I moved from Buffalo to Chicago a year ago this week. Since then I have been doing everything in my power to hold onto my East Coast identity. I eagerly take out my NYS driver’s license to get double checked at Binny’s. I take pride in the fact that the walls in my apartment are covered with posters of home. I even spend every Sunday in the fall at Delilah’s on Lincoln, where I can watch the Bills game with a hundred of my former neighbors. Today, however, I had to let a little part of that identity slip away.
For almost a full year now I have been driving around Chicagoland proudly flashing my NYS Plates (complete with faded Buffalo Bills license plate holder). That all changed, as I handed in my NYS title to the woman behind the glass at the Currency Exchange. My car’s NYS inspection and registration had both expired and as much as I wanted to put off the task of registering my car in Illinois, I knew I couldn’t wait forever.
With a few signatures and a rather hefty swipe of my debit card it was done. I was officially the owner of an Illinois vehicle. I asked the woman helping me if I had to hand in my NYS plates. She laughed a bit and said I could in fact keep them. She even suggested, jokingly, I hang them up to showcase my love for New York. I’ll be honest, for about 10 seconds I though about where I could put them, but I know my fiancee would be less than thrilled with the idea. She’s a Jersey native and she already feels I have too much of my past on our walls. Either way, I was happy I could keep them.
As I walked back to my car I tried to envision how an Illinois plate would look in a Bills plate holder. How out of place my University at Buffalo and Syracuse stickers would be on an Illinois car. It’s starting to set in that I no longer live in Buffalo. My time in Chicago isn’t just a vacation, this is my new life.
About the author: Brian Wright, @brianwwright, is a digital editor for a B2B publishing company in Chicago. He is also a Bills fan, craft beer historian and future beer blogger.