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New York

, state, United States

New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of Ontario (NW), and the province of Quebec (N).

Facts and Figures

Area, 49,576 sq mi (128,402 sq km). Pop. (2020) 20,201,249, a 4.1% increase since the 2100 census. As of the 2020 census, its population was broken down as: White alone 69.6%; Black alone 17.6%; Hispanic 19.3%; Asian alone 6%; American Indian and Alaska Native alone 1.0%;Two or More Races 2.8% Capital, Albany. Largest city, New York City. Statehood, July 26, 1788 (11th of the original 13 states to ratify the Constitution). Highest pt., Mt. Marcy, 5,344 ft (1,630 m); lowest pt., sea level. Nickname, Empire State. Motto, Excelsior [Ever Upward]. State bird, bluebird. State flower, rose. State tree, sugar maple. Abbr., N.Y.; NY


Eastern New York is dominated by the Great Appalachian Valley. Lake Champlain is the chief northern feature of the valley, which also includes the Hudson River. The Hudson is noted for its beauty, as are Champlain and neighboring Lake George. West of the lakes are the rugged Adirondack Mts., another major vacationland, with extensive wildernesses and sports centers like Lake Placid and Saranac Lake. Mt. Marcy (5,344 ft/1,629 m), the highest point in the state, is near Lake Placid. The rest of NE New York is hilly, sloping gradually to the valleys of the St. Lawrence and Lake Ontario, both of which separate it from Ontario. The Mohawk River, which flows from Rome into the Hudson north of Albany, is part of the New York State Canal System's Erie Canal, once a major route to the Great Lakes and the midwestern United States as well as the only complete natural route through the Appalachian Mts.

Most of the southern part of the state is on the Allegheny plateau, which rises in the SE to the Catskill Mts., an area that attracts many vacationers from New York City and its environs. New York City, in turn, attracts tourists from all over the world. On the extreme SE, the state extends into the Atlantic Ocean to form Long Island, which is separated from Connecticut on the N by Long Island Sound.

The western extension of the state to Lakes Ontario and Erie contains many bodies of water, notably Oneida Lake and the celebrated Finger Lakes. In the northwest the Niagara River, with scenic Niagara Falls, forms the border with Ontario between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. The western region has resorts as well as large, traditionally industrial cities such as Buffalo on Lake Erie, Rochester on Lake Ontario, Syracuse, and Utica. The western section is drained by the Allegheny River and rivers of the Susquehanna and Delaware systems. The Delaware River Basin Compact, signed in 1961 by New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and the federal government, regulates the utilization of water of the Delaware system.

In addition to the great forest preserves of the Adirondacks and Catskills, New York has many state parks, among them Jones Beach State Park and Allegany State Park. Part of Fire Island, which lies off Long Island, is a national seashore. The racetrack at Saratoga Springs, a pleasure and health resort, and the Thousand Islands in the St. Lawrence River are popular with summer vacationers. Among the places of historic interest in the state under federal administration (see National Parks and Monuments, table) are those at Hyde Park, with the burial place of Eleanor and Franklin D. Roosevelt, and the Vanderbilt Mansion. Albany is the capital; New York City is the largest city, followed by Buffalo, Rochester, Yonkers, and Syracuse.


Schenectady, Albany, and New York City, once the major industrial cities of the lower Mohawk and the Hudson, continue their long-time manufacturing decline. Except in the mountain regions, the areas between cities are rich agriculturally. The Finger Lakes region has orchards producing apples, one of New York's leading crops; vineyards here and on Long Island make the state famous for its wines. The state produces other, diverse crops, especially grapes, strawberries, cherries, pears, onions, and potatoes (grown especially on E Long Island); maple syrup is extracted, and New York is the third leading U.S. producer of dairy goods. New York's mineral resources include crushed stone, cement, salt, and zinc.

The state has a complex system of railroads, air routes, and modern highways, notably the New York State Thruway. The New York State Canal System, an improvement of the old Erie Canal, is now mainly used for recreational travel; the Hudson and some other rivers still carry freight. Ocean shipping is handled by the port of New York City and, to a much lesser extent, by Buffalo. Hydroelectricity for N New York is produced by the St. Lawrence power project and by the Niagara power project, which began producing in 1961.

In spite of significant decline, New York has retained some important manufacturing industries, and, by virtue of New York City, it has strengthened is position as a commercial and financial leader. Although the largest percentage of the state's jobs lie in the service sector, its manufactures are extremely diverse and include printed materials, apparel, food products, machinery, chemicals, paper, electrical equipment (notably at Schenectady), computer equipment (Poughkeepsie), optical instruments and cameras (Rochester), sporting goods, and transportation equipment.

Printing and publishing, mass communications, advertising, and entertainment are among New York City's notable industries. Long Island has aircraft plants (although these have declined sharply since the 1970s) and Brookhaven National Laboratory, a research center. Many corporate headquarters and research facilities have relocated in Westchester co., N of New York City. Some commercial fishing is pursued in Lakes Erie and Ontario and in the waters around Long Island. The state has c.18,775,000 acres (7,294,000 hectares) of forest, but forestry is no longer a major industry.

