New York Film Locations

Taxi Revisited

3 June 2023

Kicking off the summer updates to otsoNY’s vast collection of films is the 2004 action comedy “Taxi” directed by Tim Story and starring Queen Latifah, Jimmy Fallon, Gisele Bündchen, Jennifer Esposito, and Ann-Margret. The story follows an incompetent New York City police officer who is banned from driving and comes to rely on a talented taxi driver to help him solve a series of bank robberies.

Originally posted on otsoNY in November 2009 with minor updates a year later, the film has been revisited with new screen grabs and a couple of new film locations added, of which includes a scene shot on Morningside Avenue between West 120th and 121st Streets, and sees the main villainess Vanessa, wearing a stylish bikini and a disguised in a short black bob, played by Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bündchen, being asked by a police officer to step out of her BMW and open the boot, only to reveal a suitcase filled with skimpy lingerie.

When we first meet the stylish Vanessa in the film, her entrance is set to Tone Loc’s “Wild Things”, she emerges from the airport in a white skirt suit that’s zippered and super mini, finished off with thigh-high boots, a chain belt, and shield shades. Her posse of fellow bad girls is wearing trendy outfits that are equally 2000s: leopard jackets, body-con dresses, and Louis Vuitton monogrammed duffle bags. “Don’t you scratch them, you idiot,” Vanessa snarls as her limo driver packs their expensive bags in the trunk.

As the film with costume designs by Sanja Milkovic Hays progresses, we learn that Vanessa and her crew have an elaborate plan to execute a major Manhattan bank heist, which they briefly pull off! One of the best scenes in the movie is right after the robbery: The four villains park their getaway car in an alleyway and shed their disguises, sleek black suits and ties to reveal sexy, summery looks underneath. Vanessa wears a printed bra top with a sarong skirt and stilettos; her devious friends also wear printed bikinis and strappy sandals or cork wedges. They rob banks and then blow all their money on designer goods.

It is the film’s climactic ending, however, when Vanessa really busts out a look. When the cops catch on to the girls and start tracking them down, she’s involved in several car chases and a standoff while wearing a black tank top and khaki miniskirt. “On the ground now”, shouts a police officer to her. “In this skirt? I don’t think so”, quips Vanessa. She then proceeds to take a detective as a hostage, giving her a cheeky, full-body frisking before doing so. The whole film is so entertainingly absurd, especially the idea that Vanessa could speed down the streets of New York and dodge traffic in heels. While Bündchen’s cameo as Serena in “The Devil Wears Prada” will forever be iconic, it’s her catwalk-worthy Vanessa outfits that mark her best movie role to date.

After running into Zeke numerous times, Carly invited him to her housewarming party. Soon afterwards, they began a sexual relationship. Meanwhile, Jack started stalking Carly and warning her about Zeke. As Jack’s behaviour became more erratic, Gus died under suspicious circumstances and Vida was murdered, with police suspicion falling on Jack for her death. Zeke revealed to Carly that he was in fact the owner of 113, which he had bought with his inheritance from his wealthy father. As owner of 113, Zeke had installed a comprehensive video surveillance system throughout the building, allowing him to spy on all of the tenants from his own secret surveillance room. Through deduction and eventually one of Zeke’s secret recordings, Carly learned that Jack killed Naomi in a crime of passion. Jack was jealous of Zeke, who had sexual relations with both Naomi and Vida. Jack attacked Carly in her own apartment, and she accidentally shot him dead. Angry at Zeke for withholding evidence in Naomi’s murder, and jealous of his liaisons with Naomi and Vida, Carly destroys Zeke’s surveillance room, told him to ‘get a life’.

In the film, the tall and narrow sliver building is located at 113 East 38th Street in Manhattan, placing it at 38th Street and Park Avenue. The actual building used in the film is known as Morgan Court, located at 211 Madison Avenue New York, one block west and two blocks south of the fictional address. The building has since become a condominium development. It was built in 1985 and has 32 floors. While the movie made use of the building’s courtyard, the lobby was a Los Angeles film set.

Taxi was released in October 2004, in 3,001 US cinemas and opened at No.4 at the box office with $12 million in the opening weekend. It went onto gross $36.9 million domestically and $34.4 million from other markets for a worldwide total of $71.3 million, against a production budget of $25 million.


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