If you spent any time in Greenpoint, you’ll be able to see yellow vintage cabs (those famous movie one like Taxi Driver and Taxi) outside the Henry Norman and Box House hotels. According to Mark Briggs, a resident of the neighborhood and renter of these cabs, “Greenpoint is basically the Checker capital of New York City.” Guests at these hotels often prefer to take a ride in these classic yellow cabs than using the hotel’s ride services.
In 2014, the Checker Car Club of America’s annual convention was held and about 120 Checker enthusiast attended the convention. Experts estimated at that time, that out of the 1000 still existent vehicles, only about 600 are still running.
According to Briggs, less than 20 of those Checkers are in NYC, and three of them happen to be part of his company, TheCheckerCab. According to him, “Mostly, all the Checkers from the East Coast have rusted away or became so damaged from being used as a cab.” Back in 1999 the last Checker yellow cab went off duty, and Briggs, who was still fairly young at that time, remembers this and thinks that’s why he still has a fascination with them. Three years ago, he bought his first Checker car for personal use, and recalls people were so fascinated and amused that that’s when he decided to start renting it.
He has seen so much growth in his business that he will be adding a photo both to the back of a 1973 Checker sometime this fall. This Checker was actually used for the famous show Friends, back when it was owned by a California company. His rates are about $200 for the first hour and $150 for the subsequent one and he mostly rents it out for vat mitzvahs and special events.
Alvaro Gallego, owner of Taxi Depot, once had about 20 Checker cabs, until he had to sell about 15 of them when his rent was raised. His company was located in Long Island, but has now relocated to Astoria, Queens. He now focuses on dressing up vehicles with meters and lights and he still contracts his remaining vintage cars for movies. His rates are around $150-$250, depending on the circumstances.
New York Checker is another company which hires out seven cars. Their cars are De Sotos and Checkers that were previously used as taxis in cities like New York, Chicago, Dallas and Baltimore. The company was founded in 1983, and since then the company has rented out cars to famous TV shows and movies like Mad Men, Cigarettes, When Harry Met Sally and upcoming HBO Series, The Deuce.
Peter Mazzadri, who works at New York Checker, says that being in this business has its perks. Back in 2014, he got to drive Lady Gaga to her Roseland show. Another company car was also used for a New York magazine story about Blur.
These companies are amazing at what they do, but what happens when you just want to take a ride in a Checker yellow cab without it having to be a special occasion? Well, good news! There is one company that is willing to do that. MyCarServiceRide.com rents their car for $200 for the first hour.
Via Bedford and Bowery