My post is actually about a small business owner, Imad Khachen, who owns The Chess Forum in Greenwich Village. This item was part of a NYC themed chess set from the UK. Imad imports chess sets from around the world for his chess store. This little taxi shows how universal the game of chess is, how someone in the UK could make it for New Yorkers but still keep that love for chess in it. Chess can truly connect people from around the world. The chess shop has survived a full 22 years as a small business in NYC, attracting people from many different places, as well as many locals.
This piece was part of a larger set with the Twin Towers and other iconic NYC pieces that were discontinued. This artifact actually shows Imad's struggle more than anything, as the full set was discontinued due to the 9/11 attack. The exact same cause crippled much of Imad's business, which he had worked so hard to build up after he emigrated to this country. It greatly reduced the amount of tourists and therefore customers. The city's lack of tourists reduced (and still affects) Imad's business to primarily New Yorkers, but many from afar visit the shop as well. Despite being part of a bigger set, Imad kept this piece anyway, intending to sell it individually so it might not have the connection to the Twin Towers. This was a gift I bought for myself for a small price, but I learned a lot about the character of both his business and about him in that one conversation about the chess piece.
– Vanessa Sun