Government, Politics, and Higher Education

Under its present constitution (adopted 1894), New York is run by a governor, who is elected to a four-year term and may be reelected, and by a bicameral legislature made up of a 61-member senate and a 150-member assembly. Members of both branches of the legislature are elected to two-year terms. The state has 2 U.S. senators and 27 representatives and has 29 electoral votes in national presidential elections (a significant drop from its 41 votes in 1970). While Republicans controlled the governorship from 1942-74, the Democrats regained control for the next five decades with the exception of George Pataki's three terms (1995-2006).

Apart from New York City (see separate articles for educational and cultural institutions in New York City and its boroughs), institutions of higher education in the state include Alfred Univ., Bard College, Colgate Univ., Cornell, Hobart College, Iona Univ., Long Island Univ., Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Sarah Lawrence College, Skidmore College, Syracuse Univ., the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, the U.S. Military Academy, Univ. of Rochester, Vassar College, and Wells College. The State Univ. of New York has major campuses at Stony Brook, Albany, Binghamton, and Buffalo.


The Algonquians and the Iroquois

Before Europeans began to arrive in the 16th cent., New York was inhabited mainly by Algonquian- and Iroquoian-speaking Native Americans. The Algonquians, including the Mohegan, Lenni Lenape, and Wappinger tribes, lived chiefly in the Hudson valley and on Long Island. The Iroquois, living in the central and western parts of the state, included the Cayuga, Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, and Seneca tribes, who joined c.1570 to form the Iroquois Confederacy.

French and Dutch Claims

Europeans first approached New York from both the sea and from Canada. Giovanni da Verrazzano, a Florentine in the service of France, visited (1524) the excellent harbor of New York Bay but did little exploring. In 1609, Samuel de Champlain, a Frenchman, traveled S on Lake Champlain from Canada, and Henry Hudson, an Englishman in the service of the Dutch, sailed the Hudson nearly to Albany. The French, who had allied themselves with the Hurons of Ontario, continued to push into N and W New York from Canada, but met with resistance from the Iroquois Confederacy, which dominated W New York.

The Dutch early claimed the Hudson region, and the Dutch West India Company (chartered in 1621, organized in 1623) planted (1624) their colony of New Netherland, with its chief settlements at New Amsterdam on the lower tip of present-day Manhattan island (purchased in 1626 from the Canarsie tribe for goods worth about 60 Dutch guilders) and at Fort Nassau, later called Fort Orange (present-day Albany). To increase the slow pace of colonization the Dutch set up the patroon system in 1629, thus establishing the landholding aristocracy that became the hallmark of colonial New York. The last and most able of the Dutch administrators, Peter Stuyvesant (in office 1647–64), captured New Sweden for the Dutch in 1655.

An English Colony

The English, claiming the whole region on the basis of the explorations of John Cabot, made good their claim in the Second Dutch War (1664–67). In 1664 an English fleet sailed into the harbor of New Amsterdam, and Stuyvesant surrendered without a struggle. New Netherland then became the colonies of New York and New Jersey, granted by King Charles II to his brother, the duke of York (later James II). Except for brief recapture (1673–74) by the Dutch, New York remained English until the American Revolution.

After the early days of the colony, the popular governor Thomas Dongan (1683–88) put New York on a firm basis and began to establish the alliance of the English with the Iroquois, which later played an important part in New York history. The attempt in 1688 to combine New York and New Jersey with New England under the rule of Sir Edmund Andros was a failure, turning almost all the colonists against him. The threat of the French was continuous, and New York was involved in a number of the French and Indian Wars (1689–1763). The friendship of Sir William Johnson with some of the Iroquois aided the British in the warfare and also opened part of central New York to settlers, mainly from the British Isles. Frequent warfare hindered growth, however, and much of W New York remained unsettled by colonists throughout the 18th cent.

Slowly, however, the colony, with its busy shipping and fishing fleets, its expanding farms, and its first college (King's College, founded in 1754, now Columbia Univ.), was beginning to establish its own identity, separate from that of England. Colonial self-assertiveness grew after the warfare with the French ended; there was considerable objection to the restrictive commercial laws, and the Navigation Acts were flouted by smuggling. When the Stamp Act was passed, New York was a leader of the opposition, and the Stamp Act Congress met (1765) in New York City. The policies of Lt. Gov. Cadwallader Colden, who did not oppose the Stamp Act, occasioned considerable complaint, and unrest grew.

Revolution and a New Constitution

As troubles flared and escalated into the American Revolution, New Yorkers were divided in their loyalties. About one third of all the military engagements of the American Revolution took place in New York state. The first major military action in the state was the capture (May, 1775) of Ticonderoga by Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys and Benedict Arnold. Crown Point was also taken. In Aug., 1776, however, George Washington was unable to hold lower New York against the British under Gen. William Howe and lost the battle of Long Island, as he did the succeeding actions at Harlem Heights (Sept. 16) and White Plains (Oct. 28).

The British invested New York City and held it to the war's end. The state had, however, declared independence and functioned with Kingston as its capital, George Clinton as its first governor, and John Jay as its first chief justice. In 1777 New York was the key to the overall British campaign plan, which was directed toward taking the entire state and thus separating New England from the South. This failed finally (Oct., 1777) in the battles near the present-day resort of Saratoga Springs (see Saratoga campaign), generally considered as the decisive action of the war, partly because France was now persuaded to join the war on the side of the Colonies.

