New York City Taxicab Drivers and the Immigrant Experience
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Taxi driving is a primary occupation for immigrants to New York City. Driving a cab in New York City, the home of a substantial majority of American cabbies is nearly a rite of passage for newly arrived male immigrants. For generations Americans have believed that the job helped an immigrant to learn the city, acculturate to American mores, earn sufficient cash to secure a better occupation, and ultimately insure that his sons will not have to wrestle a steering wheel twelve hours or more a day. During the 1950s that dream sometimes became a reality. More recently, cab drivers spend their work lives pushing a hack through the city streets. Still would-be cab drivers come from all over the world to push a hack in New York City. In this article, I will indicate how New Yorkers and cab drivers themselves perceive the trade as composed of aliens, criminals, acculturating new Americans, in identity politics or as part of a multicultural mosaic, and today as proletarians.
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