This Bloke's Been Trying To Hail A Taxi Since 2014

Will Noble
By Will Noble Last edited 8 months ago
This Bloke's Been Trying To Hail A Taxi Since 2014
Someone should tell him about Uber. Image: Londonist

He's had a back-breaking day at work, and now all he wants is a taxi home. But this statue on John Carpenter Street near Blackfriars station has been trying to hail a cab since 2014. And so far, he's had no luck.

Taxi! is the title of J. Seward Johnson Jr's unusual bronze statue, which freeze-frames a city worker, presumably homeward bound after a day at the office. Except, of course he's going nowhere fast.

Jacket and man bag: check. Tie and moustache: fail. Image: Londonist

If you think the baggy trousers, moustache and side parting are erring on the retro, that's because this particular office worker was transferred from New York branch. To wit, Taxi! was in fact sculpted in 1983, originally standing on Park Avenue and 47th Street in New York.

So at least he's had more luck catching planes, then.

Our hero as he originally appeared, in NYC. Image: Seward Johnson

Like many of Johnson's sculptures, this one was originally painted all over, making him eerily realistic — and likely spooking a number of New York cabbies. In fact, in his New York Times obituary, it's claimed that firefighters tried to 'rescue' another of Johnson's statues following the 9/11 attacks, believing it to be a real man.

Now, the London statue's crisp white shirt is the only colour that remains. In a strange twist, his suit, stripped down to bronze, looks like it's made from leather.

Johnson died in March 2020, and leaves behind a slew of these 'everyday' statues across America and the rest of the world.

Last Updated 03 January 2023