The New York City cab is more than just a car that happens to be painted yellow.
Born of the hardscrabble ambitions of poor and immigrant workers in the 19th century, the cab rose to become a mighty symbol of a metropolis that always seemed to be on the go.
The status of cab driving as a profession grew steadily in the mid-20th century as the vehicles became more splendidly comfortable with the introduction of the Checker and the almost-gorgeous DeSoto Skyliner. But it wasn't too long before the reputation of the cab industry took a nosedive. By the 1970s, cabs were described as dirty and cramped, their drivers rough outsiders that maneuvered the streets with psychopathic urgency.
Much has changed since then; cabs have gotten better, and so has the reputation of the drivers. And if the number of taxi-inspired souvenirs at gift shops is any indication, the cab is as inseparable from the city's narrative as the State of Liberty.
Here's a brief history of the taxi in photos, from the earliest horse-drawn cabs to the Taxi of Tomorrow.
Horse-drawn hacks of the 19th century: A bad rep is born
Electric cabs of the late 19th century: A failed experiment
Yellow Cab Company, 1920s: Cabbies selected for 'cheerful kindliness'
Checker Cabs of the 1920s: Shiny new models hit the streets
DeSoto taxicabs: Riding in style (with sunroofs!)
1950s Checker cabs: Roomy and handsome
Diversity of cabs in the 1960s: Car makers battle it out
Gypsy cabs emerge in response to racism: 'We go anywhere'
The 1970s: A 'sleazy' low point in cab comfort, cleanliness
Ford's Crown Victoria triumphs over all in the 1990s
Hybrids, minivans, SUVs and more in the 2000s
Uber, Lyft: Ride sharing disrupts the taxi industry in the 2010s
Green in 2013: Rise of the outer-borough taxi