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New Orange New York License Plates - Are NY State plates ugly?

Updated on January 7, 2011

The new New York State Plates

 Starting April 1, 2010 all new plates issued by the New York State DMV will be the new style known as "Empire Gold."

You have probably already seen these hideous plates in New York streets. Empire Gold is the nice marketable name created by whatever spin doctors were hired to try to pass these visual monstrosities off to the new york state tax payers. According to the official press release, this new design is "retro" and NYS is proud to present it to its motorists.

Initially, New York State planned on requiring all new registrants and renewals to purchase new empire gold plates , this created the buzz that the budget of NYS was to be spurred by forcing drivers of the state to pay the recently increased plate fee of $25 in order to renew their registration.

This policy is revoked and the need for new plates and the resultant $25 fee is to be limited to to new registrations and lost/stolen plate replacement requests.

New New York State License Plates
New New York State License Plates

New Orange New York State Plates

You will receive Empire Gold plates when you:

  • Apply to replace plates that are lost or stolen, or
  • Apply for a new (original) registration and do not transfer the plates or registration from another vehicle, or
  • Order new personalized plates.

You will have the option to order Empire Gold plates when you:

Renew your registration on-line, by phone, by mail or at a DMV office, or
Order Empire Gold plates to replace your current plates at a time your registration is not due to be renewed. You can order Empire gold plates by phone, on-line or at a DMV office.

Why do we have these new orange new york plates?

Supposedly, New York State traditionally releases a new plate design every ten years. It has been near ten years since the last issue of the blue and white plate style we have been accustomed too. 

New York State has called these plates "retro" and in fact they are.

Below you will see some retro or vintage selection of New York State plates from the past - the orange or "Empire Gold" motif was common throughout NYS past plates. 

Hide your Ugly Plate

If you really hate your new "empire gold" license plate, simply invest in a new license plate holder that takes attention away from its hideousness.

Do you like the New York State Plates?

See results


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    • Ozzfest profile image


      4 years ago

      Are you Kidding?? I Love these Plates. It's what New York is all about. Better than those boring blue & white plates. Plus it's the colors of New York State..

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I collect license plates, and through most of New York license plate history a yellowish to orange color with black or blue letters and numbers was by far the most common. From just the ones on my wall there is the 1929, '31, '35, '44, '51, '52, '58, '62, '63, and the long run of orange plates from 1973 to 1986, and many more years besides. I really like the blue with orange letter ones from 1966 to 1973 that can be used on musclecars now, I don't really like the white based plates, I think the US government was pushing for states to make a more uniform white based plate back in the 1980's. Those are the state colors, you can see the orange/blue colors on the state highway trucks like plows and road crew trucks. I liked the "skyline" look of the last plates, just not the white base color, so I guess what I'm saying is that I like the new plates.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I am trying to find colors of 1924 NYS license plates......??

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I love them. You can tell in one instant look from 3 miles away that I'm from New it.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      the orange plates are ugly as hell there not as good as the old plates like the white ones with the statue of liberty on it or the ones we used in 2000 to 2010 if we wanted to do a retro plate we should done the white plates with statue of liberty on it not those ugly orange plates from the 70s

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Awesome Plates..

    • profile image

      Sean Mac an Ultaigh 

      8 years ago

      I am 63 years old. I like old fashioned stuff as much as the next person, but these plates don’t work for me. My dad had an old 1953 Plymouth which was just about the ugliest pea green I could ever imagine. Brand new, the color was disgusting. I reckon these plates would have looked, well, “just right” on the old pea-green Plymouth, but they clash with the color of every modern car I’ve seen them on. They are not merely ugly, but sensationally ugly. I can’t look at them without wondering which unchecked ego in the state government is responsible for deciding on them. At a time when we should be promoting all that our state offers, some dunderhead in the state government decides to go retro? I see the license plates of other states while stopped in traffic and I am green with envy. Many states have awakened to the promotional opportunity presented by license plates. Their plates brag about their history, natural resources and recreational opportunities. Their plates are in vibrant upbeat colors. Then I look at the new and improved New York plate, which is cutting edge drab and communicates nothing except the presence of a color blind bureaucrat behind the curtain. We should have sky blue plates with corners embellished with multi-colored images of Niagara Falls, Montauk Lighthouse, the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty. Every plate would be a reminder of who were are and what we value. They would project a positive and uplifting message on behalf of all New Yorkers. The present “new” plate is unimaginative, non-communicative and depressing in the extreme.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      really?! that's what they came up with?! some pretentious f' wad designer was probably paid a considerable amount of our tax $$$ to copy the 1970s plate and call it 'retro'. thanks albany! you suck!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Change our NY state plates back to the blue and white! The gold plates are embarassing!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Retro usually means revolting and in this case it's the same. The new plates are disgusting and make me want to throw up.