The British alliance with the Iroquois resulted in widespread violence in the frontier portion of the state. After the devastation of two Iroquois villages, the Iroquois and British responded with the massacre at Cherry Hill (1778). For the rest of the war there was more or less a stalemate, with the British occupying New York City, the patriots holding most of the rest of the state, and Westchester co. disputed ground. In 1780 Benedict Arnold failed in his attempt to betray West Point.

The influence of Alexander Hamilton was paramount in bringing New York to accept (1788) the Constitution of the United States at a convention in Poughkeepsie. Other leaders, however, mostly from the landed aristocracy (such as John Jay and Gouverneur Morris), were also powerful. Hamilton, Jay, and James Madison wrote The Federalist, a series of essays, to promote ratification. New York City was briefly (1789–90) the capital of the new nation and was also the state capital until 1797, when Albany succeeded it. Political dissension between the Federalists and the Jeffersonians was particularly keen in New York state, and Aaron Burr had much to do with swinging the state to Jefferson.

Land Speculation and Commercial Development

By the end of the war many Loyalists had left New York; the emigrants included former large landowners whose holdings had been seized by the legislature. After the war speculation in W New York land (some newly acquired by quieting Massachusetts claims) rose to dizzying heights. The eastern boundary of the state was established after long wrangles and violence when Vermont was admitted as a state in 1791.

From the 1780s increased commerce (somewhat slowed by the Embargo Act of 1807) and industry, especially textile milling, marked the turn away from the old, primarily agricultural, order. It was on the Hudson that Robert Fulton demonstrated (1807) his steamboat. In the War of 1812 New York saw action in 1813–14, with the British capture of Fort Niagara and particularly with the brilliant naval victory of Thomas Macdonough over the British on Lake Champlain at Plattsburgh.

The state continued its development, which was quickened and broadened by the building of the Erie Canal. The canal, completed in 1825, and railroad lines constructed (from 1831) parallel to it made New York the major East-West commercial route in the 19th cent. and helped to account for the growth and prosperity of the port of New York. Cities along the canal (Buffalo, Syracuse, Rome, Utica, and Schenectady) prospered. Albany grew, and New York City, whose first bank had been established by Hamilton in 1784, became the financial capital of the nation.

Political, Reform, and Cultural Movements

New constitutions broadened the suffrage in 1821 and again in 1846; slavery was abolished in 1827. Politics was largely controlled from the 1820s to the 40s by the Albany Regency, which favored farmers, artisans, and small businessmen. Martin Van Buren was the regency's chief figure. The regency's control was challenged by the business-oriented Whigs, led by Thurlow Weed and William H. Seward, and by the Anti-Masonic party. The rise of tension between the reform-minded Locofocos and the Tammany organization in New York City weakened the Democratic party in the 1830s. After the panic of 1837, Seward was governor (1839–52), and his Whig program included internal improvements, educational reform, and opposition to slavery.

New York was a leader in numerous 19th-century reform groups. Antislavery groups made their headquarters in New York. In 1848 the first women's rights convention in the United States met in Seneca Falls.

Early in its history New York state emerged as one of the cultural leaders of the nation. In the early 19th cent. Washington Irving and William Cullen Bryant, leaders of the famed Knickerbocker School of writers, and James Fenimore Cooper were among the country's foremost literary figures. The natural beauty of New York inspired the noted Hudson River school of American landscape painters. With New England's decline as a literary center, many writers came to New York City from other parts of the nation, helping to make it a literary and publishing center and the cultural heart of the country.

Immigration and Civil War

Migrants from New England had been settling on the western frontier, and in the 1840s famine and revolution in Europe resulted in a great wave of Irish and German immigrants, whose first stop in America was usually New York City. In 1850, Millard Fillmore became the second New Yorker to be President of the United States; the first was Martin Van Buren (1837–41). The split of the Democrats over the slavery issue into antislavery Barnburners and the Hunkers, who were not opposed to the extension of slavery, helped pave the way for New York's swing to the Republicans and Abraham Lincoln in the fateful election of 1860.

Despite the draft riots (1863) in New York City and the activities of the Peace Democrats, New York state strongly favored the Union and contributed much to its cause in the Civil War. Industrial development was stimulated by the needs of the military, and railroads increased their capacity. New York City's newspapers, notably the Tribune under the guidance of Horace Greeley, had considerable national influence, and after the war the publication of periodicals and books centered more and more in the city, whose libraries expanded. From 1867 to 1869, Cornelius Vanderbilt consolidated the New York Central RR system.

Political Corruption and the Labor Movement

As economic growth accelerated, political corruption became rampant. Samuel J. Tilden won a national reputation in 1871 for prosecuting the Tweed Ring of New York City, headed by William Marcy “Boss” Tweed, but Tammany soon recovered much of its prestige and influence as the Democratic city organization. The Republican party also had bosses, notably Roscoe Conkling and Thomas Collier Platt, and the split between Democratic New York City and Republican upstate widened. New Yorkers Chester A. Arthur (1881–85) and Grover Cleveland (1885–89, 1893–97) served as Presidents of the United States in the late 19th cent.

