Tag Archives: NYC

Yellow Tinted Glasses

The world’s most vibrant cities have often been defined by their public transport system. London’s red Routemaster bus, Tokyo’s Toyota Crown with its amazing self opening doors, Hong Kong’s wonderful Star Ferries, and – perhaps most iconic of all – New York City’s yellow cabs.

Checker sedans and Ford Crown Victorias were long part of NYC’s street furniture, and were big, softly sprung, and almost ridiculously inappropriate for taking one or two people a short distance at a low speed.

Despite their thirst, pollution, and unnecessary size, to a tourist they were somehow rather wonderful, however recently (and probably rightly) their days were numbered.

Today few cities have their own bespoke taxis. The cost of developing or adapting a vehicle for just a few thousand sales a year is too great, thus New York’s yellow cabs can now be one of any number of mainstream vehicles that are about as interesting as a white sock. Even if they’re yellow.

Flickr’s Ralph Savelsberg, whose glorious classic Checker NYC cab appeared here a few days ago, has now updated his brick-built taxi fleet inline with New York’s recent changes, building this excellent (and incredibly boring) Toyota Highlander Hybrid.

We’re sure that Toyota’s large SUV makes a far better taxi than the Ford Crown Vics and Checkers that preceded it, but when it’s the very same car used to collect Tommy and Ashleigh from school, it’s somehow not better at all.

There’s more to see of Ralph’s NYC Highlander at his ‘LEGO NYC Taxis’ album on Flickr, where you can also find his Lego recreations of a few other real-world yellow cabs that might not be as good, yet are somehow better in every way.

Check Mate

New York had the coolest taxis. Built from the late ’50s until the early ’80s, the Checker A9-A12 was as synonymous with NYC as the Black Cab was with London. However with awful air quality both cities have since replaced their taxi fleets with standard passenger hybrids like the Toyota Prius, which are far less polluting, but far less soulful too. It makes us think that perhaps their could be a market for retro-fitting an EV powertrain to a classic cab – we’d be the first to hail a ride. Until then we’ll look wistfully at this beautiful classic Checker cab by regular bloggee Ralph Savelsberg, and try to forget what would be coming out of the tailpipe…

Taxi!

Lego New York Taxi

This TLCB writer was not impressed by the Ford Crown Victoria taxi he experienced in New York. Bumpy, not actually that big inside, and probably getting around 8mpg, it seemed a bizarre choice for the congested and awful roads of NYC.

More recently most New York cabs are Toyota hybrids, which seem a far more sensible choice, but we’d still pick this over both the Crown Vic and an anonymous modern appliance.

Based on no one particular classic cab but taking design cues from all of them, Flickr’s Redfern1950s has created a stunning looking ’50s taxi complete with suicide doors, bench seating, and a huge trunk for some old-timey suitcases.

Stick your hand out and hope this picks you up rather than a ratty old Crown Vic via the link above.

Lego Classic Taxi