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Nina In New York: Standing At The Edge Of Tomorrow…Today!

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Mayor Bloomberg joins Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Congressman Jerrold Nadler and Taxi Commissioner David Yassky to announce new federal legislation to grant the city authority to set fuel efficiency standards for taxis. (Photo Credit: Edward Reed)

Mayor Bloomberg joins Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Congressman Jerrold Nadler and Taxi Commissioner David Yassky to announce new federal legislation to grant the city authority to set fuel efficiency standards for taxis. (Photo Credit: Edward Reed)

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A young professional’s take on the trials and tribulations of everyday life in New York City.
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The Ford Crown Victoria is being retired from production, which will leave many Floridian grandparents wondering what to drive. More pressingly, it means that NYC needs to pick a new car to become the next designated yellow cab for the next ten years. It’s the end of an era (or at least, the continuation of the phasing out of an era). And as all of these things go, it is both sad and exciting.

The Taxi and Limousine Commission reviewed a number of proposals and has settled on three finalists, all of which are generally ugly and look like vaguely futuristic minivans. They seem very nice and spacious and fuel-efficient and blahbityblah. I like them. They’re great. The most interesting looking one is called Karsan, which sounds like the name of a robot. That’s cool. Plus it’s from Turkey, which is novel, and it has a panoramic glass roof which seems both awesome and very likely to get pooped on. But while the TLC is at it, I think there are other attributes to consider for our “Taxi of Tomorrow.” Here are a few items, TLC overlords, for your consideration. I’m not trying to be presumptuous or claim to know anything about cars. But I just figured with a big decision like this, you may have overlooked some important albeit minor details. I hope it can help you narrow your options:

karsan Nina In New York: Standing At The Edge Of Tomorrow...Today!

Karsan -- Taxi Of Tomorrow

1. I’d recommend picking the car that doesn’t contain a television blaring insipid local news promos on loop every 4 minutes. As much as I appreciate Sandy Kenyon’s refreshing yet nasal honesty, if I hear him or the Eyewitness News jingle one more time, I will finally have that nervous breakdown. On the other hand, if one of the cars comes with a screen which plays nothing but old episodes of “Taxi,” that would be totally meta, which in this case means “good.”

2. I’m not sure which model vehicle boasts this feature, but it’d be swell if you chose the one which isn’t inhabited by any bed bugs, either in the cab’s interior or the trunk. I could breathe a little easier knowing the European tourists who preceded me kept all their bedbugs with them when they exited the backseat. Come to think of it, I don’t believe people who stay in hostels in NYC should be allowed to take taxis. At least, not without wrapping all of their possessions in cellophane.

3. You should check that the car’s credit card machines don’t mysteriously break when you arrive at your destination, creating an awkward and occasionally contentious situation. It’s fluky, but I’m sure the true taxi of the future will have overcome this glitch. Similarly, I’d pay careful attention to the horn functionality. In the current models, it often seems to go off rather erratically.

The TLC’s decision will come later this month, and I doubt they’ll take any of my notes. I suppose I can live with that. In all seriousness, as ugly-cool as the Karsan looks, I do hope they go with the Ford. Sure, maybe it lacks the same Jetsons sort of appeal, but it seems a shame to give a ten-year, high-profile contract away to a foreign manufacturer at a time when Detroit needs all the help it can get. The Crown Vic may not have been fashionable or environmentally-sound, but it served us well in the past. That should count for something when we’re looking towards our future.

Dear Readers: While I am rarely at a loss for words, I’m always grateful for column ideas. Please feel free to e-mail me your suggestions.

Nina Pajak is a writer and publishing professional living with her husband on the Upper West Side.

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