After 1880 the inpouring of immigrants from Ireland, Italy, and Eastern Europe brought workers for the old industries, which were expanding, and for the new ones, including the electrical and chemical industries, which were being established. Labor conditions worsened but were challenged by the growing labor movement, whose targets included sweatshops (particularly notorious in New York City). Muckrakers were particularly vociferous in New York in the late 19th and early 20th cent. Service as New York City's police commissioner and then as a reform-oriented governor of the state helped Theodore Roosevelt establish the national reputation that sent him to the vice presidency and then to the White House (1901–9). A fire in 1911 at the Triangle Waist Company in Manhattan that killed 146 workers resulted in the passage of early health, fire safety, and labor laws including the Widowed Mothers Pension Act.

New York since 1912

The Democrats returned to power in the state in 1912, and subsequently New York seesawed from one party to the other. The reform programs continued to gain ground, however, and Democratic state administrations between World War I and II—those of Alfred E. Smith (1918–20, 1922–28), Franklin D. Roosevelt (1928–32), and Herbert H. Lehman (1932–42)—presided over a wide variety of reform measures. The reform programs emphasized public works, conservation, reorganization of state finances, social welfare, and extensive labor laws. Four years after Smith's defeat in the 1928 presidential election, Roosevelt went to the White House. Lehman followed Roosevelt's national New Deal program by instituting the Little New Deal in New York state. At the same time Fiorello LaGuardia, Republican mayor of New York City (1934–45), enthusiastically supported Roosevelt's social and economic reforms.

The Republican party returned to power in the state in 1942 with the election of Thomas E. Dewey as governor (reelected 1946, 1950). Dewey had the immense task of coordinating state activities with national efforts in World War II, straining New York's resources to the utmost. He also built upon the reforms of his predecessors, extending social and antidiscrimination legislation, and won a reputation for effectiveness that made him twice (1944 and 1948) the Republican presidential nominee.

During the governorship (1959–73) of Nelson Rockefeller, a Republican, state social-welfare programs and the State Univ. of New York were expanded, and a large state office and cultural complex was built in Albany. New York's growth slowed from the 1970s, though, as the state lost its dominant position in U.S. manufacturing, and the older cities lost businesses and residents to suburbs or to other states.

In 1974, the Democrats retook the governorship, holding it for 20 years under the administrations of Hugh Careyand Mario Cuomo. In his two terms (1975-1982), Carey was able to reduce the state's debt and saved New York City from bankruptcy. Mario Cuomo (1983-1994) pursued more liberal policies while still trying to keep the state's budget in control. In 1995, Centrist Republican George Pataki took over, serving for three terms through 2006. He was briefly replaced by former Attorney General Democrat Elliot Spitzer (2007-08), who left office amidst a sex scandal, and was replaced by his lieutenant governor, David Paterson, the first African-American to hold the office (2008-10). In 2011, Andrew Cuomo was elected governor, serving for almost three terms before resigning in disgrace amidst allegations of sexual harassment and creating a negative work environment in 2021. Cuomo was an activist governor supporting progressive policies, but his failure to court support among other state Democratic officials ultimately cost him his position. He was succeeded by his lieutenant governor, Kathy Hochul, who is serving the balance of his term.


See A. C. Flick, A History of The State of New York (10 vol., 1933–37; repr. 10 vol. in 5, 1962); D. M. Ellis, A History of New York State (1967); E. Wilson, Upstate: Records and Recollections of Northern New York (1971); W. Smith, The History of The Province of New York, ed. by M. Karnmen (1972); J. H. Thompson, ed., The Geography of New York State (rev. ed. 1977); T. Gergel, The Encyclopedia of New York (1983); N. White, New York: A Physical History (1987); D. Stradling, The Nature of New York: An Environmental History of the Empire State (2010).

New York

, city, United States
New York, city (2020 pop. 8,336,817), land area 304.8 sq mi (789.4 sq km), SE N.Y., largest city in the United States and one of the largest in the world, on New York Bay at the mouth of the Hudson River. It comprises five boroughs, each coextensive with a county: Manhattan (New York co.), the heart of the city, an island; the Bronx (Bronx co.), on the mainland, NE of Manhattan and separated from it by the Harlem River; Queens (Queens co.), on Long Island, E of Manhattan across the East River; Brooklyn (Kings co.), also on Long Island, on the East River adjoining Queens and on New York Bay; and Staten Island (Richmond co.), on Staten Island, SW of Manhattan and separated from it by the Upper Bay. The metropolitan area encompasses parts of SE New York state, NE New Jersey, and SW Connecticut. The port of New York (which is now centered on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River) remains one of the world's leading ports, with significant container, cruise, and other terminals.


New York is a vibrant center for commerce and business and one of the three “world cities” (along with London and Toyko) that control world finance. Manufacturing—primarily of small but highly diverse types—accounts for a large but declining amount of employment. Clothing and other apparel, such as furs; chemicals; metal products; and processed foods are some of the principal manufactures. The city is also a major center of television broadcasting, book publishing, advertising, and other facets of mass communication. It became a major movie-making site in the 1990s, and it is a preeminent art center, with artists revitalizing many of its neighborhoods. The most celebrated newspapers are the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. New York attracts many conventions—including the national Democratic (1868, 1924, 1976, 1980, 1992) and Republican (2004) party conventions—and was the site of two World's Fairs (1939–40; 1964–65). It is served by three major airports: John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia Airport, both in Queens, and Newark International Airport, in New Jersey. Railroads converge upon New York from all points at Grand Central Terminal and Pennsylvania Station in Manhattan.

