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Queens vanity plates await boro president approval

That's the message being promoted by the Queens Economic Development Corporation, which is behind an initiative to issue vanity license plates calling attention to the array of activities and amusements the borough has to offer.The plates - which will read "Visit Queens... See The World" - are being made possible by legislation sponsored by state Assemblyman Brian McLaughlin (D-Flushing) and state Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose). The vanity plates will feature the "Discover Queens" logo and Web site address, along with the slogan. Discover Queens is an initiative of the Queens Economic Development Corporation.Queens Director of Marketing and Tourism Michelle Stoddart said proceeds from the plates will go to benefit tourism.She said the Queens Tourism Council is still putting the final touches on a marketing campaign for the vanity plates."The money that comes from the license plates goes directly to the Queens Tourism Council and that helps market the area to not only the tourists, but also to the residents," Stoddart said.Peter Potter, director of public affairs for Padavan, said the plates are not out yet, but a prototype has been developed."We've just gotten through the approval process," Potter said.Potter said the new plates will help raise money for Queens, while allowing residents to display their pride in the area."For those in the community, the plates remind us that Queens has a lot to offer," Potter said. "And when we travel, the plate serves as an advertisement for Queens, stirring interest and attracting attention to our rich heritage."Potter said the plates are still awaiting final approval from Queens Borough President Helen Marshall. He said he hopes the Department of Motor Vehicles will begin issuing the plates "real soon." He noted that a number of vanity license plates already exist for other regions of New York. He said those initiatives have been successful in raising money for their respective areas. Potter could not say how much the Queens Economic Development Corporation expects to raise through the initiative.Vanity license plates are sold on the New York Department of Motor Vehicle's Web site for between $33 and $43, with a portion of the proceeds going to benefit different regions of New York. For example, the "I Love New York" vanity plates sell for $33, with $15 from each plate going to promote tourism in New York.

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