Lana Del Rey for Vogue Australia. Photographed by Nicole Bentley.
New York City was a yellow taxi experience for me. These yellow taxi moments are everywhere. Some are disappointing, frustrating or shameful. Some are beautiful and unexpected. The best ones are the ones that come at the most opportune times, when the only thing that can save you is that yellow taxi.
The taxis in my life mean opportunities, friendships, moments I never want to forget, and moments that I wish could be consigned to oblivion. Sometimes the taxis drive right past me, (without noticing me, or in some cases, on purpose) sometimes they don’t stop for me because they’re already on their way to someplace with another person and sometimes they slow to a stop just as I walk onto the road. “Where to, miss?” That’s when the choice is mine. That’s when I can decide my next destination.
A fast approaching and unfortunately fast ending trip to New York was one of those taxis that pulled up just at the right time. I was in great need of a new outlook, and this particular yellow taxi opportunity brought exactly that. That city! It is a perfectly compiled mix of all my favourite things. I’d always imagined how it would be: loud, busy, intense. But I had never been able to imagine what it would be like to be in the middle of it, somehow apart of it. A part of the intensity. The yellow taxi awaited me. It was overwhelming, but in the greatest way I’d ever known. Even in New York it was easy to forget where I was, as I slipped into the distraction of technicalities such as trying to find a bathroom or navigating through an array of unknown streets. But then a bright yellow NYC taxi would drive by, and I’d remember. This was a moment I had to enshrine.
Being quite a generic female, the most exciting feeling was walking into a store that was lavished with handcrafted designer clothing and trying on my most desired piece. Sometimes external additions are what I need to provoke a positive internal condition. But then I see the price tag. At most times it’s necessary to put that piece of clothing right back on the hanger and place it back where it came from, but other times, it’s only acceptable to stride out of the change room with the clothing in your hand, leaving any rational thinking behind. Behold, another shining yellow taxi moment. The door swings open and once again, I’m headed in a new direction. Lattes. Also perfectly handcrafted, except this time by New York’s finest coffee connoisseurs. As trivial as it sounds, this latte was the best I’d ever had, partnered with the stylistic atmosphere of its birth - this was a moment where it was okay to let a few taxis drive by. There was a woman whose dress flew up as a biker rode past. A man sat on a bench reading the paper; constantly averting his eyes up, scouting the hurried people. Ceremonial latte sipping is a time that I use to observe other people’s experiences with the infamous yellow taxis.
Within this yellow taxi experience in New York, there were a few tagalong taxis - a few unexpected moments that reminded me to not judge situations before they are developed. There was a time when I was pulling a car door handle, thinking it was a taxi, but quickly learned it wasn’t. A red-cheeked taxi moment. Life has often been that way, believing something is right, but then being shown (sometimes harshly) that maybe it’s not for me, or it’s not the right time. Then there was a time when time itself was minimal and I needed to be at the train station to catch a specific train - and a vacant taxi was no where to be seen. It’s frustrating and I blame it on adversity, but in truth, it was all purposeful. The further down the street I walked to flag a taxi, the closer I was to getting to a subway station that would take me straight to Grand Central. A quiet triumph. I don’t always need those yellow taxis, even if I think they are my only option. Other modes of transportation present themselves at the most desperate times. A lot of the time, my yellow taxis are disguised.
Standing in the middle of 5th Avenue I was amongst an array of colour and hues of light and dark. There was a chaos of white, black, brown, rich and poor. There were greys there too, separating the colours. Normalcy didn’t exist here. Not to me, an outsider. This realization was one of those unexpected yellow taxis. The ones that stop right in front of your path and expect you to get in. I was suddenly aware of a place - a culture that I never knew: a culture where people were all focused on getting to their personal destinations; a culture where it didn’t matter what the person bumping shoulders with you on the crosswalk thought about you. A broad new perspective came alive. I was, and am, one of the many people who are just trying to flag that taxi, to get in the one that belongs. Some are less fortunate and end up in taxis that take them to places they should not be going. Some don’t even get the opportunity to know what it feels like to get in that taxi. I am travelling, you are travelling, we are travelling, in these yellow taxis that we hope will bring us happiness, success and purpose.
New York City was my bright, shining yellow taxi- that was full of other yellow taxis. Every now and then I know i’m going to miss an opportunity that I probably should have taken. I won’t worry, because “we are a product of all our experiences.” - Stanford I. Weill. Even the missed taxis.