      Leave it to a blind governor to make this decision. Clowns. I'm keeping my old plates fck off NYS. Another way to fleece us at the state level.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Glad I got a new car before these plates came into being. As a New York driver for over 40 years I remember many different plates. I like the white plates with blue lettering the best. Still and all, it's just a plate. Not earth shattering! Many more important things in life to worry about.

    • profile image

      Sing me: "Not a fan of the new plates' 

      8 years ago

      @justom: Ohio does not use a single plate, but multiple depending on the registering county. The new plates (state wide) are very artistic- especially compared to the new NY retro plate.

      To have a plain orange plate in Ohio means your driving privileges are restricted to work, home and necessary trips (e.g. DUI conviction).

      From that perspective the new NY State plates are not only ugly, but misleading to authorities in other states.

    • profile image

      Tyresha Williams 

      8 years ago

      Hey. i would like to say that these new plates are HIDEOUS ! the other ones expressed our state real well while this one is just orange/yellow and that's it. the old ones had at the top: niagara falls, adirondack mountains, and new york city. these license plates are ONLY yellow/orange. BLAH is what i have to say about these tormenting license plates. CHANGE THEM BACK ! THE OLD ONES WERE GORGEOUS AND REALLY EXPRESSD OUR STATE WELL.

    • William F. Torpey profile image

      William F Torpey 

      8 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      I like the hub, don't like the plates.

    • profile image


      8 years ago


    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Eventhough I'm color blind, I still think that the plates are FUGLY! I'm going with the Blind guy sitting in the Gov's mansion who chose the color... ugh

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      So many of these comments reflect exactly what my husband and I were thinking! An ugly color contrast with most cars and certainly not an attractive design compared to many other States. But I loved the remarks by lxxy and sunforged..hysterical!

    • sunforged profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from

      IzzyX, Considering the Governor is Legally blind - this is a very real possibility

    • lxxy profile image


      8 years ago from Beneath, Between, Beyond

      Something tells me the design committee for these plates were also upstanding members in the National Society for the Color Blind.

    • sunforged profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from

      I think the issue isn't what the plate looks like by itself - its the glaring contrast it creates when mounted on most automobiles.

      I grew up a Mets fans - and I live in syracuse - blue and orange are good colors in my book but they dont mesh well with most auto colors

    • FGual profile image


      8 years ago from USA

      Hello. Don't understand what is so hideous about it. Looks better than solid gold of years past. Might look better with a bust of Miss Liberty instead of the state map.

    • wavegirl22 profile image


      8 years ago from New York, NY

      Our white plate was just fine. . I am sorry to say I saw the new one just the other day and I was like .. what the @%*! ....I must admit I do remember the plates of the 80's . . that's when I got my first car ! When they changed it to the white ones we have now I thought it was a nice change. . when I have to renew I will definitely go for one of the "vintage" ones. . for the ones they are now calling "retro" are just an ugly version of orange. . the vintage is far better, at least it was an ok version of orange!

      Thanks SF for this Hub. my head is spinning from everything else I am reading during this 'promo" phase and the change gave me a good time out and giggle!

    • DustinsMom profile image


      8 years ago from USA

      I think they are cool! Different!

    • anglnwu profile image


      8 years ago

      I like it too. Check out California's--pretty tame, compared to the hot gold of New York State.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      8 years ago from London, UK

      Thank you for an interesting hub.

    • justom profile image


      8 years ago from 41042

      I think they look great. If you want to see an ugly plate check out Ohio's.


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