Wednesday, November 11, 2009

New tags in New York

New York is getting new license plates.

When I was a kid, I was obsessed with cars and, by extension, license plates. I'm nothing close to the collector and historian my mom's cousin (I think that makes him my first cousin once removed) in California is, but I'm still drawn to them, both for the design of the clever or unique and for the amusement of reading an owner's choice for personalization.

But after a visit to Geddy's in Bar Harbor, Maine, last year, the bug bit me again. The store beneath the restaurant sold used plates and with a whole basement (well, a half-finished basement) to myself in our house, I flipped through the offerings and bought a few that I had always enjoyed, like Utah's Delicate Arch and Arizona's desert colors. We dug up Casey's various Pennsylvania plates, a few random ones I'd had in my bedroom as a kid (the old orange-and-blue New York, Vermont, various Maine tags) and I started planning how they'd hang in the basement.

I also started a new quest to collect as many license plates from states that feature lighthouses as an option. Most of those direct a portion of the cost to beach or seashore preservation, like New Jersey's -- which I've had on my car, in three letter/number combinations, since I got my first set of wheels in college.

So the news of New York's new tags piqued my curiosity. But the funny thing about the change New York is making next year is that my first thought -- after noticing their resemblance to the old plates -- was how would people react to the shift away from the red, white and blue of the Statue of Liberty plates. And then I remembered that those were nearly a decade ago, and they've had the blue and white -- from Niagra Falls to the City -- since 2001.

Guess those didn't make much of an impression on me.

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