With its vast cultural and educational resources, famous shops and restaurants, places of entertainment (including the theater district and many off-Broadway theaters), striking and diversified architecture (including the Woolworth Building, Chrysler Building, Empire State Building, Seagram Building, 8 Spruce St., and One World Trade Center), and parks and botanical gardens, New York draws millions of tourists every year. Some of its streets and neighborhoods have become symbols throughout the nation. Wall Street means finance; Broadway, the theater; Fifth Avenue, fine shopping; Madison Avenue, advertising; and SoHo, art.

Ethnic Diversity

New York City is also famous for its ethnic diversity, manifesting itself in scores of communities representing virtually every nation on earth, each preserving its identity. Little Italy and Chinatown date back to the mid-19th cent. African Americans from the South began to migrate to Harlem after 1910, and in the 1940s large numbers of Puerto Ricans and other Hispanic-Americans began to settle in what is now known as Spanish Harlem. Since the 1980s New York City has undergone substantial population growth, primarily due to new immigration from Latin America (especially the Dominican Republic), Asia, Jamaica, Haiti, the Soviet Union and Russia, and Africa.

Points of Interest and Educational and Cultural Facilities

The city's many bridges include the George Washington Bridge, Brooklyn Bridge, Henry Hudson Bridge, Robert F. Kennedy (formerly Triborough) Bridge, the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge, the Throgs Neck Bridge, and the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge. The Holland Tunnel (the first vehicular tunnel under the Hudson) and the Lincoln Tunnel link Manhattan with New Jersey. The Queens-Midtown Tunnel and the Hugh L. Carey (formerly Brooklyn-Battery) Tunnel, both under the East River, connect Manhattan with W Long Island. Islands in the East River include Roosevelt Island (site of Cornell Tech and apartments), Rikers Island (site of a city penitentiary), and Randalls Island (with Downing Stadium). In New York Bay are Liberty Island (with the Statue of Liberty); Governors Island; and Ellis Island. New York City is the seat of the United Nations. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts is a complex of buildings housing the Metropolitan Opera Company, the New York Philharmonic, the New York City Ballet, and the Juilliard School. Other performances venues include Carnegie Hall and New York City Center.

Among the best known of the city's many museums and scientific collections are the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (designed by Frank Lloyd Wright), the Frick Collection (housed in the Frick mansion), the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Neue Galerie, the Museum of the City of New York, the Museum of Jewish Heritage–a Living Memorial to the Holocaust, the American Museum of Natural History (with the Hayden Planetarium), the museum and library of the New-York Historical Society, the Brooklyn Museum (see Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences), and the Paley Center for Media. The New York Public Library is the largest in the United States. Major educational institutions include the City Univ. of New York (see New York, City Univ. of), Columbia Univ., Cooper Union, Fordham Univ., General Theological Seminary, Jewish Theological Seminary, New School Univ., New York Univ., and Union Theological Seminary. A center for medical treatment and research, New York has more than 130 hospitals and several medical schools. Noted hospitals include Bellevue Hospital, Mt. Sinai Hospital (part of Mt. Sinai NYU Health), and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital (encompassing Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center and New York Weill Cornell Medical Center). Among New York's noted houses of worship are Trinity Church, St. Paul's Chapel (dedicated 1776), Saint Patrick's Cathedral, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine (see Saint John the Divine, Cathedral of), Riverside Church, and Temple Emanu-El.

New York's parks and recreation centers include parts of Gateway National Recreation Area (see National Parks and Monuments, table); Central Park, the Battery, Washington Square Park, Hudson River Park, Riverside Park, and Fort Tryon Park (with the Cloisters) in Manhattan; the New York Zoological Park (Bronx Zoo) and the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx; Coney Island (with a boardwalk, beaches, and an aquarium) and Prospect Park in Brooklyn; and Flushing Meadows–Corona Park (the site of two World's Fairs, two museums, a botanic garden, and a zoo) in Queens. Sports events are held at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan, home to the Knickerbockers (basketball) and Rangers (hockey); at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, home to the Yankees (baseball); at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, home to the Nets (basketball); and at Citi Field, home to the Mets (baseball), and the United States Tennis Association Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, home to the U.S. Open (tennis), in Queens. In the suburbs are the homes of the Islanders (hockey; in Uniondale, Long Island) and the Giants and the Jets (football; at the Meadowlands, in East Rutherford, N.J.).

Other places of interest are Rockefeller Center; Battery Park City; Greenwich Village, with its cafés and restaurants; and Times Square, with its lights and theaters. Of historic interest are Fraunces Tavern (built 1719), where Washington said farewell to his officers after the American Revolution; Gracie Mansion (built late 18th cent.), now the official mayoral residence; the Edgar Allan Poe Cottage; and Grant's Tomb.


The Colonial Period

Although Giovanni da Verrazzano was probably the first European to explore the region and Henry Hudson certainly visited the area, it was with Dutch settlements on Manhattan and Long Island that the city truly began to emerge. In 1624 the colony of New Netherland was established, initially on Governors Island, but the town of New Amsterdam on the lower tip of Manhattan was soon its capital. Peter Minuit of the Dutch West India Company supposedly bought the island from its Native inhabitants for 60 Dutch guilders worth of merchandise (the sale was completed in 1626). Under the Dutch, schools were opened and the Dutch Reformed Church was established. The indigenous population was forced out the area of European settlement in a series of bloody battles.

