52 Interesting Facts About New York State

Last updated on September 17th, 2022

46. 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]

47. 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]

subway illustration new york city

48. 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.[36]

49. New York was the first state to require automobiles have license plates in 1901. However, these plates were made by individual owners (with the owner’s initials) rather than being issued by state agencies. In 1903, the first state-issued license plates were distributed in Massachusetts.[37]

50. New York tops the list of the states with the biggest per capita tax burden followed by Connecticut, New Jersey, California, and Illinois.[38]

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

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

52. 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 Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, California, Utah and New Mexico.

About the Flag of New York State

Flag of New York
The current flag of New York state. 

1. Design and Symbolism

The flag of New York features a coat of arms on a blue field. At the center is a shield painted with a landscape of Hudson Bay. Two ships sail while the sun rises behind a mountain.

On the left is Liberty, depicted as the goddess of freedom holding a staff. She represents the liberation of the former colony from the English crown.

On the right is Justice, shown as a blindfolded woman with a sword and scale. She signifies readiness to fight tyranny and uphold equality.

At the top of the shield is an eagle perched on a globe looking at the west. Its wings spread wide as if preparing to fly.

At the bottom is a white ribbon with two Latin lines. The first line reads “Excelsior” or “Ever Upwards” as a call for progress. The second line is “E Pluribus Unum” or “Out of Many, One.” It is also a motto of the United States.

2. Adoption and Revision

The New York state flag became official on April 2, 1901. It was last modified in April 2020 to add the second motto.

3. Technical Details

The official proportion of this flag is 1:2, but there is a variant flag with a similar design and four stars sporting a 3:5 ratio. The latter is for the Governor of New York.

Some details are easy to miss, such as the Phrygian cap on the staff of Liberty. It originated as headwear for ancient Roman slaves who gained their freedom.

Look down at her feet. You will see a crown on the ground. It shows how low the monarchy has fallen in the region.

If you look closely, you will see that the sun in the shield has a smiling face. It is absent in some variants of the flag.

The ships have different designs and positions. The right one appears closer to the viewer.

The globe must show the North Atlantic Ocean and the shores around it.

4. History

In 1776, the US declared its independence. New York wanted to replace the Crown Seal of the British monarchy. They formed a committee to create a suitable coat of arms. Included in this group were the statesmen Gouverneur Morris, John Jay, and John Sloss Hobart. In 1778, they made a design featuring a rising sun and the motto “Excelsior.”

The image was continuously refined until 1896 when the coat of arms was placed on the state flag and formally approved. That flag had a light brown-yellow background, which changed to blue in 1901. No further modifications were made until 2020 when the state added the second motto, “E Pluribus Unum.”

5. Other New York Flags

From 1901-2020, an alternate design featured a faceless sun and a darker eagle.

Despite the change in 2020, older flags without the new motto remain widely used.

Flag of New York City
The flag of New York City. 

New York City has a separate flag with vertical tricolor bands: blue, white, and orange. The city seal at the center reveals close historical ties with The Netherlands.

New York State – quick facts and state symbols

State AbbreviationNY
State CapitalAlbany
Largest cityNew York City
State SizeTotal (Land + Water): 54,556 sq miles; Land Only: 47,214 sq miles
19,571,216 (Estimate July 1, 2023 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
GovernorKathy Hochul (D)
Lieutenant GovernorAntonio Delgado (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 AnimalBeaver
State GemstoneGarnet
FossilSea scorpion
State Fresh Water FishBrook trout
State Marine or Saltwater FishStriped bass
State FlowerRose
State BirdBluebird
State BushLilac
State FruitApple
State TreeSugar maple
State Dog

Working Canines
State MuffinApple muffin
State ButterflyRed-spotted purple/white admiral
State ReptileSnapping turtle
State ShellBay scallop
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
Last updatedDecember 21, 2023

Facts About New York City

New York City situated on one of the world’s largest natural harbors is among the most sought after places to live and work. The city has a great history, and its economy is bustling.


1. New York is the most populous city in the state of New York in the United States. It is also the most densely populated major city in the country.

2. The city also has the distinction of being the largest metropolitan area in the world considering its population and its land mass.

3. It is considered as the cultural, financial, and the media capital of the world.

New York City on the map

4. The city is divided into five boroughs, which are each a county of the New York State. It was in 1898 that the five boroughs were combined into a single city. The five boroughs are Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island.

5. Manhattan and Staten Island are islands, Brooklyn and Queens are geographically part of Long Island, and Bronx is attached to the US mainland.

6. After Hong Kong and Seoul, New York City has the third most number of high rise buildings in the world. Isn’t this an interesting fact about New York City for a skyscraper enthusiast!

7. Todt Hill on Staten Island is the highest natural point in the five boroughs of New York City.

8. If all the boroughs that constitute the NYC were independent cities, all but Staten Island would be among the ten most populous cities in the United States.

9. New York became the first mega city in the human history when its population surpassed the 10 million mark in the 1930s.

