By Krystal D’Costa
It’s simple enough. You step off the curb, raise your arm, and wait. Soon enough you’ll catch the attention of those familiar yellow “mech-animals” that dominate the streets of New York City. Hailing a cab in New York City is as much part of the natural ebb and flow of daily life as morning coffee from the guy in the truck/cart outside of your building.
At first, most of these drivers were African Americans, who were licensed to drive by the city in the early nineteenth century. By the 1840s, as was the case with many semi-skilled and unskilled occupations, Irish immigrants pushed African Americans out of the trade. This early example of ethnic succession was more violent than later transitions, but it established a tradition of entering immigrant groups viewing hacking as a viable income and significant step up the ladder of economic mobility.
The “City That Never Sleeps” needs transportation beyond mass transit to move its inhabitants—this has been true from the very start. So cabs are here to stay,
Hodges, Graham Russell Gao. Taxi!: A Social History of the New York City Cabdriver. John Hopkins University Press: 2007.
1906 “The New York Cab Driver and His Cab.” Outing. Vol XLIX(2): pp 129-138.