Ever since I heard the news that my old friend and mentor, Victor Dizengoff, passed away on March 13 at the age of 86, I’ve struggled to put into words my thoughts, feelings and indescribable grief. Vic was a complicated man: big-hearted, often gruff, intelligent, wise, incredibly hard-working, and a true pioneer of the transportation industry.

He helped so many of us find our way, but I’m pretty sure not everyone remembers him as fondly as I do. He was as “New York” as they come, not afraid to speak his mind or challenge people in power. He was a force of nature who imposed his will on NYC’s transportation industry, helping to birth the Black Car Assistance Corporation (BCAC) and The New York Black Car Fund (NYBCF)… two ground-breaking organizations that continue to live on.

A Korean War veteran with a Master’s Degree in Economics from Brooklyn College, Vic started in this industry as a cab driver, before helping to found Vital Two-Way Radio, which soon became one of the city’s first Black Car services. When he asked me to take over this publication in 2005 – which he had purchased in the early-90s and built into a highly-successful business – he was not only running the paper, he was still serving as executive director for the BCAC and the NYBCF, relentlessly advocating for drivers and base owners.

Vic taught me many things over the years and his advice was always sound. I had a tremendous amount of respect for him, and I will miss him until my time on this earth comes to an end. The following are quotes from some other people whose lives he touched.

“We mourn the loss of Victor Dizengoff, Vital’s founder and an industry legend. Vic’s pioneering spirit and leadership shaped not only Vital Transportation but the entire industry. His legacy lives on in the work we do and the values we uphold. Vic will be deeply missed but never forgotten.” – Berj Haroutunian

“Victor was a true legend. I affectionately referred to him as ‘The Godfather of the Black Car Industry,’ and it always brought a smile to his face. I first met Victor when I worked at the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission. Little did I know at the time that I would be given the honor of being his successor at The Black Car Fund, with huge shoes to fill. Many people in the for-hire vehicle industry today have no idea of the history of the industry and the debt of gratitude they owe him.” – Ira Goldstein

“The ground transportation industry lost an icon with the passing of Vic Dizengoff, who was the Founding Father of the modern black car and limousine industry in NYC, and well beyond. Vic not only helped build the industry as we now know it, but he also thoughtfully implemented succession planning for the future, gracefully turning the reigns to the next generation. Rest in Peace Vic! You did a world of good for so many!” – Matt Daus

“A staunch voice of the industry, he helped get many of us to where we are now.” – Scott Harwood

“A great man has gone to heaven. My sincerest condolences.” – Jacob Salem

“Katie and I have so many fond memories of meeting and working with Victor. May he rest in peace after the many great things he did for the taxi and FHV industry.” – Wim Faber

“An icon and a great human being, he will be sorely missed.” – Edward Kaye

“Vic was a dear friend since the early 80s. He was a good man and an inspiration to the transportation industry. May he rest in peace!” – Bruce Cirlin

“Rest in peace, Victor. You earned it my friend.” – Tim Rose

“Victor was a good friend to everyone in the industry and always willing to teach and help.” – Steve Edelmann

“Vic spent his life serving our industry. We all have a hole in our hearts for Vic.” – Al LaGasse

Before I sign off this month, I want to offer my deepest condolences to everyone who knew and loved him, particularly his loving wife, Sandy, to whom he was married for 63 years; his children, Steven and Joanne, Meryl, Ira and Betsy, Deena and Art, and Gail and Ron; and his cherished grandchildren, Reuben, Sophie, Adriana, Gabby, Laurel, and Ariel, and Andrew, Hunter, Tyler and Chelsea.

In lieu of customary remembrances, the family requests that donations be made to the United Jewish Appeal (UJA) in Victor’s memory.

Article by Neil Weiss

Neil Weiss is the Editor/Publisher/Owner of Black Car News and Livery Times. He has been involved in the ground transportation industry since 1991, writing thousands of articles on a wide variety of subjects.

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