New York

views updated May 18 2018

New York

State of New York

ORIGIN OF STATE NAME: Named for the Duke of York (later King James II) in 1664.

NICKNAME: The Empire State.

CAPITAL: Albany.

ENTERED UNION: 26 July 1788 (11th).

SONG: "I Love New York".

MOTTO: Excelsior (Ever upward).

COAT OF ARMS: Liberty and Justice stand on either side of a shield showing a mountain sunrise. Above the shield is an eagle on a globe. In the foreground are a three-masted ship and a Hudson River sloop, both representing commerce. Liberty's left foot has kicked aside a royal crown. Beneath the shield is the state motto.

FLAG: Dark blue with the coat of arms in the center.

OFFICIAL SEAL: The coat of arms surrounded by the words "The Great Seal of the State of New York."

BIRD: Bluebird.

FISH: Brook or speckled trout.


TREE: Sugar maple.

GEM: Garnet.

LEGAL HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day, 1 January; Birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., 3rd Monday in January; Lincoln's Birthday, 12 February, sometimes observed on the Friday closest to this date; Washington's Birthday, 3rd Monday in February; Memorial Day, last Monday in May; Independence Day, 4 July; Labor Day, 1st Monday in September; Columbus Day, 2nd Monday in October; General Election Day, 1st Tuesday after the 1st Monday in November; Veterans' Day, 11 November; Thanksgiving Day, 4th Thursday in November; Christmas Day, 25 December.

TIME: 7 AM EST = noon GMT.


Located in the northeastern United States, New York State is the largest of the three Middle Atlantic states and ranks 30th in size among the 50 states.

The total area of New York is 49,108 sq mi (127,190 sq km), of which land takes up 47,377 sq mi (122,707 sq km) and the remaining 1,731 sq mi (4,483 sq km) consist of inland water. New York's width is about 320 mi (515 km) e-w, not including Long Island, which extends an additional 118 mi (190 km) sw-ne; the state's maximum n-s extension is about 310 mi (499 km). New York State is shaped roughly like a right triangle: the line from the extreme ne to the extreme sw forms the hypotenuse, with New York City as the right angle.

Mainland New York is bordered on the nw and n by the Canadian provinces of Ontario (with the boundary line passing through Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River) and Quebec; on the e by Vermont (with part of the line passing through Lake Champlain and the Poultney River), Massachusetts, and Connecticut; on the s by the Atlantic Ocean, New Jersey (part of the line passes through the Hudson River), and Pennsylvania (partly through the Delaware River); and on the w by Pennsylvania (with the line extending into Lake Erie) and Ontario (through Lake Erie and the Niagara River).

Two large islands lie off the state's se corner. Long Island is bounded by Connecticut (through Long Island Sound) to the n, Rhode Island (through the Atlantic Ocean) to the ne, the Atlantic to the s, and the East River and the Narrows to the w. Staten Island (a borough of New York City) is separated from New Jersey by Newark Bay in the n, Raritan Bay in the s, and Arthur Kill channel in the w, and from Long Island by the Narrows to the e. Including these two islands, the total boundary length of New York State is 1,430 mi (2,301 km). Long Island, with an area of 1,396 sq mi (3,616 sq km), is the largest island belonging to one of the 48 coterminous states.

The state's geographic center is in Madison County, 12 mi (19 km) s of Oneida.


Two upland regionsthe Adirondack Mountains and the Appalachian Highlandsdominate the topography of New York State.

The Adirondacks cover most of the northeast and occupy about one-fourth of the state's total area. The Appalachian Highlands, including the Catskill Mountains and Kittatinny Mountain Ridge (or Shawangunk Mountains), extend across the southern half of the state, from the Hudson River Valley to the basin of Lake Erie. Between these two upland regions, and also along the state's northern and eastern borders, lies a network of lowlands, including the Great Lakes Plain; the Hudson, Mohawk, Lake Champlain, and St. Lawrence valleys; and the coastal areas of New York City and Long Island.

The state's highest peaks are found in the Adirondacks: Mt. Marcy, 5,344 feet (1,629 meters), and Algonquin Peak, 5,114 feet (1,559 meters). The mean elevation of the state is approximately 1,000 ft (305 m). Nestled among the Adirondacks are many scenic lakes, including Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, and Lake George. The region is also the source of the Hudson and Ausable rivers. The Adirondack Forest Preserve covers much of this terrain, and both public and private lakes are mainly for recreational use.

The highest peak in the Catskills is Slide Mountain, at 4,204 feet (1,281 meters). Lesser upland regions of New York include the Hudson Highlands, projecting into the Hudson Valley; the Taconic Range, along the state's eastern border; and Tug Hill Plateau, set amid the lowlands just west of the Adirondacks.

Three lakesErie, Ontario, and Champlainform part of the state's borders. The state has jurisdiction over 594 sq mi (1,538 sq km) of Lake Erie and 3,033 sq mi (7,855 sq km) of Lake On-tario. New York contains some 8,000 lakes; the largest lake wholly within the state is Oneida, about 22 mi (35 km) long, with a maximum width of 6 mi (10 km) and an area of 80 sq mi (207 sq km). Many smaller lakes are found in the Adirondacks and in the Finger Lakes region in west-central New York, renowned for its vineyards and great natural beauty. The 11 Finger Lakes themselves (including Owasco, Cayuga, Seneca, Keuka, Canadaigua, and Skaneateles) are long and narrow, fanning southward from a line that runs roughly from Syracuse westward to Geneseo. Sea level at the Atlantic Ocean is the lowest elevation of the state.

New York's longest river is the Hudson, extending from the Adirondacks to New York Bay for a distance of 306 mi (492 km). The Mohawk River flows into the Hudson north of Albany. The major rivers of central and western New York Statethe Black, Genesee, and Oswegoall flow into Lake Ontario. Rivers defining the state's borders are the St. Lawrence in the north, the Poultney in the east, the Delaware in the southeast, and the Niagara in the west. Along the Niagara River, Niagara Falls forms New York's most spectacular natural feature. The falls, with an estimated mean flow rate of more than 1,585,000 gallons (60,000 hectoliters) per second, are both a leading tourist attraction and a major source of hydroelectric power.

About 2 billion years ago, New York State was entirely covered by a body of water that periodically rose and fell. The Adirondacks and Hudson River Palisades were produced by undersea volcanic action during this Grenville period. At about the same time, the schist and other crystalline rock that lie beneath Manhattan were formed. The Catskills were worn down by erosion from what was once a high, level plain. Glaciers from the last Ice Age carved out the inland lakes and valleys and determined the surface features of Staten Island and Long Island.


Although New York lies entirely within the humid continental zone, there is much variation from region to region. The three main climatic regions are the southeastern lowlands, which have the warmest temperatures and the longest season between frosts; the uplands of the Catskills and Adirondacks, where winters are cold and summers cool; and the snow belt along the Great Lakes Plain, one of the snowiest areas of the United States. The growing (frost-free) season ranges from 100 to 120 days in the Adirondacks, Catskills, and higher elevations of the hills of southwestern New York to 180-200 days on Long Island.

Among the major population centers, New York City has an annual average temperature of 55°f (12°c), with a normal maximum of 63°f (17°c) and a normal minimum of 47°f (8°c). Albany has an annual average of 48°f (8°c), with a normal maximum of 58°f (14°c) and a normal minimum of 37°f (2°c). The average in Buffalo is 48°f (8°c), the normal maximum 57°f (13°c), and the normal minimum 40°f (4°c). The record low temperature for the state is 52°f (47°c), recorded at Stillwater Reservoir in the Adirondacks on 9 February 1934 and at Old Forge on 18 February 1979; the record high is 108°f (42°c), registered at Troy on 22 July 1926.

Annual precipitation ranges from over 50 in (127 cm) in the higher elevations to about 30 in (76 cm) in the areas near Lake Ontario and Lake Champlain, and in the lower half of the Genesee River Valley. New York City has an average annual precipitation of 46.7 in (118 cm), with an average annual snowfall of 28 in (71 cm); Albany receives an average annual precipitation of 35.7 in (90 cm); and Buffalo, 38.3 in (97 cm). In the snow belt, Buffalo receives 91 in (231 cm) of snow. Rochester averages 89 in (218 cm), and Syracuse 114 in (289 cm). New York City has fewer days of precipitation than other major populated areas (120 days annually, compared with 168 for Buffalo). Buffalo is the windiest city in the state, with a mean hourly wind speed of about 12 mph (19 km/hr). Tornadoes are rare, but hurricanes and tropical storms sometimes cause heavy damage to Long Island.


New York has some 150 species of trees. Post and willow oak, laurel magnolia, sweet gum, and hop trees dominate the Atlantic shore areas, while oak, hickory, and chestnut thrive in the Hudson and Mohawk valleys and the Great Lakes Plain. Birch, beech, basswood, white oak, and commercially valuable maple are found on the Appalachian Plateau and in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains. The bulk of the Adirondacks and Catskills is covered with red and black spruce, balsam fir, and mountain ash, as well as white pine and maple. Spruce, balsam fir, paper birch, and mountain ash rise to the timberline while only the hardiest plant species grow above it. Larch, mulberry, locust, and several kinds of willow are among the many varieties that have been introduced throughout the state. Apple trees and other fruit-bearing species are important in western New York and the Hudson Valley.

Common meadow flowers include several types of rose (the state flower), along with dandelion, Queen Anne's lace, golden-rod, and black-eyed Susan. Wild sarsaparilla, Solomon's seal, Indian pipe, bunchberry, and goldthread flourish amid the forests. Cattails grow in profusion along the Hudson, and rushes cover the Finger Lakes shallows. Among protected plants are all species of fern, bayberry, lotus, all native orchids, five species of rhododendron (including azalea), and trillium. Five plant species were listed as threatened or endangered in 2006, including the sandplain gerardia, American hart's tongue fern, and Leedy's roseroot.

Some 600 species of mammals, birds, amphibians, and reptiles are found in New York, of which more than 450 species are common. Mammals in abundance include many mouse species, the snowshoe hare, common and New England cottontails, wood-chuck, squirrel, muskrat, and raccoon. The deer population has been estimated at as many as 500,000, making them a pest causing millions of dollars annually in crop damage. The wolverine, elk, and moose were all wiped out during the 19th century, and the otter, mink, marten, and fisher populations were drastically reduced; but the beaver, nearly eliminated by fur trappers, had come back strongly by 1940.

More than 260 bird species have been observed. The most common year-round residents are the crow, hawk, and several types of woodpecker. Summer visitors are many, and include the bluebird (the state bird). The wild turkey, which disappeared during the 19th century, was successfully reestablished in the 1970s. The house (or English) sparrow has been in New York since its introduction in the 1800s.

The common toad, newt, and several species of frog and salamander inhabit New York waters. Garter snakes, water snakes, grass snakes, and milk snakes are common; rattlesnakes formerly thrived in the Adirondacks. There are 210 known species of fish; 130 species are found in the Hudson, 120 in the Lake Ontario was tershed. Freshwater fish include species of perch, bass, pike, and trout (the state fish). Oysters, clams, and several saltwater fish species are found in Long Island Sound. Of insect varieties, the praying mantis is looked upon as a friend (since it eats insects that prey on crops and trees) while the gypsy moth has been singled out as an enemy in periodic state-run pest-control programs.

In April 2006, twenty animal species (vertebrates and invertebrates) were classified by the US Fish and Wildlife Service as threatened or endangered, including the Indiana bat, Karner blue butterfly, piping plover, bald eagle, shortnose sturgeon, three species of whale, and five species of turtle.


New York was one of the first states to mount a major conservation effort. In the 1970s, well over $1 billion was spent to reclaim the state from the ravages of pollution. State conservation efforts date back at least to 1885, when a forest preserve was legally established in the Adirondacks and Catskills. Adirondack Park was created in 1892, Catskill Park in 1904. Then, as now, the issue was how much if any state forestland would be put to commercial use. Timber cutting in the forest preserve was legalized in 1893, but the constitution of 1895 forbade the practice. By the late 1930s, the state had spent more than $16 million on land purchases and controlled 2,159,795 acres (874,041 hectares) in the Adirondacks and some 230,000 acres (more than 93,000 hectares) in the Catskills. The constitutional revision of 1894 expressly outlawed the sale, removal, or destruction of timber on forestlands. That requirement was modified by constitutional amendment in 1957 and 1973, however, and the state is now permitted to sell forest products from the preserves in limited amounts.

All state environmental programs are run by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), established in 1970. The department oversees pollution control programs, monitors environmental quality, manages the forest preserves, and administers fish and wildlife laws (including the issuance of hunting and fishing licenses). The state's national parks totaled 35,914 acres (14,534 hectares). State parks and recreational areas totaled 258,000 acres (104,000 hectares). Wetlands covered 2.5 million acres of the state as of 2000. About one-half of the 160 species identified as endangered or threatened by the Department of Environmental Conservation are wetlands-dependent.

The chief air-quality problem areas are Buffalo, where levels of particles (especially from the use of coke in steelmaking) are high, and New York City, where little progress has been made in cutting carbon monoxide emissions from motor vehicles. Despite air-quality efforts, acid rain has been blamed for killing fish and trees in the Adirondacks, Catskills, and other areas. In 1984, the legislature passed the first measure in the nation designed to reduce acid rain, calling for a cut of 12% in sulfur dioxide emissions by 1988 and further reductions after that. In 2000, the state legislature passed the Air Pollution Mitigation Law, which penalized New York utilities for selling sulfur dioxide allowances other states; the law was overturned in April 2002, when a federal district court ruled that the law both restricted interstate commerce and was preempted by the federal Clean Air Act. In 2003, 44 million lb of toxic chemicals were released in the state.

Before the 1960s, the condition of New York's waters was a national scandal. Raw sewage, arsenic, cyanide, and heavy metals were regularly dumped into the state's lakes and rivers, and fish were rapidly dying off. Two Pure Waters Bond Acts during the 1960s, the Environmental Quality Bond Act of 1972, and a state fishery program have helped reverse the damage. The state has also taken action against corporate polluters, including a $7-million settlement with General Electric over that company's discharge of toxic polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) into the Hudson. In addition, the state and federal government spent perhaps $45 million between 1978 and 1982 on the cleanup of the Love Canal area of Niagara Falls, which was contaminated by the improper disposal of toxic wastes, and on the relocation of some 400 families that had lived there. Remaining problems include continued dumping of sewage and industrial wastes into New York Bay and Long Island Sound, sewage overflows into the Lower Hudson, industrial dumping in the Hudson Valley, nuclear wastes in West Valley in Cattaraugus County, and contamination of fish in Lake Erie. Toxic pollutants, such as organic chemicals and heavy metals, appear in surface and groundwater to an extent not yet fully assessed.

