The iconic yellow taxi’s of NYC have been an everlasting icon of the city since the Checker Cab Manufacturing Company began rolling them down NYC streets in the early 1920’s. In its almost 100 year history, the taxicabs of NYC have gone through as many changes as the city itself, something we previously documented in our vintage photo column. What has never changed in the minds of New Yorker’s, is its iconic color: the very visible yellow that only NYC taxicabs seem to have. What many New Yorker’s are not aware of is that, the color of the NYC taxicabs that roam the streets of NYC (really Manhattan if we are being honest here) have not been the iconic yellow some of us grew up seeing.


Ever since the discontinuing of the Crown Victoria and Escape Hybrid Ford models, the range of colors for NYC cabs have changed. Some are drastic, like the newer green “Boro Taxi’s” that began popping up around the city last summer. As for the iconic yellow taxi’s we see around Manhattan, Francois Farion–Nissan’s senior manager for color and design — told architecture and design magazine Dwell that “the Toyota Camry shade is very orange, whereas the Lexus RX Hybrid is almost pastel.”

The color for the Nissan Taxi of Tomorrow is chosen for the combination of fashion statement and simplicity of upkeep. At first the designers wanted to use a “bright metallic yellow to communicate modernity and technology,” but because it would have required three coats of paint any time the car was chipped they opted for a lighter, single-coat color.  You can now add the color of NYC taxi’s to the list of things that aren’t the same as they used to be in NYC.

Before you catch an orange cab back to work/school/home, don’t forget to check out our Cities 101 archive. For a photo history of NYC cabs, with some models dating back to the early 1900’s, check out our Photo History of the NYC cab.