People Need to Stop Leaving Priceless String Instruments in Cabs

By
Yo-Yo Ma. Photo: Getty Images

We're going to admit right off the bat that we don't know what it's like inside the head of a virtuoso concert cellist or violinist. Maybe they're all savants with frenetic, active minds, constantly bombarded by new thoughts and inputs. Where common folk simply see a pigeon flying by, maybe Yo-Yo Ma can't help but closely analyze the motion of the wings as they slice through the air. That's the only explanation we can think of for why Ma and his ilk are always forgetting their treasured instruments — presumably among the most important things in their lives — in taxis. A citywide search ensued when Ma lost his $4 million cello in 1999, but his absent-mindedness was replicated by other musicians in 2001, 2002, 2008, earlier this year, and again just yesterday. Luckily, technology has caught up to this perplexing phenomenon. When Hahn-Bin left his $600,000 violin in a cab yesterday, the Taxi and Limousine Commission was able to easily identify which car he left it in because its route had been tracked by GPS. Of course, there's also a simpler, low-tech solution available: Turn around and make sure you didn't leave your freaking cherished eighteenth-century handcrafted work of beauty in the back of some cab.

Lost Violin and Owner Are Reunited, Again [City Room/NYT]