In 2003, New York had 485 hazardous waste sites listed in the US Environment Protection Agency (EPA) database, 86 of which were on the National Priorities List in 2006, including Brookhaven National Laboratory and General Motors Central Foundry Division in Massena. In 2006, New York ranked fourth in the nation for the highest number of sites on the National Priorities List, following New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and California. In 2005, the EPA spent over $32 million through the Superfund program for the cleanup of hazardous waste sites in the state. The same year, federal EPA grants awarded to the state included $64.2 million for the drinking water state revolving fund and over $4.8 million for projects to implement air pollution controls. Other EPA grants received that year included $2.4 million for projects involved with the Long Island Sound Restoration Act and $330,152 for the Lake Champlain Basin Program.

A 1982 law requires a deposit on beer and soft-drink containers sold in the state, to encourage return and recycling of bottles and cans.


New York is no longer the most populous state, having lost that position to California in the 1970 census. However, New York City remains the most populous US city, as it has been since at least 1790. New York state ranked third in population in the United States with an estimated total of 19,254,630 in 2005, an increase of 1.5% since 2000. Between 1990 and 2000, New York's population grew from 17,990,455 to 18,976,457, an increase of 5.5%. The population is projected to reach 19.5 million by 2015. New York's population density in 2004 was 407.2 persons per sq mi, the seventh-highest in the nation. In 2004, the median age for New Yorkers was 37.3, with nearly 23.8% of the populace under age 18 and 13% over 65.

First in the state as well as the nation in population was New York City, with 8,104,079 residents in 2004 (up from 7,323,000 in 1990). The growth of New York City has been remarkable. In 1790, when the first national census was taken, the city had 49,401 residents. By 1850, its population had boomed to 696,115; by 1900, to 3,437,202, double that of Chicago, the city's closest rival. Manhattan alone housed more people in 1900 than any city outside New York. In 1990, if Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and the Bronx had each been a separate city, they would still have ranked third, fourth, sixth, and seventh in the nation, respectively.

Other leading cities, with their estimated 2004 populations were Buffalo, 282,864; Rochester, 212,481; Yonkers, 197,126; and Syracuse, 143,101. All these cities have lost population since the 1970s. With 18,709,802 people in 2004 (down from 20,196,649 in 1999), the tri-state New York City metropolitan area remained the nation's largest; other major metropolitan areas included those of Buffalo-Niagara Falls, with an estimated 1,154,378 people, and Rochester, with 1,041,499. Albany, the state capital, had an estimated metropolitan population of 845,269 in 2004.


During the 19th and 20th centuries, New York was the principal gateway for European immigrants. In the great northern migration that began after World War I, large numbers of blacks also settled there; more recently there has been an influx of Hispanics and Latinos and, to a lesser extent, of Asians. As of 2000, New York had the largest black and second-largest Asian population among the 50 states, and the second-highest percentage of foreign-born residents.

According to the US Bureau of the Census, New York had 82,461 Indians in 2000. In 1996, there were an estimated 16,014 Indians living on or adjacent to the reservations of the following seven tribes: the Cayuga, Oneida, Onondaga, Seneca, and Tuscarora nations, the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe, and the Tonawanda Band of

New YorkCounties, County Seats, and County Areas and Populations
CattaraugusLittle Valley1,30682,502OrleansAlbion39143,387
ColumbiaHudson62863,622RichmondStaten Island59464,573
CortlandCortland50048,622RocklandNew City175292,916
DelawareDelhi1,44047,534St. LawrenceCanton2,728111,380
DutchessPoughkeepsie804294,849SaratogaBallston Spa810214,859
FranklinMalone1,64851,033SchuylerWatkins Glen32919,342
HamiltonLake Pleasant1,7215,228SullivanMonticello97676,539
LewisLowville1,28326,571WarrenTown of Queensbury*88265,548
LivingstonGeneseo63364,205WashingtonHudson Falls**83663,024
MonroeRochester663733,366WestchesterWhite Plains438940,807
NassauMineola2871,333,137YatesPenn Yan33924,756
New YorkNew York221,593,200TOTALS48,03319,254,630

Senecas. In 2004, 0.5% of the state's population was American Indian or Alaskan Native.

Blacks have been in New York since 1624. All black slaves were freed by a state law in 1827. Rochester was a major center of the antislavery movement; Frederick Douglass, a former slave, settled and published his newspaper North Star there, while helping to run the Underground Railroad. After World War I, blacks moving into New York City displaced the Jews, Italians, Germans, and Irish then living in Harlem, which went on to become the cultural capital of black America. The black population of New York State was 3,014,385 as of 200015.9% of the state's population. That percentage had increased to 17.5% by 2004. In 2000, the black population of New York City alone was 2,129,762, larger than the black populations of all but four of the 50 states, and representing 26.6% of all city residents.

The population of Hispanics and Latinos as of 2000 was 2,867,583, or 15% of the state population. Of this total, New York City accounted for roughly 75%. Puerto Ricans in New York state numbered 1,050,293. Cubans, Dominicans, Colombians, Central Americans, and Mexicans are also present in growing numbers, including a large but undetermined number of illegal immigrants. In 2004, 16% of the state's population was Hispanic or Latino.

New York's Asian population is surpassed only by that of California. In 2000 it was estimated at 1,044,976, up from 694,000 in 1990. Pacific Islanders numbered 8,818. In 2000, state residents included 424,774 Chinese, 251,724 Asian Indians (up from 80,430 a decade earlier), 119,846 Koreans, 81,681 Filipinos, 37,279 Japanese, and 23,818 Vietnamese (up from 12,116 in 1990). New York City has the second-largest Chinatown in the United States. In 2004, 6.5% of the state's population was Asian.

In 2000 there were 3,868,133 foreign-born New Yorkers (20.4% of the total state population), a million more than there had been in 1990 (2,851,861, or 15.8%) and more than any other state except California. Among persons who reported at least one specific ancestry group, 2,122,620 named German; 2,737,146 Italian; 2,454,469 Irish; 1,140,036 English; 986,141 Polish; and 460,261 Russian. These figures do not distinguish the large numbers of European Jewish immigrants who would identify themselves as Jews rather than by their country of origin.

The ethnic diversity of the state is reflected in such Manhattan neighborhoods as Harlem, Chinatown, Little Italy, and "Spanish," or East, Harlem, with its large Puerto Rican concentration. Many of the more successful ethnics have moved to the suburbs; on the other hand, new immigrants still tend to form ethnic communities, often in the outer boroughs, such as Asians and South Americans in certain parts of Queens and Russian Jews in south Brooklyn. Outside New York City there are also important ethnic enclaves in the Buffalo metropolitan area, with its large populations of Polish and Italian origin.


Just as New York for three centuries has channeled immigrant speakers of other languages into the English-speaking population, so it has helped to channel some of their words into English, with much more rapid dissemination because of the concentration of publishing and communications industries in New York City.

Little word-borrowing followed contacts by European settlers with the unfriendly Iroquois, who between the 14th and 17th centuries had dispersed the several Algonkian tribes of Montauk, Delaware, and Mahican Indians. In New York State, the effect on English has been almost entirely the adoption of such place-names as Manhattan, Adirondack, Chautauqua, and Skaneateles.

Although the speech of metropolitan New York has its own characteristics, in the state as a whole the Northern dialect predominates. New York State residents generally say /hahg/ and /fahg/ for hog and fog, /krik/ for creek, greasy with an /s/ sound, and half and path with the vowel of cat. They keep the /r/ after a vowel, as in far and cord; sharply differentiate horse and hoarse by pronouncing the former with the vowel of haw and the latter with the vowel of hoe; and call a clump of hard maples a sugarbush.

There are many regional variations. In the Hudson Valley, horse and hoarse tend to be pronounced alike, and a sugarbush is called a sap bush. In the eastern sector, New England piazza for porch and buttonball for sycamore are found, as is the Hudson Valley term nightwalker for a large earthworm. In the Niagara peninsula, Midland eavespout (gutter) and bawl (how a calf sounds) have successfully moved north from Pennsylvania to invade Northern speech. In the North Country, some Canadian influence survives in stook (shock), boodan (liver sausage), and shivaree (wedding celebration). In the New York City area, many speakers pronounce bird almost as if it were /boyd/, do not sound the /h/ in whip or the /r/ after a vowelalthough the trend now is toward the /r/ pronunciationmay pronounce initial /th/ almost like /t/ or /d/, stand on line (instead of in a line) while waiting to buy a huge sandwich they call a hero and may even pronounce Long Island with an inserted /g/ as /long giland/. From the high proportion of New York Yiddish speakers (nearly 40% of all those in the United States in 1990) have come such terms as schlock, schmaltz, and chutzpah.

Serious communication problems have arisen in New York City, especially in the schools, because of the major influx since World War II of Spanish speakers from the Caribbean region, speakers of so-called black English from the South, and, more recently, Asians, in addition to the ever-present large numbers of speakers of other languages. As a result, schools in some areas have emphasized teaching English as a second language.

According to the 2000 census, 72% of all New Yorkers five years of age or older spoke only English at home, down from 76.7% in 1990.

The following table gives selected statistics from the 2000 Census for language spoken at home by persons five years old and over. The category "Other Indic languages" includes Bengali, Marathi, Punjabi, and Romany. The category "Other Indo-European languages" includes Albanian, Gaelic, Lithuanian, and Rumanian. The category "African languages" includes Amharic, Ibo, Twi, Yoruba, Bantu, Swahili, and Somali. The category "Other Asian languages" includes Dravidian languages, Malayalam, Telugu, Tamil, and Turkish. The category "Other Slavic languages" includes Czech, Slovak, and Ukrainian. The category "Other West Germanic languages" includes Dutch, Pennsylvania Dutch, and Afrikaans. The category "Scandinavian languages" includes Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish.

Population 5 years and over17,749,110100.0
  Speak only English12,786,18972.0
  Speak a language other than English4,962,92128.0
Speak a language other than English4,962,92128.0
  Spanish or Spanish Creole2,416,12613.6
  French (incl. Patois, Cajun)180,8091.0
  French Creole114,7470.6
  Other Indic languages97,2120.5
  Other Indo-European languages61,1280.3
  African languages54,2710.3
  Other Asian languages53,4000.3
  Portuguese or Portuguese Creole41,3780.2
  Other Slavic languages39,6190.2
  Other West Germanic languages13,4150.1
  Scandinavian languages11,9740.1


Before the 1800s, Protestant sects dominated the religious life of New York, although religion did not play as large a role in the public life of New Netherland as it did in New England, with its Puritan population. The first Jews were permitted by the Dutch to settle in New Amsterdam in 1654, but their numbers remained small for the next 200 years. Both the Dutch and later the English forbade the practice of Roman Catholicism. Full religious freedom was not permitted until the constitution of 1777, and there was no Roman Catholic church in upstate New York until 1797. During the early 19th century, Presbyterian, Methodist, Universalist, Baptist, and Quaker pioneers carried their faith westward across the state. Many Protestant churches took part enthusiastically in the abolitionist movement, and the blacks who fled northward out of slavery formed their own Protestant churches and church organizations.

For Roman Catholics and Jews, the history of the 19th century is the story of successive waves of immigration: Roman Catholics first from Ireland and Germany, later from Italy and Poland, Jews first from Germany, Austria, and England, later (in vast numbers) from Russia and other Eastern European nations. The Jews who settled in New York City tended to remain there, the Roman Catholic immigrants were more dispersed throughout the state, with a large German and Eastern European group settling in Buffalo. Irish Catholics were the first group to win great political influence, but since World War II, Jews and Italian Catholics have played a leading role, especially in New York City.

As of 2004, New York had 7,761,801 Roman Catholics, representing about 41% of the total population. About 2,521,087 Roman Catholics were members of the New York Archdiocese. In 2000, there were 1,653,870 adherents of Jewish congregations. Membership of leading Protestant denominations in 2000 included United Methodists, 403,362; Episcopalians, 201,797; Presbyterians (USA), 162,227; and Evangelical Lutherans, 169,329. About 39.6% of the population did not specify a religious affiliation.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has reported a fairly strong and steady growth in membership over the past decade. In 1990, membership was reported at 29,997; in 2000 membership grew to 44,987. In 2006, statewide membership was reported at 69,682 in 151 congregations. Three Mormon temples have been established in the state: Harrison (est. 1995), Palmyra (est. 2000), and Manhattan (est. 2004).

Because of diversified immigration, New York City has small percentages but significant numbers of Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, and Orthodox Christians. There were about 223,968 members of Muslim congregations. Though exact membership numbers were not available, there were about 121 Buddhist congregations and 83 Hindu congregations statewide. There is also a wide variety of religious-nationalist sects and cults, including the World Community of Islam in the West, also called the Nation of Islam (Black Muslims), the Hare Krishna group, and the Unification Church of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon.

The National Council of Churches, founded in 1950 and based in New York City, is one of the leading Christian ecumenical organizations in the country, representing over 45 million people in over 100,000 local congregations. The World Council of Churches, the largest international Christian ecumenical organization, has its US offices in New York City. New York City also serves as the home base for a number of national Jewish organizations, including the American Board of Rabbis-Vaad Harabonim of America, the American Jewish Congress, the Rabbinical Council of America, and the American Sephardi Federation. Opus Dei, a conservative Catholic organization with about 87,000 members worldwide, has its US headquarters in New York City; the organization gained controversial attention in 2006 based on its mention in The Da-Vinci Code, a movie and best-selling novel by Dan Brown.


New York City is a major transit point for both domestic and international passenger and freight traffic. The Port of New York and New Jersey is among the nation's busiest harbors; New York City hosts two major airports, Kennedy International and La Guardia, both in Queens. New York City is connected with the rest of the state by an extensive network of good roads, although road and rail transport within the metropolitan region is sagging with age.

The first railroad in New York State was the Mohawk and Hudson, which made its initial trip from Albany to Schenectady on 9 August 1831. A series of short inter-city rail lines, built during the 1830s and 1840s, were united into the New York Central in 1853. Cornelius Vanderbilt gained control of the New York Central in 1867 and by 1873 had connected New York with Chicago. Under Vanderbilt and his son William, rail links were also forged between New York and Boston, Buffalo, Montreal, and western Pennsylvania.

The height of the railroads' power and commercial importance came during the last decades of the 19th century. After World War I, road vehicles gradually replaced the railroads as freight carriers. In 2003, New York had 4,879 mi (7,855 km) of track. In the same year, there were two Class I lines, in addition to two Canadian lines, four regional, 20 local, and seven switching and terminal railroads operating within the state.

The decline in freight business, and the railroads' inability to make up the loss of passenger traffic, led to a series of reorganizations and failures, of which the best known is the merger of the New York Central with the Pennsylvania Railroad, and the subsequent bankruptcy of the Penn Central. Today, much of New York's rail network is operated by either CSX or the Norfolk Southern. The National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) owns and operates lines along the eastern corridor from Boston through New York City to Washington, DC. Regularly scheduled daily trains are operated through New York State, stopping at 25 stations. New York City's Penn Station is the busiest station in the entire Amtrak system. The Long Island Railroad, an important commuter carrier, is run by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), which also operates the New York City subways. Construction of the New York City subway system began in 1900, with service starting on 27 October 1904. The route network is about 230 mi (370 km) long, of which 137 mi (220 km) are underground.

