Monday, October 08, 2007

Midtown, 58th Street Between Eighth Avenue and Broadway


Mary Sargent © 2007 …………………………………….. click to enlarge

It's an outrage! The first time I saw one of these taxis, I smiled and shook my head, as in, you see such amazing things on the streets of New York. But I kept seeing more and more of them, and, while it is amusing to see your first one, seeing two or three on the same street is alarming, and the thought of all New York taxis being decorated with these kitschy flowers (see article) is horrifying. What's happening to us? Are we becoming Cute City?

This is what comes of letting families live here.

See map.

21 comments:

flyinglady said...

Uh uh, I disagree. I don't think the flowers are cute or kitschy or Woodstock-ish. I think they're mod. Reminds me of Twiggy and the Mod Squad and the British Invasion. And that shiny pink lipstick that girls wore in the 60s. What was that brand?

Mary Sargent said...

The brand was Cute.

Anonymous said...

There was more to it than just decorating cabs. Read about the whole initiative before bemoaning the loss of the bright yellow cab.

JSH said...

Sarge said...
"This is what comes of letting families live here."

Yeesh. Did you say kitschy or bitchy? Besides, I didn't think any families could afford to live in manhattan anymore.

Anonymous said...

They're temporary (just until December), done by NYC kids (both in hospitals and from schools), only once in a hundred years (celebrating the centennial of the cabs), and all in all a very cool project by Portraits of Hope.

Wook said...

How about families consisting of two aging adults (one hairy, one less so) and a very small dog and a zebra pup? And cuteness does rule.

Wook Again said...

But you have to admit, folks, that these kinds of comments from the photographer do get responses.

Anonymous said...

I've noticed taxi drivers smile more and have become friendlier. Just a coincidence?

Mary Sargent said...

Okay, okay. If you promise it'll only happen once in a hundred years, I'll try to be nice.

Jeremiah Moss said...

i also am annoyed by the flowered cabs. i considered making a blog protest myself, but then i thought about those disabled children and decided against it. however, the cute-ification of nyc is generally depressing. couldn't the kids have done a more urban mural on the cabs? now you're making me rethink this...

cool blog, by the way.

Anonymous said...

I wonder about the driver who has to talk to so many of you absolutely human people, arrogent, racist, rude and or stupid. If you only knew.

Anonymous said...

They look like kids just traced something...not creative kid stuff. Ugly.

sebastian said...

Yeah, I think it would be better if they'd taken individual kid's drawings and put them onto the cabs instead of variations on the mod-ish flower design.

Also, this has come up in a lot of conversations I've had lately, and i've heard a lot of different explanations as to why they're there all of a sudden. Most people think that they distinguish hybrid cabs from regular ones. I feel like this is an easy assumption to draw considering the design.

big tipper said...

They did the same thing to oil rigs at beverly hills high school to beautify the eye sore that was an oil rig on a high school field. But you know what it was still a polluting oil rig no matter how many dying kids painted flowers on them. As far as the cabbies are concerned I don't think they like them because they have no say over if their cab gets painted and is just another intrusive thing the city is making cab drivers do without hearing what they have to say, like take credit cards and putting in gps systems.

C.J. Dooley said...

If there was one last detail that confirms that Manhattan is the new Mall of America, this is it.

Keep on walking & shooting, Sargent.

--SB

Anonymous said...

Actually big tipper....

Its voluntary - no cab driver HAS to do it...

Ryan said...

I'm a father living in the city, and i hate these cabs. so don't blame us breeders, y'all. These flowery designs are not just out of character for NYC, they're out of season. If they'd maybe been fall leaves or something, at least it wouldn't feel like i'm having some madison avenue take on "spring" foisted on me in October. Also, some people have tried to change my opinion of the designs by telling me that school children painted them. But to me, the fact that school children painted them is not redeeming ... it's just an underhanded way of making people who hate these designs look like grinches for not liking children's "art."

Elizabeth said...

My kid painted in one of these sessions and it was the only thing she talked about for weeks. When do kids get to do something for free that is actually creative and educational? Her art program was cut last year so this was one of the only projects she could work on. It's too bad that most of the comments on here come from people who clearly do not understand the project.I typically try to educate myself before I share my opinions with people.
Thousands of kids participated in a social studies/art education/art therapy program over the course of a year. They chose an issue they want to change (health care/ poverty/ etc)and then painted their own taxi, which they kept along with a paint set. After, they painted these flowers to help create this large,citywide canvas. So basically each flower is part of a larger canvas on the taxi fleet and creates a " garden in transit".

Maybe that will clear things up. And the next time you want to complain about public art for kids- start funding the art classes that are being cut out of public schools, including my daughter's.

flyinglady said...

Bonne Bell! The cosmetics company that makes those shiny lip products that Twiggy made so popular. Perfect with those mod flowers.

I don't understand why the flower cabs have generated such heated argument and nastiness. The best thing about New York is its variety and the remarkable stories behind the things that appear and disappear.

mary sargent said...

Just to clarify my position, I understood what the project was when I wrote my post. I am not opposed to children being happy and making art. On the contrary, I am very much in favor of it. What I'm opposed to is this specific project. This is not art. This is filling in someone else's designs. In addition, these are uncreative, formulaic designs. If this project teaches kids that this is actually art, it is a disservice. As I suggested in a later post, why not have them do their own paintings on taxis? That would be creative and exciting and original and would look great.

Jezblog said...

You know I kinda like those flowers...on the old beast cabs... what I hate is the new Prius and Mini van taxis ...... if we are considering the asthetics of taxis...... how is it that stuff that changes NYC streets away from looking like NYC permanently... just slides on through...... while people are debating the logos or the flowers stuck on..... like that matters much in the long run........ here is some art I made of the taxi art:
http://www.jezblog.com/archives/07/10/21/704.php

Cheers Jez XX