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- This article refers to the U.S. state of New York. For other uses see New York (disambiguation).
New York is a state in the northeastern United States whose U.S. postal abbreviation is NY. It is sometimes called New York State when there is need to distinguish it from New York City.
See: History of New York
New York was one of the thirteen colonies that revolted against British rule in the American Revolution.
Law and government
As in all fifty states, the head of the executive branch of government is a Governor. The legislative branch is called the Legislature and consists of a Senate and an Assembly. Unlike most States, the New York electoral law permits electoral fusion, and New York ballots tend to have, in consequence, a larger number of parties on them, some being permanent minor parties that seek to influence the major parties and others being ephemeral parties formed to give major-party candidates an additional line on the ballot.
New York's legislature is notoriously dysfunctional. The Assembly has long been controlled by the Democrats, the Senate has long been controlled by the Republicans. From 1984 until 2005, no budget had been passed on time, and for many years the legislature was unable to pass legislation for which there was supposed to be a consensus, such as reforming the so-called Rockefeller drug laws.
In 2002, 16,892 laws were introduced in the New York legislature, more than twice as many as in the Illinois General Assembly, whose members are the second most prolific. Of those bills, only 4 percent, 693, actually became law, the lowest passing percentage in the country.
New York's legislature also has more paid staff, 3,428 than any other legislature in the nation. Pennsylvania, whose staff is the second largest, only had 2,947, and California only 2,359. New York's legislature also has more committees than any other legislature in the nation.
New York's subordinate political units are its 62 counties. Other officially incorporated governmental units are towns, cities, and villages.
For decades it has been the established practice for Albany to pass legislation for some meritorious project, but then mandate county and municipal government to actually pay for it. New York State has its counties pay a higher percentage of welfare costs than any other state and New York State is the only state which requires counties to pay a portion of Medicaid.
The court system in New York is notable for its "backwards" naming: the state's trial court is called the New York Supreme Court, while the highest court in the state is the New York Court of Appeals.
New York State's borders touch (clockwise from the northwest) two Great Lakes (Erie and Ontario, which are connected by the Niagara River), the provinces of Ontario and Quebec in Canada, three New England states (Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut), the Atlantic Ocean, and two Mid-Atlantic states (New Jersey and Pennsylvania). In addition, Rhode Island shares a water border with New York.
New York is also the site of the only extra-territorial enclave within the boundaries of the USA, the United Nations compound on Manhattan's East River.
The southern tip of New York State – New York City, its suburbs, and the southern portion of the Hudson Valley – can be considered to form the central core of a "megalopolis", a super-city stretching from the northern suburbs of Boston to the southern suburbs of Washington and therefore occasionally called BosWash. First described by Jean Gottman in 1961 as a new phenomenon in the history of world urbanization, the megalopolis is characterized by a coalescence of previous already-large cities of the Eastern Seaboard, a heavy specialization on tertiary activity related to government, trade, law, education, finance, publishing and control of economic activity, plus a growth pattern not so much of more population and more area as more intensive use of already existing urbanized area and ever more sophisticated links from one specialty to another. Several other groups of megalopolis-type super-cities exist in the world, but that centered around New York City was the first described and still is the best example.
The megalopolis, however, is not the only aspect of New York State. While best known for New York City's urban atmosphere, especially Manhattan's skyscrapers, by contrast the rest of the state is dominated by farms, forests, rivers, mountains, and lakes. Few people know that New York's Adirondack State Park is larger than any National Park in the US. Niagara Falls, on the Niagara River as it flows from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario is a popular attraction; the best view is from the Canadian side. The Hudson River flows south through the eastern part of the state without draining Lakes George or Champlain. Lake George empties at its north end into Lake Champlain, whose northern end extends into Canada, where it drains into the Richelieu and then the St Lawrence Rivers. Four of New York City's five boroughs are on the three islands at the mouth of the Hudson River Manhattan Island, Staten Island, and Long Island.
The five New York City boroughs (and their counties) are: The Bronx (Bronx) on the mainland north of Manhattan (New York) on Manhattan Island; the Hudson River is their western boundary. Brooklyn (Kings) and Queens (Queens) are across the East River from Manhattan on the western end of Long Island and Staten Island (Richmond) is south of Manhattan. The eastern end of Long Island includes suburban Nassau and Suffolk Counties.
