44 New York State Facts: Important Facts About New York

Last updated on September 16th, 2019

New York is the 4th most populous, the 27th most extensive, and the 7th most densely populated of the 50 states of the United States. It lies in the northeastern United States. New York attained statehood on July 26, 1788, becoming the 11th state to join the union. Its six bordering states are Pennsylvania, Rhode Island (water border), Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. See the full list of the 50 states and their borders here. New York (nicknamed: the Empire State) has 62 counties. The state’s capital is Albany. The postal abbreviation for New York State is NYS. With these facts about New York, let us learn more about its history, geography, people, economy and more.

1. New York was one of the original thirteen colonies that formed the United States.[1]

2. The first people arrived in New York around 10,000 B.C.[2]

Flag of New York

Flag of New York State

3. New York City is the most populous city in the United States and the New York metropolitan area is one of the most populous in the world. Buffalo is the second largest city in the state after the New York City while Mechanicville is the smallest (by area) of all.[1]

4. The “Statue of Liberty” is in New York. The statue is a symbol of the United States and its ideals of opportunity, democracy, and freedom. Did you know that the “Statue of Liberty” was a gift to the United States from France?[1]

5. Albany, the state’s capital, was the site of the first European settlement in New York. Albany became the capital of the state in 1797. It is also the longest continually chartered (a charter city is a city in which the governing system is defined by the city’s own charter document rather than by general law) city in the United States.[13]

New York State on the map

6. On April 30, 1789, George Washington was sworn in as the president of the United States at Federal Hall in New York City, New York.[8]

7. Until 1960, New York State lead other states in the U.S. in terms of total population, culture and economic indexes. And then it was overtaken by California due to enormous growth that the later state witnessed.[3]

8. Niagara Falls, one of the most famous waterfalls in the world is located on the border of Ontario, Canada, and New York, United States.[9]

9. The Hudson River is named after the sailor Henry Hudson, who sailed into the state in 1609.[4]

10. Adirondack National park in New York is larger than any other national park in the U.S. (outside of Alaska). The park covers an area of 28 million acres.[5]

The New York State Quarter

State Quarter New York

11. New York state was called New Amsterdam initially when it was discovered and settled by the Dutch. However, it was later conquered by the British and its name was changed in the honor of England’s Duke of York.[5,6]

12. The United Nations is headquartered in New York City.[23]

13. New York State has had five constitutions. They were adopted in 1777, 1821, 1846, 1894 and 1938.[5]

14. New York Stock Exchange in New York City is the largest stock exchange in the world by Dollar volume.[5]

15. Canada is an important economic partner of the state.[5]

16. The United States got engaged in a military conflict with the British Empire between June 18, 1812, to February 18, 1815. The New York – Canadian border was the central front of the war.[7]

17. The third floor of the assembly Library of the State Capitol building caught fire on March 29, 1911, at around 2:15 am. The cause of the fire is thought to be faulty wiring or tossing of a cigar. However, nothing was confirmed.[7]

The Seal of New York

seal of New York State

18. Toilet paper was invented by Joseph Gayetty of New York City.[11]

19. The first American chess tournament was held in New York in 1843.[10]

20. Taughannock Falls is the tallest single-drop waterfall in the state of New York.[6]

21. The New York State Canal System consists of four canals – the Erie Canal, the Oswego Canal, the Cayuga–Seneca Canal, and the Champlain Canal. The system which is 525 miles long is located in 17 counties in upstate New York (excluding New York City). The system sees very less commercial vessels and is primarily used for recreational and flood control purposes.[12]

22. There is a secret train station (known as Track 61) below the Waldorf Astoria, which is the most famous historic hotel in New York City. During the 1930s the train station was built for the secret entrance of former US president Franklin Roosevelt to the hotel.[15]

23. New York City also houses the world’s largest railway station – the Grand Central Terminal. Its construction was completed in 1931. The station has 44 platforms, situated on two underground levels. The station covers 48 acres of land.[15]

New York State and its borders
New York (in red) on the map with bordering states.

24. Manhattan, New York City, is home to the largest concentration of Chinese in Western Hemisphere. Here, 150,000 Chinese residents live in a 2 square mile plot of land.[14]

25. New York State’s Liberty Island, where the Statue of Liberty is set, is home to the first hospital in the country. The hospital was opened on the island to house the immigrants who were considered physically unfit and too ill to enter the country.[14]

26. Hyde Hall Bridge is the oldest documented, covered bridge in New York State and the U.S. It was built in 1825 and is one of 29 historic covered bridges in New York State.[16]

27. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is the largest art museum in the United States and also one of the most visited art museum in the world. It was founded in 1870 by Richard Morris Hunt and others. Today, the museum is one of the world’s greatest art centers. The museum showcases over 5,000 years of art from around the world. [17]

28. Fiorello La Guardia, acclaimed as one of the greatest mayors in American history, was born in New York City, New York. He was the 99th mayor of the city. LaGuardia Airport is named after him.[18,19]

29. Did you know that the Hudson River flows two ways? The river flows for 315 miles and empties into the Atlantic Ocean. Because of the low and hide tides, which the river usually experiences twice every 24 hours, the direction of its flow reverses. A rising tide causes the river to flow towards Troy (northwards) and a falling tide causes the river to flow seaward (southwards). The river also forms the boundary between New York and New Jersey for 21 miles.[20]

30. George Eastman, the founder of the Eastman Kodak Company, was born in Waterville, New York. He popularized the use of roll films, which later became the basis for the invention of motion picture film stock in 1888.[21,22]

31. New York is the largest north east state in both area and population.

32. The Empire State Building measuring 1,454 feet from the base to antenna is a concrete example of human potential and engineering marvel. From the two Observation Decks on its 86th and 102nd floors, you can see New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts. The building took only 1 year and 45 days to build. The final rivet shot in the building was made of solid gold.[24]