The only other mass-transit rail line in the state is Buffalo's 6.4 mi (10.3 km) light rail system, of which 5.2 mi (8.4 km) is underground. In 1984, regular trolley service resumed in Buffalo for the first time since 1950 on the other 1.2 mi (1.9 km) of track, running through the downtown shopping district. Among cities served by municipal, county, or metropolitan-area bus systems are Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, Elmira, and Syracuse.

In 2004, there were some 11.048 million motor vehicles registered in New York State, including around 8.468 million automobiles, some 25,000 buses, and about 2.386 million trucks of all types. In addition, around 169,000 motorcycles were also registered as of that same year. The state in 2004, had 113,341 mi (182,479 km) of public roads and highways. The major toll road, and the nation's longest toll superhighway, is the Thomas E. Dewey Thruway, operated by the New York State Thruway Authority, which extends 559 mi (900 km) from just outside New York City to Buffalo and the Pennsylvania border in southwestern New York. Toll-free expressways include the Adirondack Northway (I-87), from Albany to the Canadian border, and the North-South Expressway (I-81), from the Canadian to the Pennsylvania border.

A number of famous bridges and tunnels connect the five boroughs of New York City with each other and with New Jersey. The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, opened to traffic in 1964, spans New York Harbor between Brooklyn and Staten Island. Equally famous, and especially renowned for their beauty, are the Brooklyn Bridge (1883), the city's first suspension bridge, and the George Washington Bridge (1931). The Holland (1927) and Lincoln (193757) tunnels under the Hudson River link Manhattan with New Jersey. Important links among the five boroughs include the Triborough Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, Williamsburg Bridge, Queensboro Bridge, Bronx-Whitestone Bridge, Throgs Neck Bridge, Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, and Queens-Midtown Tunnel. The Staten Island Ferry conveys passengers and autos between the borough and lower Manhattan.

Until the early 1800s, almost all the state's trade moved on the Atlantic Ocean, Hudson River, and New York Bay. This waterway transportation system was expanded starting in the 1820s. Off the Hudson, one of the country's major arteries, branched the main elements of the New York Barge Canal System: the Erie Canal, linking the Atlantic with Lake Erie, and New York City with Buffalo; the Oswego Canal, connecting the Erie Canal with Lake Ontario; the Cayuga and Seneca Canal, connecting the Erie Canal with Cayuga and Seneca lakes; and the Champlain Canal, extending the state's navigable waterways from the Hudson to Lake Champlain, and so to Vermont and Quebec Province. By 1872, New York's canal system was carrying over 6 million tons of cargo per year; however, an absolute decline in freight tonnage began after 1890 (the relative decline had begun 40 years earlier, with the rise of the railroads). By the mid-1980s, the canals carried less than 10% of the tonnage for 1880.

Buffalo, on Lake Erie, is the most important inland port. In 2004, it handled 1.592 million tons of cargo. Albany, the major port on the Hudson, handled 7.450 million tons of cargo, and Port Jefferson, on Long Island Sound, handled 2.398 million tons in 2004. In that same year, New York had 394 mi (634 km) of navigable inland waterways. Waterborne shipments in 2003 totaled 99.406 million tons.

It would be difficult to exaggerate the historic and economic importance of New York Harborhaven for explorers, point of entry for millions of refugees and immigrants, and the nation's greatest seaport until recent years, when it was surpassed by Greater New Orleans and Houston in terms of cargo tonnage. Harbor facilities, including those of Bayonne, Jersey City, and Newark, New Jersey, add up to 755 mi (1,215 km) of frontage, with some 700 piers and wharves. The entire port is under the jurisdiction of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. In 2004, it handled 152.377 million tons of cargo. In the mid-1990s, the port was served by 1,000 trucking companies, 80 steamship lines, and 12 intermodal rail terminals.

In 2005, the state of New York had a total of 582 public and private-use aviation-related facilities. This included 397 airports, 167 heliports, and 18 seaplane bases. By far the busiest airports in the state are John F. Kennedy International (18,586,863 passengers enplaned in 2004) and La Guardia (12,312,561 passengers enplaned in 2004), both in New York City, and making them the 8th- and 20th-busiest airports in the United States, respectively. Buffalo Niagara International Airport was the state's largest airport outside of New York City, with 2,206,385 passengers enplaned in 2004.


The region now known as New York State has been inhabited for about 10,000 years. The first Indians probably came across the Bering Strait and most likely reached New York via the Niagara Peninsula. Remains have been found in southwestern New York of the Indians called Mound Builders (for their practice of burying their dead in large mounds), who cultivated food crops and tobacco. The Mound Builders were still living in the state well after ad 1000, although by that time most of New York was controlled by later migrants of the Algonkian linguistic group. These Algonkian tribes included the Mahican in the northeast, the Wappinger in the Hudson Valley and on Long Island, and the Leni-Lenape (or Delaware) of the Delaware Valley.

Indians of the Iroquoian language group invaded the state from the north and west during the early 14th century. In 1570, after European explorers had discovered New York but before the establishment of any permanent European settlements, the main Iroquois tribesthe Onondaga, Oneida, Seneca, Cayuga, and Mohawkestablished the League of the Five Nations. For the next 200 years, members of the League generally kept peace among themselves but made war on other tribes, using not only traditional weapons but also the guns they were able to get from the French, Dutch, and English. In 1715, a sixth nation joined the Leaguethe Tuscarora, who had fled the British in North Carolina. For much of the 18th century, the Iroquois played a skillful role in balancing competing French and British interests.

The first European known to have entered New York Harbor was the Florentine navigator Giovanni da Verrazano, on 17 April 1524. The Frenchman Samuel de Champlain began exploring the St. Lawrence River in 1603. While Champlain was aiding the Huron Indians in their fight against the League in 1609, the English mariner Henry Hudson, in the service of the Dutch East India Company, entered New York Bay and sailed up the river that would later bear his name, reaching about as far as Albany. To the Dutch the area did not look especially promising, and there was no permanent Dutch settlement until 1624, three years after the Dutch West India Company had been founded. The area near Albany was first to be settled. The Dutch were mainly interested in fur trading and agriculture in the colonynamed New Netherlandwas slow to develop. New Amsterdam was founded in 1626, when Director-General Peter Minuit bought Manhattan (from the Indian word manahatin, "hill island") from the Indians for goods worthas tradition has itabout $24.

New Amsterdam grew slowly, and by 1650 had no more than 1,000 people. When the British took over New Netherland in 1664, only 8,000 residents lived in the colony. Already, however, the population was remarkably diverse: there were the Dutch and English, of course, but also French, Germans, Finns, Swedes, and Jews, as well as black slaves from Angola. The Swedes lived in what had been New Sweden, a territory along the Delaware River ceded to the Netherlands during the administration of Peter Stuyvesant. Equally famed for his wooden leg and his hot temper, Stuyvesant had become director general of the New Netherland colony in 1647. Three years later, after skirmishes with the English settlers of New England, the colony gave up all claims to the Connecticut Valley in the Treaty of Hartford.

Though small and weak, New Netherland was an annoyance to the English. The presence of Dutch traders in New York Bay made it difficult for England to enforce its monopolies under the Navigation Acts. Moreover, the Dutch colony was a political barrier between New England and two other English colonies, Maryland and Virginia. So, in 1664, King Charles II awarded "all the land from the west side of the Connecticutte River to the East Side of De La Ware Bay" to his brother, the Duke of York and Albany, the future King James II. The British fleet arrived in New York Bay on 18 August 1664. Stuyvesant wanted to fight, but his subjects refused, and the governor had no choice but to surrender. The English agreed to preserve the Dutch rights of property and inheritance, and to guarantee complete liberty of conscience. Thus New Netherland became New York. It remained an English colony for the next 112 years, except for a period in 1673 when Dutch rule was briefly restored.

The first decades under the English were stormy. After repeated demands from the colonists, a General Assembly was called in 1683. The assembly adopted a Charter of Liberties and Privileges, but the document, approved by James before his coronation, was revoked after he became king in 1685. The assembly itself was dissolved in 1686, and James II acted to place New York under the dominion of New England. The plan was aborted by the Glorious Revolution of 1688, when James was forced to abdicate. Power in New York fell to Jacob Leisler, a German merchant with local backing. Leisler ruled until 1691, when a new royal governor arrived and had Leisler hanged for treason.

The succeeding decades were marked by conflict between the English and French and by the rising power of the provincial assembly in relations with the British crown. As early as 1690, a band of 150 Frenchmen and 100 Indians attacked and burned Schenectady. New York contributed men and money to campaign against the French in Canada in 1709 and 1711 (during Queen Anne's War) and in 1746 (during King George's War). In 1756, the English determined to drive the French out of the region once and for all. After some early reverses, the English defeated the French in 1760. The Treaty of Paris (1763), ending the French and Indian War, ceded all territory east of the Mississippi to England, except for New Orleans and two islands in the mouth of the St. Lawrence River. The Iroquois, their power weakened during the course of the war, signed treaties giving large areas of their land to the New York colony.

The signing of the Treaty of Paris was followed by English attempts to tighten control over the colonies, in New York as elsewhere. New York merchants vehemently protested the Sugar Act and Stamp Act, and the radical Sons of Liberty made their first appearance in the colony in October 1765. Later, in 1774, after Paul Revere brought news of the Boston Tea Party to New York City, British tea was also dumped into that city's harbor. Nevertheless, New York hesitated before committing itself to independence. The colony's delegates to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia were not permitted by the Third Provincial Congress in New York to vote either for or against the Declaration of Independence on 4 July 1776. The Fourth Provincial Congress, meeting at White Plains, did ratify the Declaration five days later. On 6 February 1778, New York became the second state to ratify the Articles of Confederation.

Nearly one-third of all battles during the Revolutionary War took place on New York soil. The action there began when troops under Ethan Allen captured Fort Ticonderoga in May 1775, and Seth Warner and his New England forces took Crown Point. Reverses came in 1776, however, when George Washington's forces were driven from Long Island and Manhattan by the British; New York City was to remain in British hands for the rest of the war. Troops commanded by British General John Burgoyne recaptured Ticonderoga in July 1777, but were defeated in October at Saratoga, in a battle that is often considered the turning point of the war. In 1778, General Washington made his headquarters at West Point, which General Benedict Arnold tried unsuccessfully to betray to the British in 1780. Washington moved his forces to New-burgh in 1782, and marched into New York City on 25 November 1785, the day the British evacuated their forces. On 4 December, he said farewell to his officers at Fraunces Tavern in lower Manhattan, a landmark that still stands.

Even as war raged, New York State adopted its first constitution on 20 April 1777. The constitution provided for an elected governor and house of assembly, but the franchise was limited to property holders. The first state capital was Kingston, but the capital was moved to Albany in January 1797. After much debate, in which the Federalist Alexander Hamilton played a leading role, the state ratified the US Constitution (with amendments) on 26 July 1788. New York City served as the seat of the US government from 11 January 1785 to 12 August 1790, and the first US president, George Washington, was inaugurated in the city on 30 April 1789.

George Clinton was the state's first elected governor, serving from 1777 to 1795 and again from 1801 to 1804. The achievements under his governorship were considerable. Commerce and agriculture expanded, partly because of Clinton's protectionist policies and partly because of the state's extremely favorable geographical situation.

The end of the War of 1812 signaled the opening of an era of unprecedented economic expansion for the state. By this time, the Iroquois were no longer a threat (most had sided with the British during the Revolutionary War, and many later fled to Canada). Migrants from New England were flocking to the state, which the census of 1810 showed was the most populous in the country. Small wonder that New York was the site of the early 19th century's most ambitious engineering project: construction of the Erie Canal. Ground was broken for the canal in 1817, during the first term of Governor De Witt Clinton, the nephew of George Clinton; the first vessels passed through the completed canal in 1825.

Actually, New York had emerged as the nation's leading commercial center before the canal was even started. The textile industry had established itself by the mid-1820s, and the dairy industry was thriving. The effects of the canal were felt most strongly in foreign tradeby 1831, 50% of US imports and 27% of US exports passed through the stateand in the canal towns of Utica, Syracuse, Rochester, and Buffalo, where business boomed.

Commercial progress during this period was matched by social and cultural advancement. New York City became a center of literary activity during the 1820s, and by the 1840s was already the nation's theatrical capital. A new state constitution drafted in 1821 established universal white male suffrage, but retained the property qualifications for blacks. Slavery was abolished as of 4 July 1827 (few slaves actually remained in the state by this time), and New Yorkers soon took the lead in the growing antislavery movement. The first women's rights convention in the United States was held in Seneca Falls in 1848though women would have to wait until 1917 before winning the right to vote in state elections. Also during the 1840s, the state saw the first of several great waves of European immigration. The Irish and Germans were the earliest major arrivals during the 19th century, but before World War I they would be joinednot always amicablyby Italians and European Jews.

New Yorkers voted for Abraham Lincoln in the presidential election of 1860 and were among the readiest recruits to the Union side. Enthusiasm for the conflict diminished during the next two years, however. When the military draft reached New York City on 11 July 1863, the result was three days of rioting in which blacks were lynched and the homes of prominent abolitionists were burned. But New York was not a wartime battleground, and overall the war and Reconstruction were very good for business.

The decades after the Civil War ushered in an era of extraordinary commercial growth and political corruption. This was the Gilded Age, during which entrepreneurs became multimillionaires and New York was transformed from an agricultural state to an industrial giant. In 1860, the leading manufactures in the state were flour and meal, men's clothing, refined sugar, leather goods, liquor, and lumber; 90 years later, apparel, printing and publishing, food, machinery, chemicals, fabricated metal products, electrical machinery, textiles, instruments, and transportation equipment had became the dominant industries.

The key to this transformation was the development of the railroads. The boom period for railroad construction started in the 1850s and reached its high point after 1867, when "Commodore" Cornelius Vanderbilt, who had been a steamboat captain in 1818, took over the New York Central. During the 1860s, native New Yorkers like Jay Gould and Russell Sage made their fortunes through investment and speculation. Especially during the century's last two decades, corporate names that became household words began to emerge: Westinghouse Electric in 1886, General Electric (as Edison Electric) in 1889, Eastman Kodak in 1892. In 1882, another native New Yorker, John D. Rockefeller, formed the Standard Oil Trust; although the trust would eventually be broken up, the Rockefeller family would help shape New York politics for many decades to come.

The period immediately following the Civil War also marked a new high in political influence for the Tammany Society (or "Tammany Hall"), founded in 1789 as an anti-Federalist organization. From 1857 until his exposure by the press in 1871, Democrat William March "Boss" Tweed ruled Tammany and effectively dominated New York City by dispersing patronage, buying votes, and bribing legislators and judges. Tammany went into temporary eclipse after the Tweed Ring was broken up, and Republicans swept the state in 1872. The first result was a series of constitutional changes, including one abolishing the requirement that blacks hold property in order to vote. A new constitution approved in 1894, and effective in 1895, remains the basic law of New York State today.