"Upstate" is a common term for New York State north of the New York City metropolitan area; but many of those outside of the NYC metropolitan area find the term demeaning because it is emblematic of the cultural and demographic divide which separates the two areas, one rural and conservative, the other urban and liberal. Which of the suburban counties north of The Bronx along the Hudson River (Rockland, Westchester, and Putnam) count as "Upstate" depends on who is making the list. Upstate New York includes the Catskill and Adirondack Mountains, the Shawangunk Ridge, the Finger and Great Lakes in the west and Lake Champlain, Lake George, and Oneida Lake in the northeast, and rivers such as the Delaware, Genesee, Hudson, Mohawk, and Susquehanna. The highest elevation in New York is Mount Marcy in the Adirondacks.
East of New York City extends the appropriately named "Long Island", stretching approximately 120 miles (190 km) from Brooklyn and Queens Counties (part of NY City) on the western end to Orient and Montauk Points in the rural "East End" of the Island. The two counties that you encounter as you travel east from NY City are Nassau and Suffolk. Three of Suffolk County's ten townships - Brookhaven, Riverhead, and Southampton - are host to the 102,500 acre (415 km²) State designated and protected Central Pine Barrens region. This remarkably undeveloped region overlies part of Long Island's federally designated Sole Source Aquifer which provides drinking water to nearly three million residents, and it contains terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems of statewide and national significance, interconnected surface and ground waters, recreational areas, historic locales, farmlands, and residential communities. This region is the largest remnant of a forest thought to have once encompassed over a quarter million acres (1,000 km²) on Long Island following the last glacial advance some 15,000 to 20,000 years ago. Much of the region's ecosystem is similar to the larger New Jersey Pinelands (also called "pine barrens") to the south and southwest of NY City, along with Cape Cod's pine barrens. All three areas share geologic and ecological characteristics common along the Atlantic Coastal Plain of the U.S.
New York City dominates the economy of the state. It is the leading center of banking, finance and communication in the United States and is the location of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on Wall Street, Manhattan. In 1999, the total gross state product was $755 billion, second only to California in the nation by a small margin. Its 2000 Per Capita Personal Income was $34,547, placing it 4th in the nation. New York's agricultural outputs are dairy products, cattle and other livestock, vegetables, nursery stock, and apples. Its industrial outputs are printing and publishing, scientific instruments, electric equipment, machinery, chemical products, and tourism.
New York is best known for its tertiary sector specializing in foreign trade, together with banking, port facilities, advertising, warehousing, and other activities needed to support large-scale commerce. In addition, many of the world's largest corporations locate their headquarters home offices in Manhattan or in nearby Westchester County, New York. The state also has a large manufacturing sector which includes printing, garments, furs, railroad rolling stock, and bus line vehicles. Some industries are concentrated in outstate locations also, such as ceramics (the southern tier of counties) and photographic equipment (Rochester).
There is a moderately large saltwater commercial fishery located along the Atlantic side of Long Island. The principal catches by value are clams, lobsters, squid, and flounder. There used to be a large oyster fishery in New York waters as well, but at present, oysters comprise only a small portion of the total value of seafood harvested. Perhaps the best known aspect of the fishing sector is the famous Fulton Fish Market in New York City, which distributes not only the New York catch, but imported seafood from all over the world. The famous Fulton Fish Market has been moved to the Bronx.
New York's mining sector, which is larger than most people think, is concentrated in three areas. The first is near New York City. Primarily, this area specializes in construction materials for the many projects in the city, but its also contains the emery mines of Westchester County, one of two locations in the USA where that mineral is extracted. The second area is the Adirondack Mountains. This is an area of very specialized products, including talc, industrial garnets, and zinc. It should be noted that the Adirondacks are not part of the Appalachian system, despite their location, but are structurally part of the mineral-rich Canadian Shield. Finally in the inland southwestern part of the state in the Allegheny Plateau is a region of drilled wells. The only major liquid output at present is salt in the form of brine; however, there are also small to moderate petroleum reserves in this area.
