The story first broke on Brian PJ Cronin’s Instagram, when he teased out that Beacon’s iconic Exit 11 had changed numbers to be Exit 41. It was an article he was working on to be published later that week in print in the Highlands Current newspaper.
According to his reporting, the State Department of Transportation initiated the change in number to give it some logic (if you know the relevance of 11, chime in in the comments below). The exits on I-84 now correspond to how far away the exit is from the Pennsylvania border. Beacon is apparently 41 miles, and Fishkill is 44, which is its new exit number.
As you are driving, if you pass Exit 41 and expect to see Exit 42, you won’t. It’s only going by the mileage. Not being highway experts, and not having inquired yet with the state highway department, we’re not sure that a regular driver would get the relevance of 41 to 44. Do all exits work this way? Hadn’t thought about it, but will now pay attention to the numbering systems while on the road in different states.
Exit 11 had been commemorated years ago by the owners of Mountain Tops Outfitters with a line of sweatshirts and T-shirts with Exit-11 on them. They produced the T-shirts even before opening their shop. Will they stop printing the gear? According to Brian’s article, Katy Behney, co-owner of the store, they will continue. “It helps define everyone who arrived in Beacon prior to now. We’re the Exit 11 generation.”
There is a reference used in Beacon that we don’t use here on the blog: “old Beacon” and “new Beacon.” It’s become at times a contentious label, so we don’t encourage it. Further, it’s not clearly defined. We have had people refer to themselves as “old Beacon” after moving here 10 years ago. I moved here 10 years ago, and I’d never apply that label to me! I was thinking 30 years was the minimum to be “old Beacon.”
As for the exit, however, “old” has been declared on the sign itself with a helpful hint underneath: “Exit 41 (old exit 11).” So there is certainty in Exit 11!
The original Exit 11 has been thrown to the ground and not taken away. Nature has slowly started creeping over the sign, swallowing it into the earth.
Sniff Sniff. Long live Exit 11. Respect to the new Exit 41 and the logic it’s trying to accomplish.