During the Union's first 100 years, New York's political life had projected into national prominence such men as Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, George and De Witt Clinton, Martin Van Buren, and Millard Fillmore. The state's vast populationNew York held more electoral votes than any other state between 1812 and 1972coupled with its growing industrial and financial power, enhanced the prestige of state leaders during the nation's second century. Grover Cleveland, though born in New Jersey, became mayor of Buffalo, then governor of New York, and finally the 22d US president in 1885. Theodore Roosevelt was governor of New York, then became vice president and finally president of the United States in 1901. In 1910, Charles Evans Hughes resigned the governorship to become an associate justice of the US Supreme Court; he also served as secretary of state, and in 1930 was appointed chief justice of the United States. By the 1920s, Tammany had rebounded from the Tweed Ring breakup and from another scandal during the 1890s to reach its peak of prestige: Alfred E. Smith, a longtime member of Tammany, as well as an able and popular official, was four times elected governor and in 1928 became the first Roman Catholic candidate to be nominated by a major party for the presidency of the United States. That year saw the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt as governor of New York.

The 1930s, a period of depression, ushered in a new wave of progressive government. From 1933 until 1945, FDR was in the White House. Roosevelt's successor in the statehouse was Herbert H. Lehman, whose Little New Deal established the basic pattern of present state social welfare policies that had begun on a much more modest scale during Smith's administration. The Fusion mayor of New York City at this timepropelled into office by yet another wave of exposure of Tammany corruptionwas the colorful and popular Fiorello H. La Guardia.

The decades following World War II saw extraordinary expansion of New York social services, including construction of the state university system, but also an erosion of the state's industrial base. Fiscal crises were not new to the statereformers in the 1920s railed against New York City's "spendthrift" policiesbut the greatly increased scale of government in the 1970s made the fiscal crisis of 1975 unprecedented in its scope and implications. The city's short-term debt grew from virtually zero to about $6 billion between 1970 and 1975, although its government reported consistently balanced budgets. Eventually a package totaling $4.5 billion in aid was needed to avoid bankruptcy. The decreasing pace of population and industrial growth during the 1950s and 1960s, and the decline during the 1970s, also led to a dimming of New York's political fortunes. The single dominant political figure in New York after World War II, Nelson A. Rockefeller (governor, 195873), tried and failed three times to win the Republican presidential nomination before his appointment to the vice-presidency in 1974. Unable to overcome the hostility of his party's conservative wing, he was not renominated for the vice-presidency in 1976. In 1984, however, US Representative Geraldine Ferraro of Queens was the Democratic Party's vice-presidential standard-bearer, and Governor Mario M. Cuomo emerged as an influential Democratic spokesman. After serving for 12 years, Cuomo was replaced in 1995 by State Senator George Pataki, the first Republican elected New York governor since 1970.

From the late 1970s through the late 1980s, New York enjoyed an economic boom, particularly in finance, insurance, real estate and construction. The state budget increased in constant dollars by 20%. While much of that increase compensated for cuts in federal aid to states and was directed at education, municipalities, schools and prisons, some went to meet new needs such as homelessness and AIDS victims. Prosperity did not reach all sectors of the economy or the population, however. In 1984, 25% of the residents of New York City lived below the poverty line. The collapse of the stock market in October of 1987, in which the market plunged 36% in two months, not only forced a retrenchment on Wall Street but also signaled the end of the boom and the beginning of a recession that was quite severe in New York, exacerbated by the curtailment of federal funding by the Reagan and Bush administrations. Unemployment peaked in 1992, and by 1994 a recovery was under way.

The boom economy of the late 1990s boosted Wall Street, with the bulls dominating the stock market despite some historic losses, particularly in the technology sector, which analysts later categorized as "market corrections." In 1998 New York had the fourth-highest per capita income in the nation ($31,679) but it also had more people living below the poverty level than 45 other states, again indicating prosperity had not reached into all sectors.

The 1990s witnessed the settlement of the lawsuits surrounding Love Canal in Buffalo, where leaking chemical wastes in the 1970s and early 1980s had prompted the state and federal governments to pay to move families from the area. In the largest legal settlement in New York's history, in 1994 Occidental Petroleum Corp. agreed to pay $98 million in damages for the dumping of hazardous wastes at Love Canal, ending 16 years of litigation.

The state, which dropped from the nation's second to third most populous in 1994, retained the ranking in 2005. According to Census Bureau estimates, the state had over 19 million people in 2005surpassed only by California and Texas. New York's Hispanic population in 2003 was estimated to be roughly the same in number as its African American population (African Americans 15.9%; Hispanics 15.1%).

In mid-1999, in the midst of a budget impasse in the state legislature, the government determined it would sell state facilities. A resulting deal, reached in 2000, saw the state selling two nuclear plants for a total asking price of $967 million. It was the largest privatization of state assets in New York history.

Transportation in and around New York City was the focus of the statehouse and legislature in 2000. Governor George Pataki and New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman, a fellow Republican, had squared off over issues surrounding the Port Authority, which the states jointly control. The governors resolved their differences in June 2000. They cleared the way for the construction of a $200-million cargo hub for the world's largest ocean carrier (Maersk Sealand) and reopened the possibility that the World Trade Center, which the Port Authority still controlled, could be turned over to a private developer. Meanwhile, lawmakers heard arguments for and against a proposed $17-billion project to be undertaken by the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA). Advocates argued the public works plan, which would result in the largest sale of municipal bonds in US history, was necessary to build a new generation of subways, buses, and trains to serve the greater New York area. Opponents believed the project would pose disaster for the MTA, burying the agency under a mountain of debt and rendering it unable to maintain the existing transportation systems.

New York City was one site of the nation's terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001, when hijackers from the al-Qaeda terrorist organization flew two passenger airliners into the North and South Towers of the World Trade Center, destroying them. Another aircraft hit the Pentagon building in Washington, DC, and a fourth crashed into a field in Stony Creek Township, Pennsylvania. Approximately 3,000 people had died, were missing, or presumed dead as a result of the attacks. The city and the nation went into a long period of mourning. New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani was praised for his effective handling of the crisis.

Berlin-based architect Daniel Libeskind's design for rebuilding "Ground Zero" (the site of the demolished World Trade Center) was accepted in 2003; New Yorkers had expressed dissatisfaction with the original designs, which were thought to be uninspiring. Libeskind's design features a complex of angular towers and a spire that would be among the world's tallest structures.

New York was one of the states affected by the 14 August 2003 massive power blackout in Canada, the Northeast and Midwestern states. The largest electrical outage in US history affected 9,300 square miles and a population of over 50 million.

Following the decline of the stock market on Wall Street and the US recession in the early 2000s, New York in 2003 was plagued with economic woes. The state faced a budget deficit of $10 billion that year. Although the economy began to improve in 2004 and 2005, the state still faced a budget gap of $4.2 billion in 200506. In 2004, New York had the fifth-highest per capita personal income in the nation, at $38,228, behind Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. The poverty rate for New York in 200304 was 14.6%, above the national rate of 12.6% (measured as a two-year average).


New York has had four constitutions, adopted in 1777, 1822, 1846, and 1895. The 1895 constitution was extensively revised in 1938, and the basic structure of state government has not changed since then, although the document had been amended 216 times by January 2005. In 1993 the Temporary State Commission on Constitutional Revision was created in anticipation of a referendum on a constitutional convention in 1997.

The legislature consists of a 62-member Senate and 150-member assembly. Senators and assembly members serve two-year terms and are elected in even-numbered years. Each house holds regular annual sessions, which begin in January and are not formally limited in length; special sessions may be called by the governor or initiated by petition of two-thirds of the membership of each body. All legislators must be at least 18 years old, US citizens, and must have been residents of the state for at least five years and residents of their districts for at least one year prior to election. The legislative salary was $79,500 in 2004, unchanged from 1999.

Either senators or assembly members may introduce or amend a bill; the governor may introduce a budget bill. To pass, a bill requires a majority vote in both houses; a two-thirds majority (of the elected members in each house) is required to override the governor's veto. If the governor neither signs nor vetoes a bill, it becomes law after 10 days, as long as the legislature is in session.

The state's only elected executives are the governor, lieutenant governor, comptroller, and attorney general. Each serves a four-year term. The governor and lieutenant governor are jointly elected; there is no limit to the number of terms they may serve. The governor must be at least 25 years old, a US citizen, and a resident of the state for at least one year prior to the date of election. The lieutenant governor is next in line for the governorship (should the governor be unable to complete his term in office) and presides over the Senate. As of December 2004, the governor's salary was $179,000, unchanged from 1999.

The governor appoints the heads of most of the major executive departments, with some of the appointments requiring the advice and consent of the Senate. The exceptions are the comptroller and attorney general, who are elected by the voters; the commissioner of education, who is named by the Regents of the University of the State of New York; the commissioner of social services, elected by the Board of Social Services; and the chief of the Executive Department, which the governor heads ex officio.

A bill becomes law when passed by both houses of the legislature and signed by the governor. While the legislature is in session,

New York Presidential Vote by Political Parties, 19482004
*Won US presidential election.
1 Supported Democratic candidate except in 1980, when John Anderson ran on the Liberal line.
2 Ran in the state at the American Labor Party.
3 Appeared on the state ballot as the Courage party.
4 Supported Republican candidate.
5 IND. candidate Ross Perot received 1,090,721 votes in 1992 and 503,458 votes in 1996.
194847Dewey (R)2,557,642222,5622,841,163509,55940,8792,675
195245*Eisenhower (R)2,687,890416,7113,952,81564,2112,6642,212
195645*Eisenhower (R)2,458,212292,5574,340,340
196045*Kennedy (D)3,423,909406,1763,446,41914,319
196443*Johnson (D)4,570,670342,4322,243,5596,1183,228
196843Humphrey (D)3,066,848311,6223,007,932358,8648,43211,85124,517
197241*Nixon (R)2,767,956183,1283,824,642368,1364,5307,7975,641
197641*Carter (D)3,244,165145,3932,825,9132,724,87812,1976,99610,270
198041*Reagan (R)2,728,372467,8012,637,700256,13152,64824,15923,186
198436*Reagan (R)3,001,285118,3243,376,519288,24411,9494,226
198836Dukakis (D)3,255,48792,3952,838,414243,45712,10915,84520,497
1992522*Clinton (D)3,346,89497,5562,041,690177,00013,45115,47211,318
1996533*Clinton (D)3,649,630106,5471,738,707183,39212,22011,39375,956
200033Gore (D)3,942,21577,0872,258,877144,7977,649244,030
200431Kerry (D)4,314,280872,962,56720711,6072,40599,873

a bill may also become law if the governor fails to act on it within 10 days of its receipt. The governor may veto a bill or, if the legislature has adjourned, may kill a bill simply by taking no action on it for 30 days.

A proposed amendment to the state constitution must receive majority votes in both houses of the legislature during two successive sessions. Amendments so approved are put on the ballot in November and adopted or rejected by majority vote. The constitution also provides that the voters must be permitted every 20 years to decide whether a convention should be called to amend the present constitution. Voters in New York must be US citizens, at least 18 years old, residents of the county (or New York City) for 30 days prior to election day, and unable to claim the right to vote elsewhere. Restrictions apply to convicted felons and those declared mentally incompetent by the court.


In addition to the Democratic and Republican parties, the major political groups, there has always been a profusion of minor parties in New York, some of which have significantly influenced the outcomes of national and state elections.

Party politics in the state crystallized into their present form around 1855. Up to that time, a welter of parties and factionsincluding such short-lived groups as the Anti-Masons, Bucktails, Clintonians, Hunkers, and Barnburners (split into Hardshell and Softshell Democrats), Know-Nothings (Native American Party), Wooly Heads and Silver-Grays (factions of the Whigs), and the Liberty Partyjockeyed for power in New York State.

Roughly speaking, the Democratic Party evolved out of the Democratic Republican factions of the old Republican Party and had become a unified party by the 1850s. The Democratic power base wasand has remainedthe big cities, especially New York City. The most important big-city political machine from the 1860s through the 1950s, except for a few brief periods, was the Tammany Society ("Tammany Hall"). Tammany controlled the Democratic Party in New York City and, through that party, the city itself.

The Republican Party in New York State emerged in 1855 as the heir of the Whigs, the Liberty Party, and the Softshell Democratic faction. The Republican Party's power base includes the state's rural counties, the smaller cities and towns, and (though not so much in the 1970s and early 1980s as in earlier decades) the New York City suburbs. Although New York Republicans stand to the right of the Democrats on social issues, they have usually been well to the left of the national Republican Party. The liberal "internationalist" strain of Republicanism was personified during the 1960s by Governor Nelson Rockefeller, US Senator Jacob Javits, and New York City Mayor John V. Lindsay (who later became a Democrat).

The disaffection of more conservative Republicans and Democrats within the state led to the formation of the Conservative Party in 1963. At first intended as a device to exert pressure on the state Republican establishment, the Conservative Party soon became a power in its own right, electing a US senator, James Buckley, in 1970. Its power decreased in the late 1970s as the Republican Party embraced some of its positions. The Conservative Party has its left-wing counterpart in the Liberal Party, which was formed in 1944 by dissidents in the American Labor Party who claimed the ALP was Communist-influenced. Tied strongly to labor interests, the Liberals have normally supported the national Democratic ticket. Their power, however, has waned considerably in recent years.

Minor parties have sometimes meant the difference between victory and defeat for major party candidates in state and national elections. The Liberal Party line provided the victory margin in the state, and therefore the nation, for Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kennedy in 1960. Other significant, though not victorious, minor-party presidential candidates have included the American Labor Party with Henry Wallace in 1948 (8% of the vote), the Courage Party with George Wallace in 1968 (5%), and the Liberal Party with John Anderson in 1980 (7%). Among radical parties, the Socialists qualified for the presidential ballot continuously between 1900 and 1952, reaching a peak of 203,201 votes (7% of the total) in 1920.

Democrat Mario M. Cuomo was defeated in his run for a fourth term as governor in November 1994 by Republican George Pataki; Pataki was elected to a third term in 2002. In 2003 New York's US senators were Democrat Charles Schumer, elected to his first term in 1998 to succeed three-term Republican Alphonse D'Amato was reelected in 2004, and Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton, first elected in 2000. Following the 2004 elections, New York's US representatives included 20 Democrats and 9 Republicans. Republicans held 35 seats in the state Senate while Democrats held 27. In the State Assembly there were 105 Democrats and 45 Republicans.

