The following is an op-ed by Susan Chin, executive director for the Design Trust for Public Space, and Paul Herzan, chair of the board of the Cooper-Hewitt. The trust hosted an exhibition at the museum that helped bring the city its new New York-only taxis.
The considerable buzz around the unveiling of the Taxi of Tomorrow prototype at the 2012 New York International Auto Show reflects not only the ownership that the people of New York City feel for “their car,” but also demonstrates a passionate concern many New Yorkers have for the design of their city and public space. What makes the Taxi of Tomorrow so significant for New York as its first purpose-built cab is the many improvements for passenger and driver, achieved through an unlikely partnership between the taxi community and the design community—made possible by the Design Trust for Public Space and Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum joining forces with NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission and Nissan.
The daunting halo of complexity (“it will never happen”) of the Taxi of Tomorrow project demonstrates the power of design in our city to drive change.
The Taxi of Tomorrow, today! And it almost wasn’t yellow. [NY Times, DNAinfo, Post]
What’s missing from the new taxis? Pizza and Plan B, of course. [Village Voice]
New York without us, or how to take spooky pictures with no people. [Curbed]
Billy and Harry Macklowe are back in business together. [NY Post]
Death of Y&R exec prompts new elevator safety legislation. [DNAinfo]
The idiocy of OWS’ transit attacks. [Streetsblog]
Real estate porn gets too pornographic? [Curbed]
More rowhouse cornice porn. [Brownstoner]
Boutique hoteliers fight over Ace and NoMad hotel properties. [Real Deal]
Fancy affordable housing? Where but for Chelsea. [DNAinfo]
Protected bike lane back on at Plaza Street at Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza. [BK Paper]
They did chop down those cherry trees: Queens pols make way for project. [Daily News]
But etiquette in New York? Fuggedaboutit! [WNYC]
Five-story penthouse (quintplex?) wants $30,000 a month. [Curbed]
Grand Concourse mansion transformed into art gallery. [Daily News]
Lovely logos for Grand Central Terminals centennial. [NY Times]
New visitors center for Wyckoff House in Flatbush. [Brownstoner]
Here it is, the annual doorman tipping guide. [BrickUnderground]
M.T.A. bus cuts lead to more crowded subways, more miserable commutes. [NY Post]
Enriqiue Norten’s Mercedes House eschews New York’s “vertical arms race.” [Journal]
The amenity-rich luxury buildings? Landlords have to pay people to get them to use them. [NY Times]
The Taxi of Tomorrow is scrawny. [NY Post]
Hell’s Kitchen fights back against living up to its name as a den of sin. [City Limits]
Riverside Boulevard does not want to share its tony Trump streets. [NY Times]
The horror! Grand Central Apple store did not open on Black Friday. [DNAinfo]
Landmark greenhouse will become new visitors center for Greenwood Cemetery. [BK Paper]
Lenox Hill—they don’t make the Upper East Side like they used to. [Journal]
Laguardia loses its beautiful, old control tower. [NY Times]
This week, the Taxi of Tomorrow—well the taxi of 2013 to 2023, that is (the duration of the lease)—was unveiled to New Yorkers for the very first time. Thoughts from the first users of the fully fitted mock-up installation, which is on display in Madison Square Park until Sunday, were mixed. Despite the years of research and design, you can be sure that any flaw will be brought to light by the critical eye of your average New Yorker.
Planes Trains & Automobiles
It will be at least two and a half years—a traffic jam between now and then holding things up would not surprise—before the Taxi of Tomorrow hits the road. Instead of the futuristic Karsan model that New Yorkers loved, the Bloomberg administration went the soccer-mom route and picked Nissan’s souped-up minivan. But the other runner-up, Ford, maybe be the winner, at least for the time being.
Planes Trains & Automobiles
Back in November, the city announced it would be replacing the iconic Crown Victoria with the first-ever purpose-built yellow cab. It released a questionnaire seeking input on what New Yorkers want from their new cab, as well as seeking votes on which of three designs–from Ford, Nissan and Turkish light-truck manufacturer Karsan–people preferred. Last Read More
When the iconic Checker Taxi cabs stopped buzzing around New York’s streets in the 1990s, the eulogies were many. Will the same accolades follow for the utilitarian Crown Victoria, when it is replaced in the next few years?
Since 2007, the Bloomberg administration has been in the hunt for the Taxi of Tomorrow, the Read More
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio doesn’t only oppose Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Taxi and Limousine Commission David Yassky’s choice of Nissan for the “Taxi of Tomorrow,” but he also thinks Mr. Bloomberg’s efforts to expand the fleet and allow outer borough street hails were illegal to begin with. And, at a press conference today, he announced he’s filed an amicus with a lawsuit against the new taxi initiatives.
“The actions of the mayor and of Chair Yassky have undermined the city’s relationship with Albany and have set a very negative precedence for the future of that relationship,” Mr. de Blasio explained. “If we let this legislation by the mayor stand, what it means is that we’re making that dependency on Albany even worse. This lawsuit simply says we have to stop the implementation of the legislation in Albany because this process failed to include the City Council.”
saying no to nissan
Comptroller John Liu has vowed to reject New York City’s “Taxi of Tomorrow” contract unless all of the taxis are made handicapped accessible, he announced today. One of the chief powers of the Comptroller’s Office is making recommendations regarding city contracts and his move could, well, handicap the Bloomberg administration’s efforts to move forward with the new taxi design.
“With the Taxi of Tomorrow, Mayor Bloomberg had the opportunity to transform the way New Yorkers get around the city whether they’re on two feet or four wheels,” Assemblyman Micah Kellner, a prominent disability rights advocate, declared in Mr. Liu’s statement. “Sadly, his choice for the Taxi of Tomorrow – the Nissan NV-200 – will be remembered as the Cathy Black of taxis. The Mayor should scrap his contract with Nissan and commit to making every taxi accessible topeople with disabilities.” Read More