Readers Write: Admitting we’re not the empire state

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Newsday reports in its story on page A28, “New (vehicle license) plate design is up to you,” that “The state has launched an online petition for residents to vote on five new designs to replace the state’s old empire blue and white plates, most of which are more than a decade old.” The story also appears on Patch today.

To me, the five new designs that are being offered are humdrum, but that doesn’t matter at all. The five offered designs are pictured in the story. What matters to me is that “The Empire State” is being removed from the plate, but, it is being replaced with “Excelsior”, which is the state’s official motto. 

New York State hasn’t been “The Empire State” since about 1956, as best that I can determine it. NYS has lost more population every year, for at least the past 50 years, than any other state in the union. Let’s not discuss why in this message. That distinction can’t be an indication that New York is the, or is even an, empire state. Starting with the new license plate, that untruth will be gone.

Excelsior, the state’s official motto, means “higher,” or “superior,” or “lordly” and most commonly, “ever upward.”

I won’t say that putting “excelsior” on our license plates is an untruth about our state, but it’s certainly a gross exaggeration about the condition of our state.

However, all things considered, I’m refreshed to find out that the great lie about New York being the Empire State, will be gone.

Joel Katz

Port Washington

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