In the November 1980 presidential elections, Republican nominee Ronald Reagan (with Conservative Party backing) won the state's then-41 electoral votes, apparently because John Anderson, running in New York State on the Liberal Party line, siphoned enough votes from the Democratic incumbent, Jimmy Carter, to give Reagan a plurality. Reagan carried the state again in 1984, despite the presence on the Democratic ticket of US Representative Geraldine Ferraro of Queens as the running mate of Walter Mondale; Ferraro was the first woman candidate for president or vice president on a major party ticket. New Yorkers chose Democratic nominees Michael Dukakis and Bill Clinton in 1988 and 1992, respectively, and Clinton again won the state in 1996. In the 2000 presidential election, Democrat Al Gore won 60% of the vote to Republican George W. Bush's 35%; Green Party candidate Ralph Nader garnered 4% of the vote. In 2004, Democratic challenger John Kerry won 57.8% to incumbent George W. Bush's 40.5%. In 2004 there were 11,837,000 registered voters. In 1998, 47% of registered voters were Democratic, 29% Republican, and 24% unaffiliated or members of other parties. The state had 31 electoral votes in the 2004 presidential election, a loss of 2 votes over the 2000 election.

In November 1993, New York City mayor David Dinkins, a Democrat and New York's first black mayor, who had served since 1990, was defeated by Republican Rudolph Giuliani. Giuliani was legally barred from seeking a third term, and billionaire media tycoon Michael Bloomberg won the mayoral contest in 2001; Bloomberg was reelected in 2005.


The state constitution, endorsing the principle of home rule, recognizes many different levels of local government. In 2005, New York had 62 counties, 616 municipal governments, 703 public school districts, and 1,135 special districts. In 2002, there were 929 townships.

Cities are contained within counties, with one outstanding exception: New York City is made up of five counties, one for each of its five boroughs. Traditionally, counties are run by an elected board of supervisors or county legislature; however, a growing number of counties have vested increased powers in a single elected county executive. With the exception of some counties within New York City, each county has a county attorney and district attorney, sheriff, fiscal officer (treasurer), county clerk, and commissioner of social services.

Towns are run by a town board; the town supervisor is the board's presiding officer and acts as town treasurer. A group of people within a town or towns may also incorporate themselves into a village, with their own elected mayor and elected board of trustees. Some villages have administrators or managers. Members of the village remain members of the town, and must pay taxes to both jurisdictions. The constitution grants the state legislature the power to decide which taxes the local governments may levy and how much debt they may incur.

New York City is governed by a mayor and city council, but much practical power resides in the Board of Estimate. On this board sit the city's three top elected officialsthe mayor, comptroller, and city council president. The board also includes the five borough presidents, elected officials who represent (and, to a limited extent, govern) each of the five boroughs. New York City gov-ernment is further complicated by the fact that certain essential services are provided not by the city itself but by independent "authorities." The special district of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, for example, operates New York Harbor, sets interstate bridge and tunnel tolls, and supervises the city's bus and air terminals; it is responsible not to the mayor but to the governors of New York and New Jersey. Similarly, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which controls the city's subways and some of its commuter rail lines, is an independent agency responsible to the state rather than the city.

In 2005, local government accounted for about 938,753 full-time (or equivalent) employment positions.


To address the continuing threat of terrorism and to work with the federal Department of Homeland Security, homeland security in New York operates under state statute; the homeland security director is designated as the state homeland security advisor.

Educational services are provided through the Education Department. Under this department's jurisdiction are the State Library, the State Museum, the State Archives, the New York State School for the Blind at Batavia, and the New York State School for the Deaf at Rome. The Education Department also issues licenses for 38 professions, including architecture, engineering and land surveying, massage, pharmacy, public accountancy, social work, and various medical specialties. The state university system is administered by a separate agency headed by a chancellor.

Transportation services are under the direction of the Department of Transportation, which has responsibility for highways, aviation, mass transit, railroads, water transport, transportation safety, and intrastate rate regulation. The Department of Motor Vehicles licenses all road vehicles, motor vehicle dealers, motor vehicle operators, and driving schools.

Human services are provided through several state departments. Among the programs and facilities operated by the Department of Health are three research and treatment facilities; the New York State Veterans' Home at Oxford, Roswell Park Memorial Institute at Buffalo, and Helen Hayes Hospital at West Haverstraw. The state provides care for the mentally ill, retarded, and alcoholics and other substance-dependent persons through the Office of Mental Health, the Office of Mental Retardation and Development Disabilities, and the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services. The Office of Mental Health maintains psychiatric centers and developmental centers for developmental disabilities. The Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance within the Department of Family Assistance supervises and sets standards for locally administered public and private welfare and health programs, including Food Stamps and TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families). The Office of Children and Family Services, also within the Department of Family Assistance, has special responsibilities for the blind and visually handicapped and over Indian affairs. Other human services are provided through the Division of Veterans' Affairs, the Division of Human Rights, and the Office for the Aging, all within the Executive Department.

Public protection services include state armed forces, corrections, and consumer protection. Included within the Division of Military and Naval Affairs, in the Executive Department, are the Army National Guard, Air National Guard, Naval Militia, and New York Guard. The Division of State Police operates within the Executive Department, while prisons are administered by the separate Department of Correctional Services. The State Consumer Protection Board (Executive Department) coordinates the consumer protection activities of the various agencies and departments. The major legal role in consumer protection is played by the attorney general.

Housing services are provided through the Division of Housing and Community Renewal of the Executive Department, and through the quasi-independent New York State Housing Finance Agency/State of New York Mortgage Agency. The Department of State serves as a keeper of records and licensing agency, as well as serving the financial, corporate, and legal community. The Governor's office has a Women's Advisory.

Natural resources protection services are centralized in the Department of Environmental Conservation. The administration of the state park and recreation system is carried out by the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, in the Executive Department. The Department of Agriculture and Markets serves the interests of farmers and also administers the state's Pure Food Law. Energy is the province of the Department of Public Service. The quasi-independent Power Authority of the State of New York finances, builds, and operates electricity-generating and transmission facilities.

The Department of Labor provides most labor services for the state. Its responsibilities include occupational health and safety, human resource development and allocation, administration of unemployment insurance and other benefit programs, and maintenance of labor standards, including enforcement of minimum wage and other labor laws. The Employment Relations Board tries to settle labor disputes and prevent work stoppages.


New York's highest court is the Court of Appeals in Albany, with appellate jurisdiction only. The Court of Appeals consists of a chief judge and six associate judges, appointed by the governor and approved by the Senate for 14-year terms. Below the Court of Appeals is the state's Supreme Court, with nearly 570 justices in 12 judicial districts. The Supreme Court of New York State does not sit as one body, instead most supreme court justices are assigned original jurisdiction in civil and criminal matters, while 56 justices are assigned to the appellate division of supreme court and 15 to appellate terms of supreme court. Supreme Court justices are elected by district and serve 14-year terms.

The New York Court of Claims sits in Albany, with judges appointed by the governor to nine-year terms, along with judges sitting as acting Supreme Court justices in felony trials. This special trial court hears civil cases involving claims by or against the state.

Outside New York City, each county has its own county court to handle criminal cases, although some are delegated to be handled by lower courts. County court judges are elected to 10-year terms. Many counties have a surrogate's court to handle such matters as wills and estates; surrogates are elected to 10-year terms except in New York City counties, where they are elected to 14-year terms. Each county has its own family court. In New York City, judges are appointed by the mayor for 10-year terms; elsewhere they are elected for 10 years. A county's district attorney has authority in criminal matters. Most cities (including New York City) have their own court systems; in New York City, the mayor appoints judges of city criminal and family courts. Village police justices and town justices of the peace handle minor violations and other routine matters.

The Department of Correctional Services maintains correctional facilities throughout the state, as well as regional parole offices. As of 31 December 2004, a total of 63,751 prisoners were held in New York's state and federal prisons, a decrease from 65,198 of 2.2% from the previous year. As of year-end 2004, a total of 2,789 inmates were female, down from 2,914 or 4.3% from the year before. Among sentenced prisoners (one year or more), New York had an incarceration rate of 331 per 100,000 population in 2004.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York in 2004, had a violent crime rate (murder/nonnegligent manslaughter; forcible rape; robbery; aggravated assault) of 441.6 reported incidents per 100,000 population, or a total of 84,914 reported incidents. Crimes against property (burglary; larceny/theft; and motor vehicle theft) in that same year totaled 422,734 reported incidents or 2,198.6 reported incidents per 100,000 people. In 1995, the state instituted a new death penalty statute, of which lethal injection was the sole method of execution. However, on 24 June, 2004 New York's death penalty statute was declared unconstitutional. The last execution in the state took place in 1963. As of 1 January 2006, only one inmate remained on the state's death row.

In 2003, New York spent $4,309,416,130 on homeland security, an average of $236 per state resident.


The US Military Academy at West Point was founded in 1802. In 2004, there were 22,714 active-duty military personnel and 11,409 civilian personnel stationed in New York, more than half of whom were at Fort Drum. In 2004, New York firms received more than $5.2 billion in defense contracts. In addition, defense spending outlays, including retires military pay, were $2.4 billion.

In 2003, there were 1,711,900 veterans of US military service in the state. The statistics for living veterans of wartime service were as follows: World War II, 212,726; Korea, 159,501; Vietnam era, 337,162; and 129,275 from the Persian Gulf War. For the fiscal year 2004, total Veterans Affairs expenditures in New York exceeded $3.1 billion.

As of 31 October 2004, the New York State Police employed 4,659 sworn officers.


Since the early 1800s, New York has been the primary port of entry for Europeans coming to the United States. The Statue of Libertydedicated in 1886 and beckoning "your tired, your poor, / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free" to the shores of Americawas often the immigrants' first glimpse of America. The first stop for some 20 million immigrants in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was Ellis Island, where they were processed, often given Americanized names, and sent onward to an uncertain future.

The first great wave of European immigrants arrived in the 1840s, impelled by the potato famine in Ireland. By 1850, New York City had 133,730 Irish-born inhabitants, and by 1890, 409,224. Although smaller in number, German immigration during this period was more widespread; during the 1850s, German-speaking people were the largest foreign-born group in Rochester and Buffalo, and by 1855 about 30,000 of Buffalo's 74,000 residents were German.

The next two great waves of European immigrationEastern European Jews and Italiansoverlapped. Vast numbers of Jews began arriving from Eastern Europe during the 1880s, by which time some 80,000 German-speaking Jews were already living in New York City. By 1910, the Jewish population of the city was about 1,250,000, growing to nearly 2,000,000 by the mid-1920s. The flood of Italians began during the 1800s, when the Italian population of New York City increased from 75,000 to more than 200,000; in 1950, nearly 500,000 Italian-born immigrants were living in the state. Migration from the 1840s onward followed a cyclical pattern: as one group dispersed from New York City throughout the state and the nation, it was replaced by a new wave of immigrants.

Yankees from New England made up the first great wave of domestic migration. Most of the migrants who came to New York between l790 and 1840 were Yankees; it has been estimated that by 1850, 52,000 natives of Vermont (20% of that state's population) had become residents of New York. There was a slow, steady migration of African Americans from slave states to New York before the Civil War, but massive black migration to New York, and especially to New York City, began during World War I and continued well into the 1960s. The third great wave of domestic migration came after World War II, from Puerto Rico. Nearly 40,000 Puerto Ricans settled in New York City in 1946, and 58,500 in 195253. By 1960, the census showed well over 600,000 New Yorkers of Puerto Rican birth or parentage. As of 1990, Puerto Rican-born New Yorkers numbered 143,974. Nearly 41,800 state residents in 1990 had lived in Puerto Rico in 1985. Many other Caribbean nativesespecially Dominicans, Jamaicans, and Haitiansfollowed. In 1996, there were a reported 3,232,000 state residents who were foreign-born (about 17% of the state's population). In 1998, 96,559 foreign immigrants entered New York, the second-highest total of any state (surpassed only by California) and over 15% of the total immigration for that year.

The fourth and most recent domestic migratory trend is unique in New York historythe net outward migration from New York to other states. During the 1960s, New York suffered a net loss of more than 100,000 residents through migration; between 1970 and 1980, the estimated net loss was probably in excess of 1,500,000, far greater than that in any other state: probably 80% of the migration was from New York City. From 1980 to 1990, net loss from migration exceeded 340,000. Between 1990 and 1998, New York had a net loss of 1,722,000 in domestic migration. These general estimates hide a racial movement of historic proportions: during the 1960s, while an estimated net total of 638,000 whites were moving out of the state, 396,000 blacks were moving in; during 197075, according to Census Bureau estimates, 701,000 whites left New York, while 60,000 blacks were arriving. According to a private study, a net total of 700,000 whites and 50,000 blacks left the state during 197580. It appears that many of the white emigrants went to suburban areas of New Jersey and Connecticut, but many also went to two Sunbelt states, Florida and California. Overwhelmingly, the black arrivals came from the South. During the 1980s, the black population of the New York City area in-creased by 16.4%. By 1997, blacks comprised 19.4% of the New York City area's total population.

Intrastate migration has followed the familiar pattern of rural to urban, urban to suburban. In 1790, the state was 88% rural; the rural population grew in absolute terms (though not as a percentage of the total state population) until the 1880s when the long period of decline began. New York's farm population decreased by 21% during the 1940s, 33% during the 1950s, 38% during the 1960s, and 49% during the 1970s. By 1990, 84% of all New Yorkers lived in urban areas; by 1996, 91.8%. Meanwhile, the suburban population has grown steadily. In 1950, 3,538,620 New Yorkers (24% of the state total) lived in suburbs; by 1980, this figure had grown to 7,461,161 (42% of all state residents). It should be remembered, of course, that this more than doubling of the suburban population reflects natural increase and direct migration from other states and regions, as well as the intrastate migratory movement from central cities to suburbs. Between 1990 and 1998, New York's overall population only increased by 1%.

In the period 200005, net international migration was 667,007 and net internal migration was 1,001,100, for a net loss of 334,093 people.


New York State is a member of the Council of State Governments and its allied organizations. The state participates in many interstate regional commissions (and in commissions with the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec). Among the more active interstate commissions are the Appalachian Regional Commission, Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, Delaware River Basin Commission, Great Lakes Commission, Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission, Northeastern Forest Fire Protection Commission, and the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission. In 1985, New York joined seven other Great Lakes states and two Canadian provinces in the Great Lakes Charter, for the purpose of protecting the lakes' water reserves.

The three most important interstate bodies for the New York metropolitan area are the Palisades Interstate Park Commission, Interstate Sanitation Commission, and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The Palisades Interstate Park Commission was founded in 1900 (with New Jersey) in order to preserve the natural beauty of the Palisades region. The Interstate Sanitation Commission (with New Jersey and Connecticut; established in 1961) monitors and seeks to control pollution within the tri-state Interstate Sanitation District. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, created in 1921 and the most powerful of the three, is a public corporation with the power to issue its own bonds. Its vast holdings include 4 bridges, 2 tunnels, 5 airports and heliports, 2 motor vehicle terminals, 6 marine terminals, the trans-Hudson rapid transit system, an industrial park in the Bronx, and the 110-story twin-towered World Trade Center in lower Manhattan, until it was destroyed in 2001. Bridge compacts include those on the Buffalo and Fort Erie bridge, the Ogdensburg bridge and port, and the Canada and New York International bridge. Other compacts include the New York-Connecticut Railroad Service, and the Susquehanna River Basin Compact (with Maryland and Pennsylvania). Federal grants to New York state and local governments totaled $38.313 billion in fiscal year 2005, higher than any other state except California. In fiscal year 2006, New York received an estimated $40.606 billion in federal grants, and an estimated $41.817 billion in fiscal year 2007.


