New York’s next taxi: suburbia comes to the city

There is nothing genius about New York’s selection of the dull, practical Nissan NV200 four-door van as the city’s next taxi model, which stands as testimony to the gradual suburbanization of this once gritty city. But consider the icon-making power wielded by a bunch of city bureaucrats simply by virtue of the fact that they are New York City bureaucrats.  Who knows, really, which car model was chosen by the good leaders of Kansas City or Philadelphia to fill out their taxi fleets? Without a television or film industry to enshrine the taxi’s profile as legend or millions of tourists to snap photographs of them as a kind of shorthand marking their presence in the city their taxis remain just taxi, an overpriced means of conveyance; but in New York, countless unfunny sitcoms will now need to find a way to incorporate a yellow soccer mom van into their edgy urban scripts and the Sarah Palin acolytes will need to devise a rationale for why such an unpretentious car is, actually, elitist.  Ugly as the new taxi is, though, it’s still better than the ill-conceived typographical mess (introduced a few years ago) that will be pasted on its doors.  At least the New York Times has contributed some genius, in the form of this cool graphic about New York City taxicabs through the years.

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