In 1664 the English, at war with the Netherlands (see Dutch Wars), seized the colony for the duke of York, for whom it was renamed. Peter Stuyvesant was replaced by Richard Nicolls as governor, and New York City became the capital of the new British province of New York. The Dutch returned to power briefly (1673–74) before the reestablishment of English rule. A liberal charter, which established the Common Council as the main governing body of the city, was granted under Thomas Dongan in 1686 and remained in effect for many years. English rule was not, however, without dissension, and the autocratic rule of British governors was one of the causes of an insurrection that broke out in 1689 under the leadership of Jacob Leisler. The insurrection ended in the execution of Leisler by his enemies in 1691. In 1741 there was further violence when an alleged plot by African-American slaves to burn New York was ruthlessly suppressed.

Throughout the 18th cent. New York was an expanding commercial and cultural center. The city's first newspaper, the New York Gazette, appeared in 1725. The trial in 1735 of John Peter Zenger, editor of a rival paper, was an important precedent for the principle of a free press. The city's first institution of higher learning, Kings College (now Columbia Univ.), was founded in 1754.

The Revolution through the Nineteenth Century

New York was active in the colonial opposition to British measures after trouble in 1765 over the Stamp Act. As revolutionary sentiments increased, the New York Sons of Liberty forced (1775) Gov. William Tryon and the British colonial government from the city. Although many New Yorkers were Loyalists, Continental forces commanded by George Washington tried to defend the city. After the patriot defeat in the battle of Long Island (see Long Island, battle of) and the succeeding actions at Harlem Heights and White Plains, Washington gave up New York, and the British occupied the city until the end of the war for independence. Under the British occupation two mysterious fires (1776 and 1778) destroyed a large part of the city. After the Revolution New York was briefly (1785–90) the first capital of the United States and was the state capital until 1797. President Washington was inaugurated (Apr. 30, 1789) at Federal Hall.

New development was marked by such events as the founding (1784) of the Bank of New York under Alexander Hamilton and the beginning of the stock exchange around 1790. By 1790 New York was the largest city in the United States, with over 33,000 inhabitants; by 1800 the number had risen to 60,515. In 1811 plans were adopted for the laying out of most of Manhattan on a grid pattern. The opening of the Erie Canal (1825), ardently supported by former Mayor De Witt Clinton, made New York City the seaboard gateway for the Great Lakes region, ushering in another era of commercial expansion. The New York and Harlem RR was built in 1832. In 1834 the mayor of New York became an elective office. In the next year a massive fire destroyed much of Lower Manhattan, but it brought about new building laws and the construction of the Croton water system.

By 1840 New York had become the leading port of the nation. A substantial Irish and German immigration after 1840 dramatically changed the character of urban life and politics in the city. The coming of the Civil War found New Yorkers unusually divided; many shared Mayor Fernando Wood's Southern sympathies, but under the leadership of Gov. Horatio Seymour most supported the Union. However, in 1863 the draft riots broke out in protest against the federal Conscription Act. The rioters—many of whom were Irish and other recent immigrants—directed most of their anger against African Americans. Extensive immigration had begun before the Civil War, and after 1865, with the acceleration of industrial development, another wave of immigration began and reached its height in the late 19th and early 20th cent. As a result of this immigration, which was predominantly from E and S Europe, the city's population reached 3,437,000 by 1900 and 7 million by 1930. New York's many distinct neighborhoods, divided along ethnic and class lines, included such notorious slums as Five Points, Hell's Kitchen, and the Lower East Side. They were often side by side with such exclusive neighborhoods as Gramercy Park or Brooklyn Heights.

Municipal politics were dominated by the Democratic party, which was dominated by Tammany Hall (see Tammany) and the Tweed Ring, led by William M. Tweed. The first of many scandalous disclosures about the city's political life came in 1871, leading to Tweed's downfall. Although not always victorious, Tammany was the center of New York City politics until 1945.

Until 1874, when portions of Westchester were annexed, the city's boundaries were those of present-day Manhattan. With the adoption of a new charter in 1898, New York became a city of five boroughs—New York City was split into the present Manhattan and Bronx boroughs, and the independent city of Brooklyn was annexed, as were the western portions of Queens co. and Staten Island. The opening of the first subway line (1903) and other means of mass transportation spurred the growth of the outer boroughs, and this trend has continued into the 1990s. The Flatiron Building (1902) foreshadowed the skyscrapers that today give Manhattan its famed skyline.

Later History

In the 20th cent., New York City was served by such mayors as Seth Low, William J. Gaynor, James J. Walker (whose resignation was brought about by the Seabury investigation), Fiorello H. LaGuardia, Robert F. Wagner, Jr. (see under Robert Ferdinand Wagner), Abraham Beame, John V. Lindsay, Edward I. Koch, David Dinkins (New York City's first African-American mayor), and Rudolph Giuliani. The need for regional planning resulted in the nation's first zoning legislation (1916) and the formation of such bodies as the Port of New York Authority (1921; now the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey), the Regional Plan Association (1929), the Municipal Housing Authority (1934), and the City Planning Commission (1938).

