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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk


The New York Times
December 10, 1922

Eleventh-Hour Scramble Is Expected to Leave Many Unable to Drive Cars After Jan. 1.


Cellar is Piled High With New Plates, Says State Tax Commission Office.

An eleventh-hour rush to obtain automobile license plates in this city that may result in depriving many persons of the right to drive their cars after Jan. 1 is threatened because of the delay of owners in getting their plates for 1923 from the offices of the State Tax Commission.

Officials of the commission said yesterday that there would be no extension of time this year and that those who did not have proper licenses could not drive.  The plates have been available since Nov. 16, and despite plans to accommodate an early rush only a small proportion of owners have called to obtain their licenses.

"The cellar is piled high with plates," said an official at the main offices of the commission, Broadway and Sixty-fifth Street, "but nobody is coming to get them.  There are 150 men on duty in this office and they have nothing to do.  The same difficulty is being experienced at the branch offices.  No matter how big the office is nor how many men are on duty there, it would be impossible to issue all the plates if every one waits until the last day or two."

Last year 310,789 sets of license plates for pleasure cars, taxis and trucks were issued in the city, in addition to 338,175 chauffeurs' licenses and 322,489 licenses for operators who receive no pay.  The records for 1923 licenses up to the middle of last week were as follows: pleasure cars, 7,786; taxis, 216; trucks, 880.  The licenses for chauffeurs and operators do not have to be renewed until July 1.

In addition to the main office in Manhattan and a branch at 317 Washington Street, Brooklyn, the following branches, where license plates may be obtained, were opened in the city last week:

Manhattan — Ninth Coast Defense Command Armory, 125 West Fourteenth Street; and 104th Field Artillery Armory, Broadway and Sixty-eighth Street.

Bronx—Borough Hall, Third and Tremont Avenues, Local Board Room.

Queens—Jamaica Board of Trade, Butler Building, Twombly Place and Jamaica Avenue.

Richmond, Borough Hall, St. George, Staten Island, Room 121.

The list of numbers assigned to the various counties has been sent to the State police and city police officials.  The source of registration of any car may be determined by the use of a key list.  The new purple and white plates are being distributed by the Tax Commission in Albany, New York City and Erie County.  Elsewhere they are being distributed by County Clerks.

The time limit for displaying 1922 plates was extended to Feb. 15, because of delays in getting the plates and distributing them.  The new plates have been available to owners in ample time, officials say, and if they do not get them it is their own fault.

Provision has been made for licensing 250,000 passenger cars in New York City and 72,000 commercial vehicles.  The plates for passenger cars assigned to New York City include 100,001 to 140,000 inclusive, 697,201 to 800,000 inclusive and 870,901 to and including 979,100.  The commercial car plates for the city run from 1,050,101 to and including 1,122,100.

The lowest passenger car plate numbers are assigned to Albany County, being 7,000 to and including 27,000.  The numbers from 1 to 2,000 inclusive are reserved for cars owned and used by State, county and municipal officials.

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