New York - America's Capital? I have a long commute to work each day. I try to keep alert with news, music (especially music), an occasional book-on-tape and just by being observant. Two years ago I started to notice how many out-of-state license plates there were on the cars of my fellow travelers. I decided to record them with the goal of seeing a plate from every US state within one year. I fell short of the goal by one plate; Hawaii. This is not entirely surprising. After all, I would not expect to see that state represented on the roads of NY too easily. Alaska, yes, I've seen that one several times. Lots of kids from Long Island, Queens and Brooklyn are in the military and many spend time in Alaska. But, Hawaii; that was a challenge. The way I played this grown up version of the I-Spy game, was to record only plates I saw on days I commuted and only on my hour and half route from Long Island to Brooklyn. Within one year I had seen plates from 49 US states, most of the Canadian Provinces, England, Germany, Diplomat and US Government plates, but no Hawaii.
So I was very surprised this morning when, one year after my original goal expired, a Black Chevy pick-up with tinted windows pulled along side of me, and as it slowly passed I saw, under a rainbow design on an otherwise white, black-lettered license plate, the word "HAWAII". Wow, I thought. Even though it took two years, just the idea that every state in this country was represented along a 45 mile stretch of road and only when I was looking says something about New York, the people of America, the freedoms we take for granted, the potential for a more unified society, the great privilege of diversity, and how oceans and mountains can't hold back the movement of people and culture. As for my own sanity or madness in seeking such a distraction, I'm glad I took the time and it was worth the wait. And, it is kind of neat that it ended as we head into the 4th of July weekend. Have a wonderful, long holiday weekend, and BBQ safely. Happy Birthday America!! L.S.
Photos: Coney Island New York - Summer Fireworks Friday