New York Wins the Best Plate Award for 2023

By Gus Oliver (#8407) and Jordan Irazabal (#11010)

“Congratulations to the state of New York for winning the Automobile License Plate Collectors Association’s 2023 Best Plate Award for their Long Island regional license plate. The winner, which captured the honor with a significant margin, features the iconic Montauk lighthouse and is one of 10 regional plates issued by the state,” said ALPCA President Cyndi McCabe.

This plate won with 12% of the votes, which was more than 30% ahead of all 20 other plates that were nominated. Pre-numbered plates cost $60 initially and $31.25 for annual renewals, while personalized plates are $91.25 initially and $62.50 for renewals. These costs are in addition to the regular registration fees.

This is one of 10 regional license plates that New York unveiled last June. “Every region of our state has something unique and interesting about it, and we are happy to celebrate that uniqueness by making these new license plates available for New York drivers,” Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Mark Schroeder said in a news release. “These also allow drivers to put their own unique touch on their vehicles and show pride for the place they live.”

This is also the first time for New York to win this award. Plates with lighthouses have always been popular with our members, with Mississippi’s new general issue depicting a lighthouse winning this award for 2012. (More on the lighthouse itself below.)

The Long Island plate was nominated by Robert Ross #6925 and Ross Day #2449. Ross Day had this to say about the plate: “Attractive but not distracting full-background graphic (serial is still readable), no-nonsense and also readable state name and type. As good as the graphic is on.” Tom Fletcher #9117 voted for this plate and made these comments: “Easiest to read. Love the Lighthouse.” Attractiveness and legibility are the primary criteria for judging and this plate certainly scores high on both.

We want to thank you all for participating. We had a record participation with 547 members voting. This compares to 516 last year, which was a near record. To those who did not vote, we suggest you watch the new plates that come out during 2024 and then nominate one in December. You will enjoy it!

A few questioned having so many plates on the ballot. We understand your concerns. The top 12 plates had just over 80% of the votes. On the other hand, each of these nominations is someone’s favorite plate. We all have different opinions on what makes a favorite plate. One year, we had a committee evaluate each plate individually based solely on attractiveness and legibility. The 12 that scored best were put on the ballot. Some that nominated the plates that were eliminated felt that their nomination was not given a fair chance. If, in the future, some of the nominations had serious legibility or attractiveness issues (or there were just too many plates to consider them all), we may use a committee again. But if the plates are generally legible and attractive, we want to keep them on the ballot. With 20 plates last year, and 21 plates this year, we had a fabulous diversity of plates to choose from.

The Lighthouse

Completed in 1796, the Montauk Point Lighthouse was the first public work project of the newly established United States of America. It is the fourth-oldest working lighthouse in the U.S. It was originally 80 feet tall, but after various renovations and modifications, the current height is 110.5 feet. It is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places and more recently recognized as a National Historic Landmark. When it was constructed, it was 300 feet from the shoreline, but due to erosion, it is currently only 100 feet away. Various projects have slowed the erosion, but this has hopefully been solved by an Army Corp of Engineers project that was completed last year at a cost of $44 million, including repainting the lighthouse. The lighthouse is located on Turtle Hill at the easternmost tip of Long Island, at 2000 Montauk Highway. It is a privately-run museum and is not part of Montauk Point State Park. Entry to the lighthouse costs $15 for adults, $8 for seniors and $5 for children.


  1. New York (567 points)
  2. Florida (427 points)
  3. Oregon (380 points)
  4. New South Wales (361 points)
  5. Rhode Island (357 points)
  6. Colorado (324 points)
  7. Tennessee (300 points)
  8. North Carolina (266 points)
  9. Utah (244 points)
  10. Wisconsin (233 points)
  11. Arizona (202 points)
  12. South Dakota (183 points)
  13. Montana (165 points)
  14. Akita (128 points)
  15. Pennsylvania (117 points)
  16. Kansas (112 points)
  17. Tokyo (109 points)
  18. Virginia (92 points)
  19. Washington (73 points)
  20. Texas (69 points)
  21. Louisiana (68 points)