We recently watched FDNY and NYPD first responders race down Second Avenue. Among these was the mythical undercover yellow taxi cab NYPD cop car. Following an NYPD van at top speed, in this case the undercover cab was hard not to miss with sirens, flashing lights and a uniformed NYPD officer driving.
Following the NYPD van, this taxi cab with an NYPD officer up front had sirens and flashing lights coming from next to the medallion number.
While it’s often reported that there are two officers up front in the undercover cabs, last Thursday there was just one. These undercover cabs also seem to respond to a wide range of things–from busted taillights, to disasters, to surveilling New York City’s mosques, as reported in the book Enemies Within by Pulitzer Prize-winning Associated Press reporters Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman. In the book, they write that the car is a “real yellow cab, complete with an authentic taxi medallion registered under a fake name” and Gawker reports that the cab is used by the NYPD’s “intelligence division to conduct surveillance operations.”
In a bizarre meta moment, an Untapped Cities reader was a in a cab that was pulled over by an undercover cab. He tells us, “We were in a cab going north on 6th Ave, and right by Bryant Park, we saw police lights flashing behind us, and a short blast siren sound. Looked behind, and it was a yellow cab, with police lights in its headlights. And when it stopped, two cops came out, and gave our cab driver a ticket.”
A 2010 blog post by NYC the Blog claims there are only 8 of these cars rumored to exist in the city (maybe more now?), which surely doesn’t explain completely why sometimes taxi cabs ignore your hails. In addition, the website writes that the license plates they’ve seen “all begin with “T800,” “the medallion numbers for undercover taxis are also alleged to always begin in 6Y or 2W,”
Next, read about the past, present, and future models of the NYC yellow cab.