Hat Trick on Lex; A Very Stubborn Cabby

Straw hats are big, especially in broiling weather. And nobody should know that better than the folks at Tracey Tooker Hats at 1211 Lexington Avenue.

Ms. Tooker is the chapeau designer who creates the confections worn by many of the ladies who lunch, including those who attend the annual Conservatory luncheon in Central Park. Among her clients are Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, Hillary Clinton and Bianca Jagger. And she created the pale-yellow straw bonnet, trimmed with French silk flowers, worn by Debby Oxley, owner of Monarchos, in the winner’s circle at the Kentucky Derby.

In other words, Ms. Tooker’s hats, which cost anywhere from $300 to $1,500, aren’t the sort of thing one leaves out in the rain-or the sun, for that matter. But a Tooker employee, perhaps mistaking the mean streets of Manhattan for the countryside of Provence, left a peach straw hat hanging outside the store at 2:30 p.m. on June 10 in an effort to bleach the color.

When she went to retrieve the headwear, which was valued at $400, she discovered that some fashionista had absconded with it.

Parking Problems

Annoying and time-consuming as police stops can be, when an officer orders you to the side of the road, it’s probably best to comply, as a livery cab driver discovered on June 23.

The suspect was driving his fare, a woman and her baby, down Lexington Avenue when a police car pulled him over for working as an “unlicensed for-hire.” The cop made eye contact with the driver, who nonetheless decided to keep going, even though the lady was screaming at him to stop and let her and her baby out.

The perp eventually did, pulling over at 82nd Street and Lexington Avenue, where the woman paid her fare and jumped out of the cab with her baby. The cabby, who was driving a 1987 Lincoln, drove off again before the cop could catch him, but stopped at Lexington Avenue and 86th Street.

It wasn’t that he’d decided in the interim that the officer had his best interests in mind. Rather, he found himself boxed in by an ambulance, an ambulette and a medallion cab.

The cop finally caught up with the vehicle and ordered the suspect to get out. But the cabby still failed to see the writing on the wall and went into what might be described as “hibernation mode,” were one discussing personal computers rather than cabbies with possible rap sheets.

The suspect refused repeated requests to disembark, according to the officer, and even locked his doors. So the cop, showing that impressive improvisational thinking for which the NYPD is known, went around to the passenger side of the vehicle, broke the window, opened the door and placed the car in park.

He told the driver, who had a Jamaican accent, what he undoubtedly must have already suspected: that he was under arrest. The cabby, showing that anarchistic streak for which New York City hacks, licensed or otherwise, are known, started to resist, according to the officer.

The cop eventually managed to open the driver’s side door, pull his prisoner out and handcuff him. The perp was charged with resisting arrest. The cop, who cut himself-apparently while trying to open the car door-received medical attention at the scene.

Grand Larceny With a Smile

The average Manhattan sales associate has enough of an attitude, even in this golden age of total customer satisfaction, that when one of them showers you with affection, it has a disorienting effect, as it did on one customer at a Madison Avenue shoe store on June 5.

The shopper told the police that when she went to pay for her purchase, she was treated so nicely by the saleswoman, who even asked her name, that she didn’t notice it when the saleswoman kept her credit card-which was apparently the point of all that kindness.

Later that evening, the victim, a 45-year-old East 85th Street resident, received a call from her bank reporting that there had been suspicious activity on her card: $500 had been charged at a local store.

The individual described as wielding the stolen plastic perfectly fit the description-blond-ponytailed, blond-fingernailed, approximately 30 years old-of the saleswoman who had waited on her earlier that afternoon. The complaint is under investigation by the police.