After World War II, New York began to experience the problems that became common to most large U.S. cities, including increased crime, racial and ethnic tensions, homelessness, a movement of residents and companies to the suburbs and the resulting diminished tax base, and a deteriorating infrastructure that hurt city services. These problems were highlighted in the city's near-bankruptcy in 1975. A brief but spectacular boom in the stock and real estate markets in the 1980s brought considerable wealth to some sectors. By the early 1990s, however, corporate downsizing, the outward movement of corporate and back office centers, a still shrinking industrial sector, and the transition to a service-oriented economy meant the city was hard-hit by the national recession.

In the late 1990s the city capitalized on its strengths to face a changing economic environment. While the manufacturing base continued to dwindle, the survivors were flexible and, increasingly, specialized companies that custom-tailored products or focused on local customers. Foreign markets were targeted by the city's financial, legal, communications, and other service industries. The city also saw the birth of a strong high-technology sector. Budget cuts in the mid-1990s reduced basic services, but a strong national economy and, especially, a rising stock market had restored vigor and prosperity by the end of the 20th cent.

The destruction of the World Trade Center, formerly the city's tallest building, as a result of a terrorist attack (Sept., 2001) was the worst disaster in the city's history, killing more than 2,700 people. In addition to the wrenching horror of the attack and the blow to the city's pride, New York lost some 10% of its commercial office space and faced months of cleanup and years of reconstruction. The crisis brought national prominence and international renown to Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who provided the city with a forceful and calming focus in the weeks after the attack. Michael R. Bloomberg, a moderate Republican, succeeded Giuliani as mayor in 2002. In 2012 low-lying areas of the city's boroughs suffered extensive damage from Hurricane Sandy's storm surge. In 2014, Bill de Blasio, a populist and liberal Democrat, became mayor. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the city was the center of one of the worst outbreaks. In 2021, Eric Adams, former Brooklyn borough president, was elected mayor, only the second African-American to win this position.


See I. N. P. Stokes, The Iconography of Manhattan Island (6 vol., 1915–28, repr. 1967); R. G. Albion, The Rise of New York Port, 1815–1860 (1939); J. A. Kouwenhoven, Columbia Historical Portrait of New York (1953, repr. 1972); N. Glazer and D. P. Moynihan, Beyond the Melting Pot (1963); E. R. Ellis, The Epic of New York City (1966); R. A. Caro, The Power Broker (1975); D. Hammack, Power and Society (1982); J. Kieran, A Natural History of New York (1982); J. Charyn, Metropolis (1987); R. A. M. Stern et al., New York 1960 (1995); E. G. Burrows and M. Wallace, Gotham (1998); H. Adam, New York: Architecture & Design (2003); R. Shorto, The Island at the Center of the World (2004); J. Brash, Bloomberg's New York (2011); S. H. Jaffe, New York at War (2012); M. B. Williams, City of Ambition (2013); G. Koeppel, City on a Grid: How New York Became New York (2015); M. Wallace, Greater Gotham (2017); guides by the Federal Writers' Project (1939, repr. 1982) and A. S. Dolkart and M. A. Postal (3d ed. 2003); encyclopedia by K. T. Jackson, ed. (2d ed. 2010).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

New York (State) State Information

Phone: (518) 474-2121

Area (sq mi):: 54556.00 (land 47213.79; water 7342.22) Population per square mile: 407.80
Population 2005: 19,254,630 State rank: 0 Population change: 2000-20005 1.50%; 1990-2000 5.50% Population 2000: 18,976,457 (White 62.00%; Black or African American 15.90%; Hispanic or Latino 15.10%; Asian 5.50%; Other 10.60%). Foreign born: 20.40%. Median age: 35.90
Income 2000: per capita $23,389; median household $43,393; Population below poverty level: 14.60% Personal per capita income (2000-2003): $34,897-$36,112
Unemployment (2004): 5.80% Unemployment change (from 2000): 1.30% Median travel time to work: 31.70 minutes Working outside county of residence: 35.40%

List of New York counties:

  • Albany County
  • Allegany County
  • Bronx County
  • Broome County
  • Cattaraugus County
  • Cayuga County
  • Chautauqua County
  • Chemung County
  • Chenango County
  • Clinton County
  • Columbia County
  • Cortland County
  • Delaware County
  • Dutchess County
  • Erie County
  • Essex County
  • Franklin County
  • Fulton County
  • Genesee County
  • Greene County
  • Hamilton County
  • Herkimer County
  • Jefferson County
  • Kings County
  • Lewis County
  • Livingston County
  • Madison County
  • Monroe County
  • Montgomery County
  • Nassau County
  • New York County
  • Niagara County
  • Oneida County
  • Onondaga County
  • Ontario County
  • Orange County
  • Orleans County
  • Oswego County
  • Otsego County
  • Putnam County
  • Queens County
  • Rensselaer County
  • Richmond County
  • Rockland County
  • Saint Lawrence County
  • Saratoga County
  • Schenectady County
  • Schoharie County
  • Schuyler County
  • Seneca County
  • Steuben County
  • Suffolk County
  • Sullivan County
  • Tioga County
  • Tompkins County
  • Ulster County
  • Warren County
  • Washington County
  • Wayne County
  • Westchester County
  • Wyoming County
  • Yates County
  • Counties USA: A Directory of United States Counties, 3rd Edition. © 2006 by Omnigraphics, Inc.

    New York Parks

    Parks Directory of the United States, 5th Edition. © 2007 by Omnigraphics, Inc.
    The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

    New York


    a state in the USA, on the Atlantic coast, bordering on Canada. It includes Long Island. New York has an area of 128,400 sq km and a population of 18.2 million (1970), 85.6 percent of whom are urban dwellers. The capital is Albany, and the largest cities and chief industrial centers are New York, Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse.

