47° Good Afternoon
47° Good Afternoon
OpinionColumnistsRachel Figueroa-Levin

For unsung heroes, a Statue of Livery

Depending on where you're heading, getting around in New York City -- to see a pediatrician, catch a flight or even get home for family dinner -- can be difficult when subway lines don't go there.

Hailing a cab seems obvious, but that doesn't always work.

I am one of those New Yorkers who has a hard time getting a yellow cab. Those drivers have a reputation for not picking up fares going uptown or to the outer boroughs -- some have even driven right past pregnant women or mothers with children. I know both from experience.

When I was expecting my daughter, it once took me half an hour to get a cab in midtown -- and cabs were everywhere. I assume they were terrified of a woman giving birth in the backseat. What are they to do if your water breaks?

After my daughter was born a couple of years ago, getting a cab wasn't any easier. Were drivers afraid of my toddler peeing in the cab? With one exception when my daughter couldn't hold it (in her defense, it took us long to get a cab), my daughter always behaves while in a car.

I managed to get a yellow cab to stop one time, but I couldn't get the driver to take me home uptown. Apparently, anything north of 125th Street is considered an outer borough.

So how do I get places? Livery cabs. They're lifesavers. Even before it was legal for those drivers to pick up street fares, they were the only reliable way to get to neighborhoods where yellow cabs didn't go. Livery-cab drivers have made my life more livable -- and are among the city's unsung heroes.

The new livery cabs allowed to pick up street hails are great: business as usual with a fresh, green coats of paint. The fact that they're called "All Borough Cabs" underscores how difficult it can be to get yellow cabs to take you anywhere in the city -- as required by law.

So, while we're still basking in the glow of our Thanksgiving-induced feelings of gratitude, take a moment to consider the amazing contributions of the livery cabs. Without them, many of us would have to walk home. There should be a holiday in their name -- or a monument.

For all they do, a Statue of Livery would be well-deserved.

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