Remember this taxi tip in New York City

When in New York, hailing a cab is as easy as standing at a curb and holding out your hand, but first you have to learn how to read the lights on the cab’s roof. If just the center is lit with the medallion number highlighted, then the cab is available, but if both the medallion number and the side lamps are lit, the cab is off-duty. When there is nothing lit, the cab is already occupied.
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