From the Civil War through the 1950s, New York State led the nation in just about every category by which an economy can be measured. In the colonial and early national periods, New York was a leading wheat-growing state. When the wheat crop declined, dairying and lumbering became the state's mainstays. New York then emerged as the national leader in wholesaling, retailing, and manufacturingand remained so well into the 1960s.

By 1973, however, the state was running neck and neck with California by most output measures, or had already been surpassed. The total labor force, the number of workers in manufacturing, and the number of factories all declined during the 1960s and 1970s. New York City's manufacturing base and its skilled laborers have been emigrating to the suburbs and to other states since World War II. Between 1969 and 1976, the city lost 600,000 jobs. With the departure of much of the middle class, the city's tax base shrank, a factor that contributed to the fiscal crisis of 1975, when a package of short-term aid from Congress, the state government, and the labor union pension funds saved the city from default.

The 1980s saw the state's fortunes on the rise. A shift in dependence from manufacturing to services, and particularly to finance, helped the state and New York City weather the 198182 recession. In 1983, the state's three largest industrial and commercial employers (excluding public utilities) were all banks based in New York City. From 1980 to 1990, the state's economy acquired approximately one million jobs, in contrast to 50,000 the previous decade. Financial services led the city's economic expansion, adding 100,000 jobs from 1980 to 1987. Long Island also experienced growth in the first half of the decade, benefiting from the defense build-up by the federal government in the early and mid-eighties.

New York's economy not only grew during the eighties but also underwent a restructuring. Manufacturing witnessed a decline in its share of total employment from 20% in 1980 to 14% in 1990. Apparel, industrial machinery and equipment, and primary metals accounted for 40% of the total loss of jobs. Industrial output, however, increased 10.1% between 1980 and 1987. Productivity gains produced both the rise in output and the decline in employment. Construction boomed from 198289, increasing its share of employment from 2.9% to 3.8%. The service sector, particularly business-related, health care, education and social services grew 52% in the decade, increasing services' share of employment from 24% in 1980 to 29% in 1990. Finance, insurance, and the real estate industry expanded 64%. The surge in financial services employment ended with the crash of the stock market in October of 1987, in which stock prices dropped 36% in two months. The crash prompted the layoff of 9,000 employees on Wall Street and a downsizing of the banking and securities industries. More than $1 trillion in financial transactions took place per day on the NYSE in 2000.

About one in 11 New York City residents received some form of public assistance (including Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income benefits) in 1994. The high number of people on welfare prompted the New York State government to turn the welfare program into a "workfare" program that put the able-bodied to work. By 1998, the welfare roles had been reduced by over 600,000 from 1995 numbers, a 35% decrease. Job growth rose steadily through the 1990s. Coming into the 21st century, the state economy was growing briskly, with annual growth rates of 8.3% in 1998, 3.5% in 1999, and 7.3% in 2000. Even in the national recession of 2001, and with the events of 9/11, the state economy posted 3.5% annual growth. Employment growth in the state lagged the nation as a whole during 2001 and 2002, but was close to the national average by the end of 2002. New York City's rate of job losses, however, continued to exceed the state and the nation. However, office vacancy rates in New York City in the fourth quarter 2002, at 8% for midtown, and 12% for downtown (where the twin World Trade Center towers had been located), were well below the national average of 16.5%. The state's manufacturing sector, which had been contracting for decades, fell from 10.8% of gross state product in 1997 to 9.4% of the total in 2001. In 2002, the highest percentages of manufacturing job losses were in the cities of Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse.

New York's gross state product (GSP) in 2004 was $896.739 billion, of which the real estate sector accounted for the largest share at $114.056 billion or 12.7% of GSP, followed by professional and technical services at $75.337 billion (8.4% of GSP), and health care and social assistance services at 70.059 billion (7.8% of GSP). In that same year, there were an estimated 1,779,932 small businesses in New York. Of the 481,858 businesses that had employees, an estimated total of 477,260 or 99% were small companies. An estimated 62,854 new businesses were established in the state in 2004, up 3.8% from the year before. Business terminations that same year came to 64,013, up 4.6% from 2003. There were 4,070 business bankruptcies in 2004, up 104.8% from the previous year. In 2005, the state's personal bankruptcy (Chapter 7 and Chapter 13) filing rate was 385 filings per 100,000 people, ranking New York as the 42nd highest in the nation.


In 2005 New York had a gross state product (GSP) of $963 billion which accounted for 7.8% of the nation's gross domestic product and placed the state at number 3 in highest GSP among the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, in 2004 New York had a per capita personal income (PCPI) of $38,264. This ranked sixth in the United States and was 116% of the national average of $33,050. The 19942004 average annual growth rate of PCPI was 4.0%. New York had a total personal income (TPI) of $737,755,932,000, which ranked second in the United States and reflected an increase of 6.7% from 2003. The 19942004 average annual growth rate of TPI was 4.5%. Earnings of persons employed in New York increased from $558,688,257,000 in 2003 to $596,716,261,000 in 2004, an increase of 6.8%. The 200304 national change was 6.3%.

The US Census Bureau reports that the three-year average median household income for 200204 in 2004 dollars was $44,228 compared to a national average of $44,473. During the same period an estimated 14.4% of the population was below the poverty line as compared to 12.4% nationwide.


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in April 2006 the seasonally adjusted civilian labor force in New York numbered 9,516,800, with approximately 467,000 workers unemployed, yielding an unemployment rate of 4.9%, compared to the national average of 4.7% for the same period. Preliminary data for the same period placed nonfarm employment at 8,583,500. Since the beginning of the BLS data series in 1976, the highest unemployment rate recorded in New York was 10.5% in July 1976. The historical low was 4% in April 1988. Preliminary nonfarm employment data by occupation for April 2006 showed that approximately 3.8% of the labor force was employed in construction; 6.5% in manufacturing; 17.5% in trade, transportation, and public utilities; 8.4% in financial activities; 12.7% in professional and business services; 18.2% in education and health services; 7.8% in leisure and hospitality services; and 17.3% in government.

The labor force participation rate of women increased from 42.0% in 1974 to 55.8% in 1998. Over the same period, participation rates for men declined from 75.9% to 71.4%. Among minority groups, the unemployment rate in 1998 was 11.4% for blacks and 8.9% for Hispanics.

At the turn of the century, working conditions in New York were among the worst in the country. The flood of immigrants into the labor market and the absence of labor laws to protect them led to the development in New York City of cramped, ill-lit, poorly ventilated, and unhealthy factoriesthe sweatshops for which the garment industry became notorious. Since that time working conditions in the garment factories have improved, primarily through the efforts of the International Ladies' Garment Workers Union and, later, its sister organization, the Amalgamated Clothing and Textiles Workers Union.

Under the state's Taylor Law, public employees do not have the right to strike. Penalties for striking may be exacted against both the unions and their leaders.

The BLS reported that in 2005, a total of 2,090,000 of New York's 8,008,000 employed wage and salary workers were formal members of a union. This represented 26.1% of those so employed, up from 25.3% in 2004, and well above the national average of 12%. Overall in 2005, a total of 2,201,000 workers (27.5%) in New York were covered by a union or employee association contract, which includes those workers who reported no union affiliation. New York is one of five states whose union membership rate is greater than 20%. The New York is also one of 28 states that does not have a right-to-work law.

As of 1 March 2006, New York had a state-mandated minimum wage rate of $6.75 per hour, which will increase to $7.15 per hour on 1 January 2007. In 2004, women in the state accounted for 47% of the employed civilian labor force.


New York ranked 28th in farm income in 2005, with cash receipts from farming at over $3.5 billion. About 62% came from livestock products, mostly dairy goods. In 2004, the state ranked second in apples, third in the production of corn for silage, third in cauliflower, fourth in tart cherries and snap beans, and ninth in oats.

Corn was the leading crop for the Indians and for the European settlers of the early colonial period. During the early 1800s, how-ever, wheat was the major crop grown in eastern New York. With the opening of the Erie Canal, western New York (especially the Genesee Valley) became a major wheat-growing center as well. By the late 1850s, when the state's wheat crop began to decline, New York still led the nation in barley, flax, hops, and potato production and was a significant grower of corn and oats. The opening of the railroads took away the state's competitive advantage, but as grain production shifted to the Midwest, the state emerged as a leading supplier of meat and dairy products.

New York remains an important dairy state, but urbanization has reduced its overall agricultural potential. In 2004, 14% of the state's land area was devoted to crop growing; in 2004, there were only 36,000 farms, with 7.6 million acres (3.1 million hectares).

The west-central part of the state is the most intensively farmed. Chautauqua County, in the extreme southwest, leads the state in grape production, while Wayne County, along Lake Ontario, leads in apples and cherries. The dairy industry is concentrated in the St. Lawrence Valley; grain growing dominates the plains between Syracuse and Buffalo. Potatoes are grown mostly in Suffolk County, on eastern Long Island.

Leading filed crops in 2004 included hay, of which 2.9 million tons were produced, worth $327 million; corn, 61 million bushels worth $146.4 million; oats, 3.3 million bushels worth $5.5 million; and wheat, 5.3 million bushels, worth $13.8 million.

Farms in 2004 also produced 941,010 tons of commercial vegetables. Leading vegetable crops were cabbage, onions, sweet corn, and snap beans. State vineyards produced 145,000 tons of grapes for wine and juice in 2004, while the apple crop totaled 1.1 billion lb.


The St. Lawrence Valley is the state's leading cattle-raising region, followed by the Mohawk Valley and Wyoming County, in western New York. The poultry industry is more widely dispersed. In 2005, an estimated 1.41 million cattle and calves were worth around $1.73 billion. There were an estimated 84,000 hogs and pigs, worth $8.4 million in 2004. During 2003, around 14.6 million lb (6.6 million kg) of broilers were produced, worth $5.1 million, and 13.3 million lb (6 million kg) of turkey, worth $4.8 million.

New York is a leading dairy state. In 2003, New York was third in the United States in milk production with 11.9 million lb (5.4 million kg) of milk from 671,000 milk cows.

Also during 2003, New York farmers produced around 3 million lb (1.4 million kg) of sheep and lambs, which brought in around $2.7 million in gross income. The state produced around 1.05 billion eggs, valued at $56.3 million in 2003. Duck raising is an industry of local importance on Long Island.


Fishing, though an attraction for tourists and sportsmen, plays only a marginal role in the economic life of the state. In 2004, the Atlantic commercial catch by New York fishers was 33.7 million lb (15.3 million kg), valued at $46.4 million. The Great Lakes commercial catch the same year was 10,000 lb (4,500 kg) valued at $11,000. Important species for commercial use are clams and oysters. In 2004, the state ranked second in the nation (after New Jersey) in volume of surf clams (6.8 million lb/3.1 million kg) and third for soft clams (234,000 lb/106,000 kg). Virtually all of New York's commercial fishing takes place in the Atlantic waters off Long Island. Montauk, on the eastern end of Long Island, is the state's leading fishing port. In 2003, there were 6 processing and 271 wholesale plants in the state with about 2,154 employees.

Pollution and poor wildlife management have seriously endangered the state's commercial and sport fishing in the ocean, rivers, and lakes. Commercial fishing for striped bass in the Hudson River was banned in 1976 because of contamination by polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Commercial fishing in the river for five other speciesblack crappie, brown bullhead, carp, goldfish, and pumpkinseedwas banned in 1985. Also banned in 1985 was commercial fishing for striped bass in New York Harbor and along both shores of western Long Island.

In recent decades, however, the Department of Environmental Conservation has taken an active role in restocking New York's inland waters. The US Fish and Wildlife Service distributes large numbers of lake trout and Atlantic salmon fingerlings and rainbow and brook trout fry throughout the state. There are 12 state hatcheries producing over 1 million lb (over 453,000 kg) of fish per year, including brook trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, lake trout, steelhead, chinook salmon, coho salmon, landlocked salmon, walleye, muskellunge, and tiger muskellunge.

In 2004, the state issued 983,812 sport fishing licenses.


About 61% of New York's surface area is forestland. The most densely forested counties are Hamilton, Essex, and Warren in the Adirondacks, and Delaware, Greene, and Ulster in the Catskills. The total forested area was about 18,432,000 acres (7,459,000 hectares) in 2004, of which 15,389,000 acres (6,228,000 hectares) were classified as commercial forest, meaning they were available for the harvest of wood products such as sawlogs, veneer, and pulpwood or firewood. In 2004, lumber production totaled 480 million board feet.

Finger Lakes National Forest, the only national forest within the state, covered 16,211 acres (6,560 hectares) in 2005. The state Department of Environmental Conservation manages about 3,000,000 acres (1,200,000 hectares) in the Catskills and Adirondacks as Forest Preserves, and an additional 800,000 acres in State Forests and Wildlife Management Areas (where timber harvesting is allowed as part of their management plans).


According to preliminary data from the US Geological Survey (USGS), the estimated value of nonfuel mineral production by New York in 2003 was $978 million, a decrease from $991 million in 2002. The USGS data ranked New York as 14th among the 50 states by the total value of its nonfuel mineral production, accounting for over 2.5% of total US output.

According to the preliminary data for 2003, crushed stone, followed by cement (portland and masonry), salt, construction sand and gravel, and wollastonite were the state's top nonfuel minerals by value. Collectively, these five commodities accounted for around 98% of all nonfuel mineral output, by value. About 75% of the state's nonfuel minerals, by value, were major construction material commodities: cement, common clays, construction sand and gravel, and crushed stone. New York in 2003 was the nation's only producer of wollastonite. The state also ranked third in salt, fourth in talc, and tenth in portland and masonry cement. New York was the leading state (out of two) in the production of industrial grade garnets and eighth in the production of dimension stone.

Preliminary data for 2003 showed that New York's production of crushed stone totaled 51.5 million metric tons, with a value of $358 million, while output of salt totaled 4.9 million metric tons, valued at $190 million. Construction sand and gravel production in that same year came to 32 million metric tons, and was valued at $171 million. Common clays output totaled 641,000 metric tons and was valued at $7.99 million.

Other commodities produced in New York included gypsum and peat. Major uses of wollastonite (a type of calcium silicate) are as a filler in ceramic tile, marine wallboard, paint, plastics, and refractory liners in steel mills.


As of 2003, New York had 96 electrical power service providers, of which 48 were publicly owned and four were cooperatives. Of the remainder, nine were investor owned, three were owners of independent generators that sold directly to customers, 25 were generation-only suppliers and seven were delivery-only providers. As of that same year there were 7,876,995 retail customers. Of that total, 6,245,232 received their power from investor-owned service providers. Cooperatives accounted for 16,816 customers, while publicly owned providers had 1,243,176 customers. There were 1,867 independent generator or "facility" customers, and 369,904 generation-only customers. There was no data on the number of delivery-only customers.

