There's been something hiding in plain sight on nearly every vehicle in New York state... have you noticed it before?

Every decade or two, our license plates undergo a makeover (see the New York plate design from your date of birth here). From the red white and blue Statue of Liberty plate that was in circulation from 1986-2000 to the navy and yellow plates issued from 2010-2020 (below), everyone has their favorite. But have you noticed what's on the newest "Excelsior" plates?

Statue of Liberty license plates (L) were issued from 1986-2000. The navy and yellow plates were produced between 2010 and 2020
Statue of Liberty license plates (L) were issued from 1986-2000. The navy and yellow plates were produced between 2010 and 2020 (eBay)
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New York State's Excelsior License Plate

The latest iteration of the New York license plate, nicknamed the "Excelsior plate" (below), was released in June of 2020 and at the time was the most detailed plate to date (more on that in a second). Not only was the Statue of Liberty back on display, but so were other famous landmarks found all across the state. Some are more recognizable than others.

The latest New York state license plates, nicknamed "Excelsior plates", feature several famous New York landmarks
The latest New York state license plates, nicknamed "Excelsior plates", feature several famous New York landmarks (eBay/NYS DMV)
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What's on New York's Excelsior License Plate?

From left to right, the Excelsior plate features some of New York's greatest hits. Starting with Niagara Falls on the left, the Statue of Liberty in the middle, and the New York City skyline off to the right. But what's the landmark hiding just behind Manhattan?

Did you ever notice the lighthouse hiding on the New York state license plate?
Did you ever notice the lighthouse hiding on the New York state license plate? (NYS DMV/Canva)
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The Landmark Hiding on the New York State License Plate

The smallest landmark seems to almost be hiding in the bottom-right corner of the Excelsior license plate. A closer look reveals that it's an image of a shining lighthouse... but which one? From the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (NYS DMV):

The new Excelsior plate features landmarks from across the state, including Niagara Falls, the Adirondack mountains, the Statue of Liberty, the New York City skyline, and the Montauk Point Lighthouse on Long Island.

Montauk Point Lighthouse in Montauk, NY

The self-proclaimed "world-famous" light house on the most eastern point of Montauk, NY has deep historical roots in the state. Built in 1796 at the behest of George Washington, not only is Montauk Point Lighthouse New York's first light house, but it's one of the oldest light houses in operation in the entire country. It's also a registered National Historic Landmark and open for tours year-round.

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New road trip mission: visit every landmark on the Excelsior license plate! Before you hit the road, check out the full list of New York State Thruway traffic cameras here, and see every New York state license plate design since 1950 below. Keep scrolling to check out the NEW regional New York plates that have more detail than ever before.

New York License Plates by Birth Year

What was the New York State license plate design on the year you were born? Check out 1950-present day below

Gallery Credit: Jonah

New York's New License Plates

New York's newest custom license plates celebrate various regions of New York.

Gallery Credit: New York State DMV

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