New York State is an agricultural leader, ranking within the top five states for a number of products including dairy, apples, cherries, cabbage, potatoes, onions, maple syrup and many other products. The state has about a quarter of its land in farms and produced 3.4 billion dollars in agricultural products in 2001. The south shore of Lake Ontario provides the right mix of soils and microclimate for many apple, cherry, plum, pear and peach orchards. Apples are also grown in the Hudson Valley and near Lake Champlain. The south shore of Lake Erie and the southern Finger Lakes hillsides have many vineyards. New York State is the nation's third-largest wine-producing state, behind California and Washington State.
New York was heavily glaciated in the ice age leaving much of the state with deep, fertile, though somewhat rocky soils. Row crops, including hay, maize, wheat, oats, barley, and soybeans, are grown. Particularly in the western part of the state, sweet corn, peas, carrots, squash, cucumbers and other vegetables are grown. The Hudson and Mohawk valleys are known for pumpkins and blueberries. The glaciers also left numerous swampy areas, which have been drained for the rich humus soils called muckland which is mostly used for onions, potatoes, celery and other vegetables. Dairy farms are present throughout much of the state. Cheese is a major product, often produced by Amish or Mennonite farm cheeseries. New York is rich in nectar-producing plants and is a major honey-producing state. The honeybees are also used for pollination of fruits and vegetables. Most commercial beekeepers are migratory, taking their hives to southern states for the winter. Most cities have Farmers' markets which are well supplied by local truck farmers.
According to the US Census Bureau, as of 2003, New York was the third largest state in population after California and Texas, with a population of 19,190,115. 20.4% of the population is foreign-born.
The racial makeup of the state is:
The top 5 ancestry groups in New York are African American (15.9%), Italian (14.4%), Irish (12.9%), German (11.2%), English (6%).
6.5% of New York's population were reported as under 5, 24.7% under 18, and 12.9% were 65 or older. Females made up approximately 51.8% of the population.
The four largest denominations in New York are: Roman Catholic (about 37% of total state population), Baptist (8%), Methodist (6%), and Lutheran (3%). New York is home to more of America's Jews (25%) and Muslims (24%) than any other state. New York is also home to the largest percent of the nations Taoists (26%), and Greek Orthodox (17%).
Religious Identification in the State of New York
|Christian - no denomination
|Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh
|Other and New Religions
The Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan contains the shrine and burial place of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini ( Mother Cabrini), the patron saint of immigrants and the first American citizen to be canonized. Immigration has given New York an unusually diverse composition of religious groups in which no one denomination has an overwhelming numerical superiority, as shown by the tables below:
At Chautauqua Lake in the southwestern portion of the state is the Chautauqua Institution, co-founded by Methodist Rev. John Vincent and devoted to adult continuing education in a uplifting setting, as that ambiance was understood in the last half of the Nineteenth Century. The Institution, which still exists, offers to a predominately middle class and Mid-American clientele a very high standard of intellectual summer lectures, mixed with certain elements of folksy relgious camp meetings, such as outdoor recreation and musical events. While some aspects of this pedagogy may seem quaint today, the Institution helped assure that high intellectual achievement would be recognized as consistent with the value system of an emerging powerful Middle West, and was one of several ways that Upstate New York served between the Civil War and World War I as a transmitting intermediary between the standards of the East Coast and the interior heartland.
Important cities and towns
Albany is the state capital, and New York City is by far the largest city. (See also List of cities in New York)
Its major cities and towns are:
Primary and Secondary Education
The New York State Board of Regents, the University of the State of New York and the State Education Department control all public primary and secondary education in the state.
Colleges and universities
Besides the many private colleges and universities in the state, New York, like many other states, operates its own system of institutions of higher learning known as the State University of New York System (SUNY). New York City operates the City University of New York (CUNY) in conjunction with the state.
Professional sports teams
USS New York was named in honor of this state.
The state animal: Beaver (Castor canadensis)
The state bird: Eastern Bluebird, (Sialia sialis).
The state song: I Love New York.
The state flower: Rose.
The state tree: Sugar maple (Acer saccharum).
The state fruit: Apple.
The state gemstone: Garnet.
The state motto: Excelsior (ever higher).
Last updated: 08-31-2005 19:10:50