Total net summer generating capability by the state's electrical generating plants in 2003 stood at 36.696 million k W, with total production that same year at 137.643 billion kWh. Of the total amount generated, 30.2% came from electric utilities, with the remaining 69.8% coming from independent producers and combined heat and power service providers. The largest portion of all electric power generated, 40.697 billion kWh (29.6%), came from nuclear power generation, with natural gas fueled plants in second place at 28.156 billion kWh (20.5%) and hydroelectric plants in third at 24.268 billion kWh (17.6%). Other renewable power sources, coal and petroleum fired plants (17.1% and 14%, respectively) and pumped storage facilities accounted for the remaining power generated.

Electric bills for New York City are the highest in the nation, and customers in Buffalo and Rochester also pay above the national median. Sales of public and private electric power totaled 144.045 billion kWh in 2003, of which 50.3% went to commercial users, 15.1% to industrial purchasers, 32.7% to residential users, and 1.9% for transportation.

As of 2006, New York had four operating nuclear power stations: the James A. Fitzpatrick and the Nile Mile Point plants, both near Oswego; the Indian Point plant in Westchester County; and the Robert E. Ginna plant near Rochester.

As of 2004, New York had proven crude oil reserves of less than 1% of all proven US reserves, while output that same year averaged 464 barrels per day. Including federal offshore domains, the state that year ranked 29th (28th excluding federal offshore) in production among the 31 producing states. In 2004 New York had 3,095 producing oil wells and accounted for under 1% of all US production. There are no refineries in the state of New York.

In 2004, New York had 5,781 producing natural gas and gas condensate wells. In that same year, marketed gas production (all gas produced excluding gas used for repressuring, vented and flared, and nonhydrocarbon gases removed) totaled 36.137 billion cu ft (1.02 billion cu m). As of 31 December 2004, proven reserves of dry or consumer-grade natural gas totaled 324 billion cu ft (9.2 billion cu m).


Until the 1970s, New York was the nation's foremost industrial state, ranking first in virtually every general category. However, US Commerce Department data show that by 1975 the state had slipped in manufacturing to second in number of employees, payroll, and value added, fourth in value of shipments of manufactured goods, and sixth in new capital spending. Important sectors are instruments and related products, industrial machinery and equipment, electronic and electric equipment, printing and publishing, and textiles.

The Buffalo region, with its excellent transport facilities and abundant power supply, is the main center for heavy industry in the state, while light industry is dispersed throughout the state. Rochester is especially well known for its photographic (Kodak) and optical equipment and office machines. The state's leadership in electronic equipment is in large part attributable to the International Business Machines Corp. (IBM), which was founded in 1911 at Endicott, near Binghamton. The presence of two large General Electric plants has long made Schenectady a leader in the manufacture of electric machinery.

New York City excels not only in the apparel and publishing trades but also in food processing, meat packing, chemicals, leather goods, metal products, and many other manufactures. In addition, the city serves as headquarters for many large industrial corporations whose manufacturing activities often take place entirely outside New York.

According to the US Census Bureau's Annual Survey of Manufactures (ASM) for 2004, New York's manufacturing sector covered some 21 product subsectors. The shipment value of all products manufactured in the state that same year was $146.691 billion. Of that total, chemical manufacturing accounted for the largest share at $35.291 billion. It was followed by computer and electronic product manufacturing at $14.565 billion; food manufacturing at $14.090 billion; transport equipment manufacturing at $11.717 billion; machinery manufacturing at $10.449 billion; and miscellaneous manufacturing at $9.031 billion.

In 2004, a total of 569,641 people in New York were employed in the state's manufacturing sector, according to the ASM. Of that total, 370,674 were actual production workers. In terms of total employment, the computer and electronic product manufacturing industry accounted for the largest portion of all manufacturing employees at 65,291, with 29,738 actual production workers. It was followed by chemical manufacturing at 57,004 employees (28,401 actual production workers); fabricated metal product manufacturing at 55,711 employees (39,809 actual production workers); miscellaneous manufacturing at 47,587 employees (31,212 actual production workers); and food manufacturing with 46,847 employees (31,160 actual production workers).

ASM data for 2004 showed that New York's manufacturing sector paid $24.145 billion in wages. Of that amount, the computer and electronic product manufacturing sector accounted for the largest share at $3.713 billion. It was followed by chemical manufacturing at $2.874 billion; fabricated metal product manufacturing at $2.193 billion; machinery manufacturing at $2030 billion; transport equipment manufacturing at $1.989 billion; and miscellaneous manufacturing at $1.708 billion.


According to the 2002 Census of Wholesale Trade, New York's wholesale trade sector had sales that year totaling $343.6 billion from 35,845 establishments. Wholesalers of durable goods accounted for 18,400 establishments, followed by nondurable goods wholesalers at 15,236 and electronic markets, agents, and brokers accounting for 2,209 establishments. Sales by durable goods wholesalers in 2002 totaled $127.7 billion, while wholesalers of nondurable goods saw sales of $184.6 billion. Electronic markets, agents, and brokers in the wholesale trade industry had sales of $31.2 billion.

In the 2002 Census of Retail Trade, New York was listed as having 76,425 retail establishments with sales of $178.06 billion. The leading types of retail businesses by number of establishments were: food and beverage stores (15,210); clothing and clothing accessories stores (12,531); miscellaneous store retailers (8,346); and health and personal care stores (6,648). In terms of sales, motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts stores accounted for the largest share of retail sales at $37.3 billion, followed by food and beverage stores at $29.6 billion; general merchandise stores at $19.7 billion; clothing and clothing accessories stores at $17.2 billion; and health and personal care stores at $16.2 billion. A total of 837,806 people were employed by the retail sector in New York that year.

The state's long border with Canada, its important ports on Lakes Erie and Ontario, and its vast harbor on New York Bay ensure it a major role in US foreign trade. About one-quarter of US waterborne imports and exports pass through the New York Customs District (including New York City, Albany, and Newark and Perth Amboy, N.J.). Exports of goods from New York totaled $50.4 billion in 2005, third among the states.


The New York State Consumer Protection Board (CPB) was created in 1970, and is headed by an executive director appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the Senate. The CPB is divided into three organizations: the Consumer Assistance Unit; the Law and Investigations Unit; and the Office of Strategic Programs (which in turn is composed of an Outreach and Education Unit, and a Utility Intervention Unit). The Board coordinates the activities of all state agencies performing consumer protection functions, represents consumer interests before federal, state, and local bodies (including the Public Service Commission), and encourages consumer education and research, but it has no enforcement powers. These are vested in the Bureau of Consumer Frauds and Protection within the Department of Law, under the direction of the Attorney General. The Department of Public Service has regulatory authority over several areas of key interest to consumers, including gas, electric, and telephone rates.

State law outlaws unfair or deceptive trade practices and provides for small-claims courts, where consumers can take action at little cost to themselves. New York licenses and regulates automobile repair services, permits advertising of prescription drug prices, and requires unit pricing. A "cooling-off" period for home purchase contracts is mandated, and standards have been established for mobile-home construction. New York also has no-fault automobile insurance. In 1974, the legislature outlawed sex discrimination in banking, credit, and insurance policy transactions. The state's fair-trade law, which allowed price fixing on certain items, was repealed in 1975. The Fair Credit Reporting Act passed in 1977, allows consumers access to their credit bureau files. A 1984 "Lemon Law" entitles purchasers of defective new cars to repairs, a refund, or a replacement under specified circumstances. A similar law for used cars requires a written warranty for most essential mechanical components.

When dealing with consumer protection issues, New York's Attorney General can initiate civil and criminal proceedings; represent the state before state and federal regulatory agencies; administer consumer protection and education programs; handle formal consumer complaints; and exercise broad subpoena powers. In antitrust actions, the Attorney General can act on behalf of those consumers who are incapable of acting on their own; initiate damage actions on behalf of the state in state courts; initiate criminal proceedings; and represent counties, cities and other governmental entities in recovering civil damages under state or federal law.

The offices of the New York State Consumer Protection Board are located in Albany. The offices of the Bureau of Consumer Frauds and Protection are located in Albany and in New York City. The Office of the Attorney General has regional offices in Binghamton, Brooklyn, Buffalo, Hauppauge, Mineola, Harlem (New York City), Plattsburgh, Rochester, Syracuse, Utica, Watertown and in White Plains. County government consumer affairs offices are located in Albany, Buffalo, Carmel, Goshen, Kingston, Mineola, Monticello, New York City, Poughkeepsie, Schenectady, and White Plains. City government consumer affairs offices are located in Mount Vernon, New York City, Newtonville, Schenectady, and in Yonkers.


New York City is the major US banking center. Banking is one of the state's leading industries, ranking first in the United States. As of June 2005, the state of New York had 209 insured banks, savings and loans, and saving banks, plus 32 state-chartered and 519 federally chartered credit unions (CUs). Excluding the CUs, the New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island market area accounted for the largest portion of the state's financial institutions and deposits in 2004, with 233 institutions and $770.488 billion in deposits. As of June 2005, CUs accounted for 2.9% of all assets held by all financial institutions in the state, or some $36.484 billion. Banks, savings and loans, and savings banks collectively accounted for the remaining 97.1% or $1,202.550 billion in assets held.

In 2004, the state's insured banks reported a median past-due/nonaccrual loan to total loans percentage of1.20%, down from 1.46% in 2003. The median net interest margin (the difference between the lower rates offered to savers and the higher rates charged on loans) in 2004 was 3.77%, down slightly from 3.78% in 2003.

New York has a higher percentage of residential mortgage lenders than the rest of the nation, and its median ratio of long-term assets-to-average earning assets remains above that of the nation.

Regulation of state-chartered banks and other financial institutions is the responsibility of the New York State Banking Department. It was established in 1851 and is the oldest bank regulatory body in the United States.


Like banking, insurance is big business in New York. Three of the ten top US life insurance companiesMetropolitan Life, New York Life, and Equitable Life Assurancehad their headquarters in New York.

As of 2003, there were 195 property and casualty and 186 life and health insurance companies domiciled in the state. Direct premiums for property and casualty insurance totaled over $33.3 billion in 2004. That year, there were 100,121 flood insurance policies in force in the state, with a total value of $17.5 billion. About $11 billion of coverage was held through FAIR plans, which are designed to offer coverage for some natural circumstances, such as wind and hail, in high risk areas.

In 2004, New Yorkers held over 9 million individual life insurance policies with a value of about $999 billion; total value for all categories of life insurance (individual, group, and credit) was $1.6 trillion. The average coverage amount is $110,100 per policy holder. Death benefits paid that year totaled $3.8 billion.

In 2004, 53% of state residents held employment-based health insurance policies, 3% held individual policies, and 28% were covered under Medicare and Medicaid; 15% of residents were uninsured. In 2003, employee contributions for employment-based health coverage averaged at 17% for single coverage and 19% for family coverage. The state offers an 18-month health benefits expansion program for small-firm employees in connection with the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA, 1986), a health insurance program for those who lose employment-based coverage due to termination or reduction of work hours.

In 2003, there were over 9 million auto insurance policies in effect for private passenger cars. Required minimum coverage includes bodily injury liability of up to $25,000 per individual and $50,000 for all persons injured in an accident, as well as property damage liability of $10,000. Personal injury protection is also required. In 2003, the average expenditure per vehicle for insurance coverage was $1,160.80, which ranked as the second-highest average in the nation (following New Jersey).


The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is by far the largest organized securities market in the nation and the world. The exchange began as an agreement among 24 brokers, known as the Buttonwood Agreement, in 1792; the exchange adopted its first constitution in 1817 and took on its present name in 1863. A clear sign of the growth of the NYSE is the development of its communications system. Stock tickers were first introduced in 1867; a faster ticker, installed in 1930, was capable of printing 500 characters a minute. By 1964, this was no longer fast enough, and a 900-character-a-minute ticker was introduced. Annual registered share volume increased from 1.8 billion in 1965 to 7.6 billion in 1978 following the introduction in 1976 of a new data line capable of handling 36,000 characters a minute. In August 2000, the NYSE switched to a decimal system. The New York Futures Exchange was incorporated in 1979 as a wholly owned subsidiary of the NYSE and began trading in 1980. It also deals in options on futures. In 2006, The NYSE merged with Archipelago Holdings (ArcaEx and the Pacific Exchange) to form the for-profit NYSE Group, Inc. As of 2005, there were about 2,672 issuers listed on the NYSE, including about 453 foreign companies. NYSE listed companies represent a total global market value of $21 trillion.

The American Stock Exchange (AMEX) is the second-leading US securities floor-based market, but the AMEX ranks far below the NYSE in both volume and value of securities. The AMEX traces its origins to the outdoor trading in unlisted securities that began on Wall and Hanover streets in the 1840s, the exchange was organized as the New York Curb Agency in 1908; the exchange moved indoors, but continued to use the hand signals developed by outdoor traders. The AMEX adopted its current name in 1953. Constitutional changes in 1976 for the first time permitted qualified issues to be traded on both the AMEX and the NYSE as well as on other exchanges. This Intermarket Trading System (ITS) began in 1978. In 1996, the hand signals used in trading on the AMEX for over 100 years were replaced by a computerized communication system. AMEX has about 661 regular trading members, and 203 options members.

The National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations (NASDAQ), created in 1971, is a highly active exchange for over-the-counter securities. New York City is also a major center for trading in commodity futures. Leading commodity exchanges are the New York Coffee and Sugar Exchange; the New York Cocoa Exchange; the New York Cotton Exchange; the Commodity Exchange, Inc. (COMEX), specializing in gold, silver, and copper futures; and the New York Mercantile Exchange, which trades in futures for potatoes, platinum, palladium, silver coins, beef, and gold, among other items. Bonds may be issued in New York by cities, counties, towns, villages, school districts, and fire districts, as well as by quasi-independent authorities.

In 2005, there were 16,530 personal financial advisers employed in the state and 34,860 securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents. In 2004, there were over 1,097 publicly traded companies within the state, with over 280 XX NASDAQ companies, 378 NYSE listings, and 114 AMEX listings. In 2006, the state had 55 Fortune 500 companies, including 20 companies in the Fortune 100; Citigroup ranked first in the state and eighth in the nation with revenues of over $131 billion, followed by American Intl. Group (ninth), Intl. Business Machines (10th), J.P. Morgan Chase and Co. (17th), and Verizon Communications (18th). All five if these companies are listed on the NYSE.


New York State has the second largest budget (behind California), of all states in the United States.

The New York State budget is prepared by the Division of the Budget and submitted annually by the governor to the legislature for amendment and approval. The fiscal year (FY) runs from 1 April to 31 March.