33. Almost all of the state north of the New York City is referred to as “Upstate New York” by the local residents.

34. New York is the only state that borders both the Atlantic and the Great Lakes.

35. Did you know that virtually every skyscraper built in New York is the result of hard work and fearless attitude of the Mohawk ironworkers? The ironworkers belonging to this tribe have an innate talent to withstand pressure and complete their task while working on great heights.[25]

36. Did you know that more than 4,000 farms have been lost to real estate development in the state since the 1980s?[26]

37. New York stands second only to Vermont for maple syrup production.[27]

38. New York is home to the tallest building in the western hemisphere – One World Trade Center. The building has 104 floors and its top reaches a staggering 1776 feet above the ground. The building was recently completed in 2014. During its planning stages, the building was also referred to as Freedom Tower.[28]

39. Albany International Airport (ALB), established in 1928, is the oldest municipal airport in the US.[29]

40. Did you know that there are 11 long and thin lakes (Conesus, Hemlock, Canadice, Honeoye, Canandaigua, Keuka, Seneca, Cayuga, Owasco, Skaneateles and Otisco) in the Upstate New York? These lakes together are referred to as Finger Lakes. These lakes are oriented on a north-south axis and are mainly linear in shape.[30,31]

41. After Washington, New York produces most apples in the country, followed by Michigan, Pennsylvania, California, Virginia, North Carolina, Oregon, Ohio, and Idaho. [32]

42. Did you know that after the Brooklyn Bridge was complete and was opened for the public to use, 21 elephants, 7 camels and 10 dromedaries (basically furry camels) crossed the bridge to demonstrate that the bridge was safe and ready for use? The elephant stunt had to be performed because a woman fell from the bridge, causing a stampede that killed 12 people. After this news broke out, people generally believed that the bridge was unsafe and thus the elephant walk came into being.[33]

43. Did you know that a 16-year-old named Keron Thomas hijacked a train and drove it for three hours before being arrested? Before he hijacked the train, he studied the MTA manuals and planned for months. More than 5 million people ride the New York City subway every weekday.[34]

44. At 85.1 mi long, Delaware Aqueduct (an aqueduct in the New York City water supply system) is the longest tunnel in the world. It supplies water from Rondout Reservoir to the Chelsea Pump Station before ending at Hillview Reservoir in Yonkers. The tunnel was completed in 1945.[35]

New York State – quick facts and state symbols

State AbbreviationNY
NoteClick on the previous/next link below to see more table entries.
State CapitalAlbany
Largest cityNew York City
State SizeTotal (Land + Water): 54,556 sq miles; Land Only: 47,214 sq miles
(Estimate July 1, 2018 from United States Census Bureau)
StatehoodJuly 26, 1788
State Rank by population4
State rank by date of fomation11th
State rank by area27th
Number of Counties62
Complete list of 50 states and number of counties in each
DemonymNew Yorker
Bordering StatesConnecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island (water border), Vermont
Official Languageof U.S. states by date of admission to the Union
Religion Christian - 60%
Unaffiliated - 27%
Nothing in particular - 17%
Highest PointMount Marcy, 5,343 ft (1,629 m)
Lowest pointAtlantic Ocean
Sea level
Mean elevation1,000 feet above sea level
Length 330 miles (530 km)
Width285 miles (455 km)
National ParksNone
GovernorAndrew Cuomo
Lieutenant GovernorKathy Hochul (D)
Electoral Votes29
State MottoExcelsior (Ever upward)
State NicknameEmpire State
% Water13.5
Nobel Prize WinnersJohn O'Keefe (Physiology or Medicine, 2014)
Robert J. Lefkowitz (Chemistry, 2012)
Alvin E. Roth (Economic Sciences, 2012)
Roger Y. Tsien (Chemistry, 2008)
Paul Krugman (Economic Sciences, 2008)
George E. Smith (Physics, 2009)
Peter A. Diamond (Economic Sciences, 2010)
Frank Wilczek (Physics, 2004)
Famous PeopleArt Monk (Wide Receiver. Inducted in 2008) (Football Player)
Craig Biggio (Baseball Player)
Chris Mullin (Basketball Player)
Joe Mullen (Hockey Player)
Ben Stiller (Actor)
Lady Gaga ( singer, songwriter, and actress)
Slogan"I Love New York" (official)
State InsectLadybug
State FlagFlag of New York

New York flag

State sealSeal of New York

Seal of New York.svg

Coat of armsThe Coat of Arms of New York

Coat of Arms of New York.svg

State Quarter

2001 NY Proof.png

State AnimalBeaver

Castor canadensis.jpg

State GemstoneGarnet


FossilSea scorpion

Eurypterus remipes.jpg

State Fresh Water FishBrook trout

Brook Trout Salvelinus fontinalis 2900px.jpg

State Marine or Saltwater FishStriped bass


State FlowerRose

Bridal pink - morwell rose garden.jpg

State BirdBluebird

Eastern Bluebird-27527-2.jpg

State BushLilac


State FruitApple


State TreeSugar maple

Acer saccharum.jpg

State Dog

Working Canines

Service Dog - Canid
State MuffinApple muffin

Muffins on a plate.jpg

State ButterflyRed-spotted purple/white admiral

Red-spotted Purple.jpg

State ReptileSnapping turtle


State ShellBay scallop

Argopecten irradians.jpg

Longitude71° 51′ W to 79° 46′ W
Latitude40° 30′ N to 45° 1′ N
Time ZoneEastern Time Zone
Area Codes212, 315, 347, 516, 518, 585, 607, 631, 646, 716, 718, 845, 914, 917
Table last update13th May, 2019