Ever play that game where you guess the number of gumballs in a jar? Let’s take it to the next level: How about the number of taxis in the Big Apple? As of 2015, the iconic emblem of the city that never sleeps numbered—you guessed it—13,587.
Because the industry is directly controlled by the city, which allocates a finite number of taxi medallions—the city’s version of a license—the value of a single medallion (and thus a taxi) peaked at—draw a pinky to your mouth—more than $1,000,000. For years the taxi medallion was one of the most sound investments for New Yorkers, and one New Yorker in particular, Evgeny Freidman, hedged his bets on it staying that way. Over the years, he acquired more than 900 medallions. If only he could have foreseen the impact of a little app called Uber.