Taxi!: A Social History of the New York City Cabdriver (Paperback)
New York City cabdrivers hold a unique place in American culture writ large. Cabbies proverbially counsel, console, and confound. Sometimes perceived as the key to street-level opinion or mysterious savants who don't speak much English, the hackers who move New Yorkers have been integral to the city's growth and culture since the mid-nineteenth century when they first began shuttling residents, workers, and visitors in horse-drawn carriages. Their importance grew with the introduction of gasoline-powered cars early last century and continues to the present day, when more than 12,000 licensed yellow cabs operate in Manhattan alone.
Taxi is the first book-length history of New York City cabdrivers and the community they compose. From labor unrest and racial strife among cabbies to ruthless competition and political machinations, this deftly woven narrative captures the people--lower-class immigrants, for the most part--and their struggle to attain a piece of the American dream. Hodges tells their tale through contemporary news accounts, Hollywood films, social science research, and the words of the cabbies themselves. Taxi provides a new perspective on New York's most colorful emissaries.