90 Interesting Facts About New York State

Last updated on June 23rd, 2024

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. New York (nicknamed: the Empire State) has 62 counties. The state’s capital is Albany. The postal abbreviation for New York State is NY. Its six bordering states are PennsylvaniaRhode Island (water border), VermontConnecticutMassachusetts, and New JerseySee the full list of the 50 states and their borders here. With these facts about New York, let us learn more about its history, geography, people, economy and more.

New York State Facts

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

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

3. 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.

4. New York City was chosen as the first capital of the United States from 1785 to 1790 due to its central location between the northern and southern states and its prominence as a major economic and commercial hub at the time.

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.

6. New York State has had four constitutions. They were adopted in 1777, 1821, 1846, 1894. The Constitution of 1894, revised in 1938 and amended over 200 times, remains in place today.

7. New York is often called “The Big Apple.” This term is thought to have originated in the 1920s and 1930s by jazz musicians who used the phrase to refer to gigs in big cities.

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

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

New York State on the map


10. 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.

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

12. The Hudson River is named after the sailor Henry Hudson, who sailed into the state in 1609, on his ship the Half Moon.

13. The Hudson River separates New York City from the state of New JerseyThe Hudson River flows entirely within the New York State except for its final segment when it forms the boundary between New York and New Jersey.

14. 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.

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

15. 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.

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

17. 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. 

18. Buffalo is the second-largest city in the state after the New York City while Mechanicville is the smallest (by area) of all.

19. New York City is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world, with residents speaking over 800 languages. The city’s diversity is reflected in its neighborhoods, each with its own unique character.

Beautiful Niagara Falls on a clear sunny day. Niagara, Canada.
Beautiful Niagara Falls on a clear sunny day. Niagara, Canada.

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

21. In the Niagara River, there’s a tiny uninhabited island called Hennepin’s Island. It’s so small that it often disappears during periods of high water.

22. Taughannock Falls is the tallest single-drop waterfall in the state of New York.

23. The Bronx Zoo is one of the largest metropolitan zoos in the world, covering 265 acres and home to over 6,000 animals.

24. Located in Mount Tremper, the World’s Largest Kaleidoscope is housed in a converted barn. This colossal kaleidoscope stands at 60 feet tall, offering a mesmerizing visual experience with intricate patterns and colors for visitors to enjoy.

Metropolitan museum of art
Metropolitan museum of art which showing so many style image and make people see about it in New York City.

25. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is the largest art museum in the United States and also one of the most visited art museums 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. Adirondack 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.

26. In Penn Yan, you can find the world’s largest pancake griddle, capable of cooking a pancake over 28 feet in diameter. It’s part of the annual “World’s Largest Pancake Breakfast” event.

27. Montauk Point Lighthouse, completed in 1796, is the oldest lighthouse in New York State. It stands at the easternmost point of Long Island.

28. 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 21 historic covered bridges in New York State.

29. The Jack Rabbit roller coaster at Seabreeze Amusement Park in Rochester is one of the oldest operating roller coasters in the world, dating back to 1920.

One World Trade Center. The Fact File
One World Trade Center.

30. 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, which is also the year of the U.S. independence. The building was recently completed in 2014. During its planning stages, the building was also referred to as Freedom Tower.

31. The Cross Island Chapel in Oneida is considered the world’s smallest church. It measures 28 square feet and seats only two people.

32. The Saratoga Race Course is one of the oldest horse racing tracks in the country. Saratoga Springs gained fame for its mineral springs and became a popular resort destination in the 19th century.

33. 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.

Grand Central Terminal in New York City.
Grand Central Terminal in New York City.

34. New York City also houses the world’s largest railway station– the Grand Central Terminal. Its construction was completed in 1913. The station has 44 platforms, situated on two underground levels. The station covers 48 acres of land.

35. Consider yourself half-lucky if you have lost your belongings in Grand Central Terminal. The reason is that the Grand Central Lost and Found has a 54% return rate on most items and an 80% return rate on high value items.

36. 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.

37. Albany International Airport (ALB), established in 1928, is the oldest municipal airport in the US.

subway station illustration new york city

38. The New York City Subway has the most stations (468). Shanghai and Beijing come in second and third respectively in regards to stations. Beijing has the highest ridership and the longest route length.

39. 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.

40. New York tops the list of the states with the biggest per capita tax burden followed by Connecticut, New Jersey, California, and Illinois.

41. New York State measures about 1% of the land mass of the U.S. However, it contributes almost 8% to the country’s GDP. 

42. New York stands second only to Vermont for maple syrup.

Red juicy apples.
Red juicy apples.

43. After Washington, New York produces most apples in the country, followed by MichiganPennsylvaniaCaliforniaVirginiaNorth CarolinaOregonOhio, and Idaho.

44. 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.

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

46. 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.

47. Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue is a prominent example of Gothic Revival architecture and can accommodate over 2,000 people.

Statue of Liberty. New York,
Statue of Liberty, New York. Panorama of Manhattan with the One World Trade Center (Freedom Tower) and Hudson River, USA.

48. 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?

49. Did you know that the seven spikes on the crown of the Statue of Liberty represent the seven seas and the seven continents of the world, indicating the universal concept of liberty? In 1886, it was the tallest iron structure ever built.

50. The Empire State Building measuring 1,454 feet from the base to the 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.

51. The Dakota Building, located in Manhattan, is famous for being the former residence of John Lennon. He was assassinated just outside the building in 1980.

Brooklyn Bridge, Downtown Manhattan, and Freedom Tower
Brooklyn Bridge, Downtown Manhattan, and Freedom Tower. Image credit – John Cunniff

52. The Brooklyn Bridge, completed in 1883, was designed by John Augustus Roebling but completed by his son Washington Roebling after John’s death. Washington himself suffered from decompression sickness during the bridge’s construction.

53. 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.

54. Patience and Fortitude, the two lion statues guarding the New York Public Library entrance, were made in 1911. They were crafted by the Piccirilli Brothers, a prominent Italian-American family of sculptors, and have since become iconic symbols of the library.

55. Artist Arturo Di Modica created the Charging Bull sculpture in the Financial District. The bronze sculpture was crafted in 1989 and was initially installed without official permission near Wall Street as a symbol of aggressive financial optimism and prosperity. Its presence has since become a well-known symbol of New York’s financial district.

Wollastonite skarn from the Precambrian of New York State, USA.
Wollastonite skarn from the Precambrian of New York State, USA. Image by James St. John

56. New York is the only state that mines Wollastonite, which finds its application in automobile brakes, paints and plastics, metallurgical brakes, and ceramics. However, the deposits are also found in ArizonaIdahoNevadaCaliforniaUtah and New Mexico.

57. 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. It allowed him to access the hotel without being seen. The platform was constructed in the 1930s.

58. Grand Central Terminal, completed in 1913, has a Whispering Gallery near the Oyster Bar where a person can stand in one corner and be heard clearly by someone standing diagonally across another corner.

59. The High Line is a 1.45-mile-long elevated linear park built on an old railway track. It features green spaces, art installations, and scenic city views.

60. The New Year’s Eve ball drop in Times Square has been a tradition since 1907. The first ball was made of iron and wood, while the modern one is made of Waterford crystal and LED lights.

. . . continue reading on the next page