10. Most of the New York City is built on the three islands of Long Island, Manhattan and Staten Island.

11. New York City has a moderate climate. The average temperature in January is about 31 degrees Fahrenheit and in June is around 72 degrees Fahrenheit. The annual precipitation in the city is about 44 inches.

12. Except for a small piece of Manhattan known as Marble Hill, the Bronx is the only section of the city that is part of the North American mainland. (See map for more clarification)

13. Brooklyn, the city’s most populous borough, was an independent city until 1898.

Manhattan skyline
About New York City: Manhattan skyline. 

14. Manhattan is the city’s most densely populated borough and no doubt has the largest concentration of the city’s skyscrapers.

15. Queens is the most ethnically diverse county in the United States thanks to its large population. Geographically it is the largest borough in New York City.

16. Staten Island is the most suburban borough among the five boroughs in the city.


17. Did you know that Manhattan’s population density is the highest of any other individual American city?

18. The city is home to almost 40 percent of the entire state’s population. 

19. Did you know that there are 400,000 more women than men in New York City?

20. In New York City, a child is born every 4.4 minutes and a life is lost every 9 minutes.

21. If compared to the national average, the average commute time is 14 minutes longer for New Yorkers.


An apartment in Manhattan.
An apartment in Manhattan, New York City.

22. The average rent of an apartment in Manhattan is $3,700 per month, which is almost double the cost of renting an apartment elsewhere in the U.S.

23. Did you know that in 2017, the total value of the New York City property was accessed at more than 1 trillion dollars? There is no wonder that the city as of 2017, was home to the highest number of billionaires of any city in the world.

24. The headquarters for the U.S financial industry also known as the Wall Street is based in the city.

25. At a selling price of $238 million, the most expensive home sale ever in the United States was accomplished in Manhattan in 2019. Ken Griffin, the founder of the hedge fund Citadel, bought the penthouse covering an area of 24,000 square feet overlooking Central Park.

26. However, this is also a fact about New York City that these costly penthouses are hard to sell. Hence, the property developers are breaking these apartments into smaller units to make them cheaper.    

27. Tourism is an important industry for New York City, which attracts plenty of visitors each year.

28. New York City is the world’s only city with more than 100 billionaires.

29. It is more expensive to park a car long-term in New York City than it is to rent a house in many other U.S. cities. It costs more than $600 a month to park a car in the city.

30. The top five rich zip codes belong to New York City.

31. The yearly tuition fee for kindergartens and private preschools in New York City is more than that of Cornell, Harvard, and Princeton. Just Google the fee and you will be amazed if not shocked to know the truth.


32. The first underground subway line in New York City was opened in 1904. The subway system is one of the world’s most used, and one of the world’s oldest public transit systems. It is also the one with the most stations. The subway system has stations located throughout the boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx.

33. The Staten Island Railway is the only rapid transit line in the New York City borough of Staten Island. It is interesting to note here that there is no direct rail link between the SIR and the subway system. Commuters can use free Staten Island ferry to reach Manhattan.

34. The Staten Island Ferry provides 22 million people a year with ferry service between St. George on Staten Island and Whitehall Street in lower Manhattan.

35. New York City’s subway system is home to more than 15,000 types of life forms including rodents, insects and even bacteria. The study which was conducted over a period of 18 months collected DNA samples from handrails and benches across 466 stations, and concluded that the most common living form on these items were the bacteria that cause food poisoning and urinary tract infections. However, the levels detected did not pose a public health risk.

36. The city’s subway system handles more than 1.7 billion people each year.

37. If you were to ride in subway without change of trains, you would take A train from 207th street in Manhattan to Far Rockaway in Queens. The total distance covered during the journey is more than 31 miles.

38. According to some estimate by subway authorities, the all time high ridership was in 1946 when 2.067 billion people used the subway.

39. About 60% of the subway stations are underground.


40. The city is also known as the melting pot of the world due to the fact that people belonging to many countries and races can be found here.

41. Italians make up the largest ethnic group in New York City.

42. New York City also has the largest Jewish population outside of Israel.

coffee vending machine. New York City facts

43. New York City is a heaven for coffee lovers. The city has the most number of coffee shops with free WiFi per capita.

44. New York City is also dubbed as the coffee shop capital of America. According to a report, the city has the nation’s 15th most expensive cappuccinos.

45. It should be no surprise that New Yorkers drink 7 times more coffee than other cities in the U.S.

46. Did you know that more than 3 million residents of New York City are foreign born?

47. At least 800 different languages are spoken in the New York City, making it the most linguistically diverse city in the world.


48. New York City was once the capital of the United States.

49. George Washington was sworn in as the first president of the United States in New York City, which was the capital of the country at the time.

50. George Washington’s last remaining tooth is on display at Fraunces Tavern in New York City.

51. Tattooing was banned in NYC from 1961 to 1997.

Inside view of Washington Square Park
Washington Square Park. Image by Bex Walton. New York City facts.

52. Around 20,000 people are buried in Washington Square Park. It was in 1797 that the epidemic of yellow fever ravaged the city and the bodies were buried during the time. 

53. Times Square is named after The New York Times. Originally, it was known as Long Acre Square until 1904.

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