He worked as a trader before trading Wall Street for the streets of New York, earning his living as a cab driver.
More than a decade ago Jack Alvo, 49, was working a $250,000-a-year job in wealth management for Morgan Stanley on the 73rd floor of the World Trade Center.
On September 11, 2001, he was lucky enough to escape from the South Tower before it crumbled to the ground. He spent the next months going from office-to-office looking for work.
In 2009, he lost his last finance job after the markets crashed and with a wife and two kids to support, starting driving a yellow cab around the very streets he lived and worked on for so many years.
Speaking to CNN he said: ‘I got caught in-between and things got tough. Never would have thought that I could do this, but being a native New Yorker, I knew the streets.
‘I learned the streets a lot better when I had to start paying attention to them.’
Working the 5am to 5pm shift, Alvo quickly established a routine in his new job. Writing down his fares on an envelope, calculating when he breaks even and then his net profit for the day.
He also learned of the ‘science’ to cab driving.
‘In the morning, you don’t want to be caught on the Upper East Side too early. They don’t wake up ’til 7:30. But down on Hudson Street, they’re younger, more aggressive.
‘They’re going to work at Goldman and Bank of America or wherever, and you take ’em,’ he said.
So desperate is he to get back into the finance business that he keeps his resumes in a box in the back seat of his cab, hoping a passenger will pick one up and help him land a job.
Though nothing has happened yet, passengers have been very helpful, helping him improve his resume and make it more concise as well as offering him advice.
‘It does keep my faith in humanity,’he told CNN. ‘One thing you learn driving a cab is that it’s all connected.’ He has had a few leads and even some interviews from people in his cab, but nothing has come through yet.
‘If you’ve ever been fishing, you know you can spend a whole day on a pond and never catch a fish. But if you know the lay of the land, your odds improve.’
Alvo explains why it was so hard for him to get a job after the recession and why he turned to cab driving after a year of unemployment.
‘Guys like me can be replaced at a much cheaper rate,’ he explained. ‘You know, a guy who’s well into the six figure category, making 250 plus, he’s easily replaceable by a guy who they can get for a hundred grand who thinks it’s the best job in the world. Or they can replace me with two young guys.’
The 49-year-old said it’s his new year’s resolution to finish cab driving and get back into a nine-to-five job. He also wants to write a book.
‘I could call it From Street to Street – from Wall Street to having to work to the street, so to speak.
‘I think it would be a story of survival — understanding that you can have everything at times and sometimes when things get tough, you’re forced to take other routes.
‘But there is light at the end of the tunnel. And if you stay focused you can get through anything.’