New York's Calypso Traffic Cop

Commuting is often fraught with frustration. Yet, at the peak of rush hour on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, we found a man happy to be there, CBS News Correspondent Harry Smith reports.

New York City traffic agent Roland Joseph is a concert of clicks and whistles. Waves and signals. Greetings and good mornings. His body is in constant motion, his feet dancing to some unheard music.

"This guy is unbelievable. He's entertainment," exclaimed a passerby.

What officer Joseph hears on his way to work is calypso. The music of his native Trinidad. He says if it looks like he s dancing its because calypso is in his blood.

"And you just jump because the music is saying to jump. They have all different calypsos that come up and you go with the beat. And you just keep jumping," Joseph said.

The moves are impressive. But it's traffic movement that concerns officer Joseph most. The corner of Flatbush and Fourth should be a bottleneck, a chokehold on one of the city's busiest arteries.

"If something is wrong on the Manhattan Bridge or the Brooklyn Bridge all that traffic backs up here. There is no where for it to go. People be going haywire. Oh, these people be frustrated," Joseph explained.

But, with Roland Joseph in command, the traffic flows.

Right out there on Flatbush Avenue a love affair has bloomed. The drivers honk, they high five. They even know him by name.

Brooklyn is besotted with the calypso traffic cop.

"He's got the rhythm, that soul rhythm, the rhythm of the city," said one woman.

Roland Joseph says he can't help himself. He's simply happy to be alive.

"I got a lotta joy. A lotta joy. I think I may be one of the happiest people in the world," Joseph said.

When one of the happiest people in the world takes on some of the grumpiest people on the planet. It's no contest. You can't help but smile.

©1998 CBS Worldwide Corp. All rights reserved
  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

Comments

Follow Us

On Twitter