Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Shift Shots 3/08

During dead time when everyone had already gone home after bars, I found a fare from the Upper West Side to Roosevelt Island. The island is a quiet oasis neighboring Manhattan, technically a part of manhattan as far as districts go. There should be a very small town feel to the island because it has only one road, but that feeling is assaulted by the atrocious architecture of most of the buildings, and a very large hospital complex. The south end of the island has been closed off to the public for more than a generation I think, as there are ruins of the old small pocks hospital.

Roosevelt Island

The traffic that some towns would consider dense, flows constantly above Roosevelt Island along the Queensboro Bridge. The lights post stark contrast between the foreground's slow life, and the fast life that overpasses. Turning north to the left side of my cab, is the only wood clapboard house on the island. It most likely is a landmark and not an actual residence.
The island is pretty conveniant to Manhattan, with both the tramway that runs parallel to the Queensboro bridge, and a subway stop. And thus, the island is mostly covered in ugly residential towers.

Ravenswood, Queens
Good news for the maps, I found a Queens map that shows more neighborhoods than google, with a better sense of borders and links to further information on each neighborhood. I never Knew there was a neighborhood called Ravenswood before. I was going to label the picture Queensbridge, Astoria, or Long Island City, but it lays somewhere in between all three. There was also a link through the site to the Forgotten NY page of Ravenswood, it even had old maps with the older street names, I love maps! Forgotten NY is a site that looks at the historic remnants of the city that are still present, then digs deeper into the past from these traces.

Weehawken, New Jersey
As for New Jersey I didn't realize until now that when searching Google Maps if you drag that little yellow man around to see pictures around the towns it tells you every town you're in as well as the approximate address. I am completely miffed by these towns, which are smaller in both size and population than many New York City neighborhoods are.

Saint Patricks Cathedral - Midtown

Murray Hill
So I was taking a fare from the Waldorf Astoria to Battery Park, a very nice ride, and nothing out of the ordinary. I let a few ambulances pass, then all of the sudden a bottleneck type squeeze of lanes occurred at 36th street and Lexington Avenue. I was going to head down 36th, but then the far left lane of Lexington appeared to open up. It only lasted but a second, and we waited for another traffic light cycle from green to red and green again. Soon enough we came to the intersection of 35th and Lex where the police were directing the left of Lexington to the east down 35th, and the right of Lex to the west. 

As I turned I saw that mess. 35th street only goes west too, so they were working out an emergency plan of redirecting lots of traffic. This was extremely rare for a car to flip on a street in Manhattan, as the speed limit is only 30 miles per hour. And it seems to be scary evidence that we shouldn't be using the Ford Escape hybrid S.U.V.'s. Especially when compared with the Crwon Victoria they are probably much more top heavy and prone to flipping. If this could happen on Lexington Avenue, imagine what could happen on the Grand Central Parkway.
Until then, I'd thought the Escape to be the most ideal taxi, with adequate legroom, and maybe more trunk room than the Crown Vic in a much smaller package and with three times the fuel economy. I still feel that if you can afford the larger Toyota Highlander hybrid it is wide and long enough, but not as tall, not to flip as easy. But still, all S.U.V.'s have this tendency, and when driving one you must train yourself not to overreact in emergency maneuvers.

LaGuardia Airport, Queens

Columbus Circle


Anonymous said...

I understand your concern about flipping, but I think something must have happened to provoke that rather than a professional driver underestimating a turn (in a well known area, in daylight) and managing to flip a vehicle. Emergency or evasive turn to avoid something coupled with a curb may have done that cap in since i don't see any sort of apparent damage from your photos. I'm fairly sure we don't have to worry about escapes flipping regularly.

NYC taxi photo said...

i agree. we know that the flips don't happen regularly, but the chances are much greater. And that is exactly what I am saying, an evasive maneuver probably caused the flip. if you do the same maneuver with a vehicle with a lower center of gravity, the chances of flipping are much lower.

Gusgamashuq Abunoori said...

awesome links. and i love old maps. not to mention new maps too. all maps. i'm obsessed with maps. i have a collection of them.