a Checker cab that was once among thousands on the streets of New York City.

Robert De Niro drove one in "Taxi Driver."

Saving them from extinction is the job of "The Checker Guy," Victor Coiro, who is originally from Brooklyn.

"Nostalgic looks, kids ask me, 'Is that what the new taxi is going to look like?'" he said. "And I say, 'No, this is the old taxi. This is the one your grandfather drove in. And then you get the old New Yorkers, who love it."

The last Checker cab took one final fare on the streets of New York City almost 20 years ago, in July of 1999. But today, about two dozen remain on the road -- where they are often used in movies and TV shows.

"All they see in TV and movies are old Checker cabs, so when they see me, they want to get in," he said. "They think it's working...I actually drive around with my back doors locked, because when I stop at a red light, they come up and they want to get in."

But these days, only performers get to the enjoy the extra space. Meryl Streep sat in the passenger seat with Coiro in front for the "The Post."

"In a professional standpoint, you can't really bother them that much," he said. "So it's kind of just like, they're there and you're there, and you do what you've gotta do."

Coiro owns dozens of other classic cars, which he rents for movies like "Jersey Boys" and photo shoots with the likes of Lady Gaga and 50 Cent.

"We were doing 'Jersey Boys,' and it was over in Jersey, and I was driving this big tank, a '48 Buick, and it's a scene where the kid who's in 'Jersey Boys' is going to cross the street," he said. "And I'm going to drive up, and he's going to cross in front of me. And Clint Eastwood comes up to me in the window, and he says, 'Hey, kid' -- I'm 48 years old -- He says, 'Hey, kid.' He says, 'See this kid walking across, I want you to come close to him, but don't hit him.' Cause he says, 'I need him for more scenes.' I'm like, 'Yes, sir, Mr. Eastwood.' I've done movies for over 30 years, and I think that was the first time I was really like, 'Wow, I just talked to somebody famous.'"

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