52 Interesting Facts About New York State

Last updated on June 12th, 2020

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 NY. 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]

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.

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

6. 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

7. 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]

8. 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]

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

9. 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]

10. The Hudson River is named after the sailor Henry Hudson, who sailed into the state in 1609, on his ship the Half Moon.[4]

11. The Hudson River separates New York City from the state of New Jersey. The 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. 

12. 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.[5]

The New York State Quarter

State Quarter New York

13. 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]

United Nations Headquarters in New York City.
United Nations Headquarters in New York City.

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

15. 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.[5,39]

the New York Stock Exchange.
Busy trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

16. The New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ both call the city their home. And mind you, these are the world’s two largest stock exchanges by total market capitalization of their listed companies. Big Board is a nickname for the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).[5]

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

18. 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]

19. 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

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

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

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

23. 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]

24. 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]

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

25. 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.[15]

26. 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.

New York on the map
New York (in red) on the map with bordering states.

27. 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]

28. 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]

29. 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.[16]

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

30. 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. [17]

31. 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]

32. 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]

33. 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]

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

35. 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.[24]

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

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

38. 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]

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

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

One World Trade Center. The Fact File
One World Trade Center. New York City during night. 

41. 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.[28]

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

43. 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]

Red juicy apples.
Red juicy apples.

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

45. 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]

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