    Much of the state is occupied by spurs of the Appalachians, reaching a height of 1,628 m in the Adirondack Mountains in the northeast. In the southwest, the rim of the Appalachian Plateau has a maximum elevation of 656 m. New York has a moderate, humid climate. Average monthly temperatures range from -8°C to 23°C, and the annual precipitation is 800–1,000 mm. The largest rivers are the Hudson, which is linked with the Great Lakes system, the Mohawk, and the St. Lawrence. There are coniferous and mixed forests.

    New York is one of the most densely populated and economically developed states in the USA. Although it was supplanted by California in 1960 as the most populous state, it leads the nation in industrial production, financial transactions, bank deposits, and commerce. Of the state’s more than 7 million gainfully employed persons, approximately 25 percent are engaged in industry, 2 percent in agriculture, and almost 30 percent in commerce and finance. In 1970, 8,000 persons were employed in the mining industry, and 1.8 million, in manufacturing. Mineral resources include zinc (55,000 tons) and salt (about 5 million tons); building materials, abrasives, and titanium concentrates are also produced.

    Major branches of manufacturing are the garment and printing and publishing industries (chiefly in New York City), the production of electrical and electronic equipment and optical goods, shipbuilding, the aerospace industry, and the production of industrial machinery. Other important industries include ferrous (chiefly in Buffalo) and nonferrous metallurgy; the chemical, oil-refining, food, and shoe industries; and aluminium smelting. Large hydroelectric power plants have been built on the Niagara and St. Lawrence rivers. In 1972 the state’s electric power stations had a rated capacity of 24 gigawatts.

    Agriculture is oriented toward nearby urban markets and consists chiefly of dairy farming and the raising of vegetables, fruits, and berries. Livestock raising accounts for more than 75 percent of the agricultural output. In 1971 the state had more than 1.8 million head of cattle, including 1 million dairy cows and calves. Fodder is a major crop. Potatoes and vegetables are the chief crops on Long Island, and the area around Lake Erie and Lake Ontario is noted for its grapes and fruit, making New York the second leading producer of these crops. Tourism is an important source of revenue.


    The original inhabitants of New York were the Iroquois Indians, who were largely exterminated during the European colonization of North America. In the early 17th century the territory was seized by the Dutch and incorporated into the Dutch colonial possessions in North America, called New Netherland. The town of New Amsterdam (now New York City), founded in 1626, became the administrative center of the Dutch colonies. In the 17th century there was a protracted Anglo-Dutch struggle for control over the area. In 1664, New Netherland became an English colony and was renamed New York (in 1673–74 it briefly reverted to the Dutch). The population took an active part in the American Revolution (1775–83), and in 1776, New York became one of the first 13 states of the USA. During the Civil War (1861–65) the state sided with the North.

    The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

    New York

    Eleventh state; adopted the U.S. Constitution on July 26, 1788

    Capital: Albany Nickname: The Empire State State motto: Excelsior (Latin “Ever upward”) State animal: Beaver (Castor canadensis) State beverage: Milk State bird: Bluebird (Sialia sialis) State bush: Lilac State freshwater fish: Brook or speckled trout (Salvelinus

    fontinalis); saltwater: Striped bass State flower: Rose (genus Rosa) State fossil: Eurypterus remipes (distant relative of the

    horseshoe crab) State fruit: Apple (Malus sylvestris) State gem: Garnet State insect: Ladybug (Hippodamia convergens) State muffin: Apple muffin State reptile: Common snapping turtle State shell: Bay scallop (Agropecten irradians) State tree: Sugar maple (Acer saccharum)

    More about state symbols at:


    AmerBkDays-2000, p. 545 AnnivHol-2000, p. 123


    State web site:

    Office of the Governor State Capitol Executive Chamber Albany, NY 12224 518-474-8390 fax: 518-474-1513

    Secretary of State 41 State St Albany, NY 12231 518-474-0050 fax: 518-474-4765

    New York State Library Empire State Plaza Albany, NY 12230 518-474-5355 fax: 518-474-5786

    Legal Holidays:

    Lincoln's BirthdayFeb 12
    Washington's BirthdayFeb 21, 2011; Feb 20, 2012; Feb 18, 2013; Feb 17, 2014; Feb 16, 2015; Feb 15, 2016; Feb 20, 2017; Feb 19, 2018; Feb 18, 2019; Feb 17, 2020; Feb 15, 2021; Feb 21, 2022; Feb 20, 2023
    Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.

    New York

    1. a city in SE New York State, at the mouth of the Hudson River: the largest city and chief port of the US; settled by the Dutch as New Amsterdam in 1624 and captured by the British in 1664, when it was named New York; consists of five boroughs (Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Richmond) and many islands, with its commercial and financial centre in Manhattan; the country's leading commercial and industrial city. Pop.: 8 085 742 (2003 est.)
    2. a state of the northeastern US: consists chiefly of a plateau with the Finger Lakes in the centre, the Adirondack Mountains in the northeast, the Catskill Mountains in the southeast, and Niagara Falls in the west. Capital: Albany. Pop.: 19 190 115 (2003 est.). Area: 123 882 sq. km (47 831 sq. miles)
    Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005