NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York taxi drivers are putting out a pinup calendar for 2014, playfully displaying pot bellies and copious body hair in a tongue-in-cheek challenge to a popular beefcake calendar produced each year by buff and brawny city firefighters.
The NYC Taxi Drivers calendar features cabbies posing in various stages of undress - a shirtless Yasar lies on a back seat, bare-chested Darek straddles a cab's roof and fully clad Waseem blows a kiss toward the camera.
"They're an under-appreciated class of individuals," said Phil Kirkman, a writer and filmmaker who conceived of and created the calendar along with photographer Shannon McLaughlin.
Proceeds go to University Settlement, a local group that provides social services to poor immigrant families. The calendar can be purchased for $14.99 at www.nyctaxicalendar.com.
The fire department's annual Calendar of Heroes, which also raises funds for charity, features handsome firefighters showing off six-pack abdomens, carved pectorals and bulging biceps.
In seeking out taxi-driver models, Kirkman warned them that a sense of humor, not a chiseled torso, was key.
"It just seemed right to put them in front of the camera and let them show the other side of the driver you don't get to see," he said.
The city's Taxi & Limousine Commission was not involved in making the calendar, but Commissioner David Yassky said he approved of the results.
"I applaud the photographers who put it together for seeing that New York City taxi drivers are the unsung heroes of the city," he said. "They work very hard at a very demanding job, and I think giving them an opportunity to show off a little bit is a good thing."
(Reporting by Jonathan Allen; Writing by Ellen Wulfhorst; editing by Gunna Dickson)