Plate tectonics


Melissa Stagnaro

Anyone who went through high school earth science has at least a passing knowledge of plate tectonics, the scientific theory concerned with the movement of the Earth’s crust which both causes whole continents to shift and triggers all those frightful earthquakes along the faults.

This blog, however, has nothing to do with that. My concern is with the shift of another type of plates entirely. License plates, actually. And those issued by the State of New York in particular.

When New York first made the switch to the new, obnoxiously gold tags a few months ago, I was as horrified as every other resident of this great state. It wasn’t so much the fee increase, that I could stomach. It was the aesthetics, or more precisely, the lack there of, which I found most unsettling.

I was fully prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt, I really was. I tried to write off my consternation about this new, unpalatable color combination as just an aversion to change. It’ll grow on you, I tried to tell myself.

But I was wrong. I’m every bit as repulsed by New York’s new license plates today as I was when they were unveiled. More so, really, since I’m now forced to view them with greater regularity.

Who chose this particularly garish shade of gold, and then paired it with midnight blue? That’s what I really want to know. Who made this decision, and for the love of all things holy, why?

I want to know if this was a cost saving measure. I mean, were there vats of that school bus-esque color left over from the mid-80’s? If memory serves, that’s when New York made the switch from the old yellow and blue plates to Lady Liberty. (Which I loved, by the way.)

It’s even crossed my mind that perhaps color-blindness was a factor in the decision making process. Because I just can’t fathom why our state would choose a color combo sure to clash with just about every vehicle color on the market. I fully anticipate the number of white cars sold to double in the next year, as it is the only color which doesn’t look appalling with the new plates.

It’s all just rampant speculation at this point. All I know is that, in this instance, going “retro” with the colors was ill-advised.

Just think of the implications: Permanent retinal damage, the long-term effect on the children of our state (all those parental lessons on matching colors wasted!), and it could actually cause the Empire State to lose businesses.

As if the high taxes, energy costs and over-regulation weren’t enough, here we are scaring people away with these obnoxious things. Whole industries, especially those fashion or art related, could be at risk.

And what about tourism? How can that not suffer, given the fact that our scenic highways just got decidedly less attractive. All eyes will be on those hideous plates, rather than the passing landscape.

And forget about attracting new residents to New York. Sure, the design of a state’s license plate wouldn’t be a major factor in such a decision, but it could very well be a deciding one. All things being equal, if it came right down to it, would you chose a state represented by a scenic mountain landscape , or gold and blue monstrosity?

If you said gold and blue, I know you’re lying.

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