From Midtown to Harlem: NYC Taxi Trips in Color

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Taxi Data WheelDetail from a data visualization of NYC taxi trips by Zoe Fraade-Blanar. Click for full image.

(New York City -- John Keefe, WNYC) -- Take me to Midtown!

That's what most New York City taxi riders were saying one Tuesday afternoon,  a new data visualization by Zoe Fraade-Blanar shows in vivid colors.

Fraade-Blanar mapped pick-up and drop-off locations  by NYC neighborhood, based on taxi-trip data from the city's Taxi and Limousine Commission.

The graphic represents one hour of rides -- the 4 p.m. hour, well known to New Yorkers as the most difficult time to catch cabs.

The colorful wheel shows the neighborhoods where riders managed to nab taxis that day in March 2009, and where they went. Look at it closely, and follow the neighborhood's color to the cab's destination neighborhood. White bands along the neighborhood arcs indicate the destinations; so the turquoise line crossing the circle are trips from Midtown to Gramercy.

You can see how most of the late afternoon fares in the West Village and TriBeCa are leaving the neighborhood, while in the Financial District and East Village most of them are arriving. While almost all of the rides to and from Chelsea at that hour are to Chelsea. Even the few riders who hailed a cab from the Chelsea were dropped off in the same neighborhood.

Fraade-Blanar started crunching the data with a small team of programmers -- and this journalist -- at marathon meetup of Hacks/Hackers NYC, which brings together programmers, data experts and media folks. That event also led to another Fraade-Blanar graphic showing 24-hours of taxi trips.