New YorkState Government Finances
(Dollar amounts in thousands Per capita amounts in dollars.)
Abbreviations and symbols: - zero or rounds to zero; (NA) not available; (X) not applicable.
source: U.S. Census Bureau, Governments Division, 2004 Survey of State Government Finances, January 2006.
Total Revenue136,520,7627,080.59
  General revenue106,300,2115,513.21
   Intergovernmental revenue47,838,1432,481,10
     Seneral sales10,050,291521.25
     Selective sales6,428,674333.42
     Lincense taxes1,193,01961.88
     Individual income tax24,647,2251,278.32
     Corporate income tax2,044,504106.04
     Other taxes1,462,71675.86
   Current charges6,537,484339.06
   Miscellaneous general revenue6,098,155316.28
  Utility revenue6,091,450315.93
  Liquor store revenue--
  Insurance trust revenue24,129,1011,251.44
Total expenditure132,883,2776,891.93
  Intergovernmental expenditure44,112,1152,287.85
  Direct expenditure88,771,1624,604.07
    Current operation60,269,0273,125.82
    Capital outlay8,786,756455.72
    Insurance benefits and repayments14,365,484745.06
    Assistance and subsidies1,392,95472.24
    Interest on debt3,956,941205.22
Exhibit: Salaries and wages14,032.761727.80
Total expenditure132,883,2776,891.93
  General expenditure108,248,1685,614.24
    Intergovernmental expenditure44,112,1152,287.85
    Direct expenditure64,136,0533,326.39
  General expenditures, by function:
    Public welfare41,154,4592,134.46
    Police protection818,70042.46
    Natural resources356,69718.50
    Parks and recreation475,62524.67
    Government administration4,264,941221.20
    Interest on general debt3,020,332156.65
    Other and unallocable11,446,784593.68
  Utlility expenditure10,269,625532,63
  Liquor store expenditure--
  Insurance trust expenditure14,365,484745,06
Debt at end of fiscal year95,709,8134,963,94
Cash and security holdings262,375,03913,607,96

Fiscal year 2006 general funds were estimated at $50.2 billion for resources and $47.2 billion for expenditures. In fiscal year 2004, federal government grants to New York were $50.0 billion.

In the fiscal year 2007 federal budget, New York state was slated to receive: $2 billion in tax credits for transportation infrastructure to replace underutilized provisions of the Liberty Zone tax package; $628.5 million for major cities throughout the state to fund buses, railcars, and maintenance facilities essential to sustaining public transportation systems that serve their communities; $300 million to begin construction of the Long Island Rail Road East Side commuter rail extension on Manhattan's East Side. This extension will carry an estimated 166,000 daily passengers when complete in 2012; $46 million for the modernization of the Thurgood Marshall US Courthouse in New York City, including safety and accessibility upgrades; $24 million to improve public transportation in New York for the elderly, persons with disabilities, and persons with lower-incomes, providing access to job and health care facilities; $15.3 million to provide transportation in rural areas statewide meeting the needs of individuals that may have no other means of transportation; and $7.6 million to expand a national cemetery in Saratoga.

On 5 January 2006 the federal government also released $100 million in emergency contingency funds targeted to the areas with the greatest need, including $15 million for New York.


In 2005, New York collected $50,190 million in tax revenues or $2,607 per capita, which placed it 11th among the 50 states in per capita tax burden. The national average was $2,192 per capita. Sales taxes accounted for 21.9% of the total; selective sales taxes, 10.3%; individual income taxes, 56.0%; corporate income taxes, 5.5%; and other taxes, 6.3%.

As of 1 January 2006, New York had five individual income tax brackets ranging from 4.0% to 6.85%. The state taxes corporations at a flat rate of 7.5%.

In 2004, local property taxes amounted to $32,333,564,000 or $1,677 per capita. The per capita amount ranks the state fourth-highest nationally. New York does not have property taxes at the state level.

New York taxes retail sales at a rate of 4.25%. In addition to the state tax, local taxes on retail sales can reach as much as 4.50%, making for a potential total tax on retail sales of 8.75%. Food purchased for consumption off-premises is tax exempt. The tax on cigarettes is 150 cents per pack, which ranks 10th among the 50 states and the District of Columbia. New York taxes gasoline at 23.9 cents per gallon. This is in addition to the 18.4 cents per gallon federal tax on gasoline.

According to the Tax Foundation, for every federal tax dollar sent to Washington in 2004, New York citizens received $0.79 in federal spending.


New York has created a number of incentives for business to foster new jobs and encourage economic prosperity. Among these are government-owned industrial park sites, state aid in the creation of county and city master plans, state recruitment and screening of industrial employees, programs for the promotion of research and development, and state help in bidding on federal procurement contracts. Through Empire State Development (ESD), New York State provides a full range of technical assistance. Representatives of the ESD call on firms in Canada, Asia, Latin America, and Europe; the division maintains offices in London, Tokyo, Montreal, Toronto, Jerusalem, and Mexico City. The ESD, through its ten regional offices, encourages the retention and expansion of existing facilities and the attraction of new job-creating investments. Other divisions aid small business and minority and women's business.

The state administers a number of financial programs to attract or retain businesses. Among these are low interest loans and grants for small businesses or for firms that create substantial numbers of jobs; grants and low cost loans for the development of industrial parks; and working capital loans to help companies at risk of downsizing. The state awards both grants and loans to manufacturing companies to encourage productivity improvements and modernization. It also seeks to encourage economic development in distressed rural communities with low interest loans for small businesses located in such areas. To promote technological innovation, the state provides debt and equity financing for technology based start-up companies.

In 2002, the ESD announced that to assist businesses affected by the World Trade Center (WTC) tragedy, it was implementing a $700 million Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) provided by the federal government. The funds were to be made available in the form of loans and grants to affected businesses that committed to job retention, job creation and investment in New York City, with priority on Lower Manhattan. Other WTC assistance programs of the ESD include a Disaster Assistance Program for Individuals, Disaster Recovery Resources for Small Businesses, Liberty Zone Tax Benefits, a New York Liberty Bond Program, and the World Trade Center Relief Fund. The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC), created after the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, was charged with planning and coordinating the rebuilding and revitalization of lower Manhattan.


Health presents a mixed picture in New York State. The state has some of the finest hospital and medical education facilities in the United States, but it also has large numbers of the needy with serious health problems.

The infant mortality rate in October 2005 was estimated at 5.8 per 1,000 live births. The birth rate in 2003 was 13.2 per 1,000 population. The abortion rate stood at 39.1 per 1,000 women in 2000, representing the second-highest rate in the country (following the District of Columbia). In 2003, about 82.4% of pregnant woman received prenatal care beginning in the first trimester. In 2004, approximately 82% of children received routine immunizations before the age of three.

The crude death rate in 2003 was 8.1 deaths per 1,000 population. As of 2002, the death rates for major causes of death (per 100,000 resident population) were: heart disease, 295.8; cancer, 191.4; cerebrovascular diseases, 39.8; chronic lower respiratory diseases, 36.4; and diabetes, 20.5. The mortality rate from HIV infection was 10.3 per 100,000 population, representing the third-highest rate in the country (following the District of Columbia and Maryland). In 2004, the reported AIDS case rate was at about 39.7 per 100,000 population, the second-highest rate in the country (following the District of Columbia). In 2002, about 54.4% of the population was considered overweight or obese. As of 2004, about 19.9% of state residents were smokers.

In 2003, New York had 207 community hospitals with about 64,700 beds. There were about 2.49 million patient admissions that year and 48 million outpatient visits. The average daily inpatient census was about 50,600 patients. The average cost per day for hospital care was $1,402. Also in 2003, there were about 671 certified nursing facilities in the state with 122,633 beds and an overall occupancy rate of about 92.5%. In 2004, it was estimated that about 71.7% of all state residents had received some type of dental care within the year. New York had 401 physicians per 100,000 resident population in 2004 and 854 nurses per 100,000 in 2005. In 2004, there were a total of 14,498 dentists in the state.

In 2005, the New York-Presbyterian University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell ranked seventh on the Honor Roll of Best Hospitals 2005 by U.S. News & World Report. In the same report, it also ranked fifth for best pediatric care and seventh for best care in heart disease and heart surgery. The Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center ranked first in the nation for cancer care.

About 24% of state residents were enrolled in Medicaid programs in 2003; 14% were enrolled in Medicare programs in 2004. Approximately 15% of the state population was uninsured in 2004. In 2003, state health care expenditures totaled $44.5 million.


A 1938 New York constitutional provision mandated that the care and support of the needy shall be a state concern. Social welfare is a major public enterprise in the state; the growth of poverty relief programs has been enormous. In 2004, about 513,000 people received unemployment benefits, with the average weekly unemployment benefit at $271. For 2005, the estimated average monthly participation in the food stamp program included about 1,754,861 persons (915,703 households); the average monthly benefit was about $101.43 per person. That year, the total of benefits paid through the state for the food stamp program was over $2.1 billion.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the system of federal welfare assistance that officially replaced Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) in 1997, was reauthorized through the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. TANF is funded through federal block grants that are divided among the states based on an equation involving the number of recipients in each state. New York's TANF program is called the Family Assistance Program (FA). In 2004, the state program had 336,000 recipients; state and federal expenditures on this TANF program totaled $2 billion in fiscal year 2003.

In December 2004, Social Security benefits were paid to 3,045,290 New York residents. This number included 1,985,530 retired workers, 277,600 widows and widowers, 383,800 disabled workers, 149,780 spouses, and 248,580 children. Social Security beneficiaries represented 15.8% of the total state population and 87.7% of the state's population age 65 and older. Retired workers received an average monthly payment of $1,011; widows and widowers, $947; disabled workers, $943; and spouses, $480. Payments for children of retired workers averaged $490 per month; children of deceased workers, $666; and children of disabled workers, $273. Federal Supplemental Security Income payments in December 2004 went to 626,593 New York residents, averaging $461 a month.


In 2004, the state had an estimated 7,819,359 housing units, of which 7,087,566 were occupied. That year, the state ranked fourth in the nation for the highest number of housing units (following California, Texas, and Florida). An estimated 3,259,092 units, or 41.6%, are located in New York City (NYC). The housing stock in New York is relatively old. About 33.7% of all units in the state were built before or during 1939; 49.7% were built between 1940 and 1979. In NYC, 83% of all housing units were built before 1960; in Buffalo, 73% of all units were built before 1939.

Statewide in 2004, 42.3% of all units were single-family, detached homes. In NYC, however, only 9% were single, detached units; 46.9% of the city's housing units are located in buildings of 20 units or more. The average household had 2.63 members. Housing differences in New York City offer far greater contrasts than units per structure: the posh apartment houses of Manhattan and the hovels of the South Bronx both count as multi-unit dwellings. In 2004, New York State had the second-lowest percentage of owner-occupied housing in the nation, at 55.6% (only the District of Columbia was lower). In 2004, it was estimated that 140,133 units in NYC lacked telephone service, 19,137 lacked complete plumbing facilities, and 20,630 lacked complete kitchen facilities. Statewide, about 247,421 units lacked telephone service, 32,130 lacked complete plumbing facilities, and 211,862 lacked complete kitchen facilities. Characteristic of housing in New York is a system of rent controls that began in 1943.

The tight housing marketwhich may have contributed to the exodus of New Yorkers from the statewas not helped by the slump in housing construction from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s. In New York City, more units were demolished than built every year from 1974 to 1981. The drop in construction of multi-unit dwellings was even more noticeable: from 64,959 units in 1972 to 11,740 units in 1982. In 1993, only 7,723 multi-unit dwellings were authorized. The overall decline in construction was coupled with a drastic drop in new public housing. In 1972, permits were issued for 111,282 units valued at $2.1 billion. By 1975, however, only 32,623 units worth $756 million were authorized; in 1982 there were only 25,280 units worth $1.1 billion, and in 1996, 34,895 units valued at $3.1 billion were authorized. In 1998, numbers were on the rebound with 38,400 new privately owned housing units.

In 2004, 53,500 new privately owned housing units were authorized for construction. The median home value for the state was $220,981. The median home value in NYC was $373,176. The median monthly cost for mortgage owners statewide was $1,525; renters paid a median of $796 per month. In NYC, the median monthly cost for mortgage owners was $1,920; renters paid a median of $856 per month.

Direct state aid for housing is limited. Governmental and quasi-independent agencies dealing with housing include the following: the Division of Housing and Community Renewal of the Executive Department, which makes loans and grants to municipalities for slum clearance and construction of low-income housing, supervises the operation of more than 400 housing developments, and administers rent-control and rent-stabilization laws; the New York State Housing Finance Agency, which is empowered to issue notes and bonds for various construction projects, not limited to housing; the State of New York Mortgage Agency, which may purchase existing mortgage loans from banks in order to make funds available for the banks to make new mortgage loans, and which also offers mortgage insurance; and the New York State Urban Development Corporation (UDC), a multibillion dollar agency designed to raise capital for all types of construction, including low-income housing. In 2006, the state received over $48.5 million in community development block grants (CDBG) from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). New York City received $185.5 million in CDBGs and Buffalo received $16.5 million.


The Board of Regents and the State Education Department govern education from pre-kindergarten to graduate school. They are constitutionally responsible for setting educational policy, standards, and rules and legally required to ensure that the entities they oversee carry them out. The board and department also provide vocational and educational services to people with disabilities.

In 2004, 85.4% of New Yorkers age 25 and older were high school graduates. Some 30.6% had obtained a bachelor's degree or higher.

The total enrollment for fall 2002 in New York's public schools stood at 2,888,000. Of these, 2,017,000 attended schools from kindergarten through grade eight, and 871,000 attended high school. Approximately 53.9% of the students were white, 19.7% were black, 19.4% were Hispanic, 6.6% were Asian/Pacific Islander, and 0.5% were American Indian/Alaskan Native. Total enrollment was estimated at 2,872,000 in fall 2003 and expected to be 2,715,000 by fall 2014, a decline of 6% during the period 200214. Expenditures for public education in 2003/04 were estimated at $42.5 billion or $12,930 per student, the second-highest among the 50 states. In fall 2003 there were 458,079 students enrolled in 1,959 private schools. Since 1969, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) has tested public school students nationwide. The resulting report, The Nation's Report Card, stated that in 2005 eighth graders in New York scored 280 out of 500 in mathematics compared with the national average of 278.

As of fall 2002, there were 1,107,270 students enrolled in institutions of higher education; minority students comprised 32.4% of total postsecondary enrollment. In 2005 New York had 309 degree-granting institutions including, 45 public four-year schools, 35 public two-year schools, and 163 nonprofit, private four-year schools.

There are two massive public university systems: the State University of New York (SUNY) and the City University of New York (CUNY). Established in 1948, SUNY is one of the largest university systems in the country and encompasses university colleges of arts and sciences, specialized colleges, agricultural and technical colleges, statutory colleges (allied with private universities), health sciences centers, and locally sponsored community colleges. University centers include Buffalo, Albany, and Binghamton. The City University of New York was created in 1961, although many of its component institutions (including 12 four-year institutions) were founded much earlier. Under an open-enrollment policy adopted in 1970, every New York City resident with a high school diploma is guaranteed the chance to earn a college degree within the CUNY system (which CUNY campus the student attends is determined by grade point average).

The oldest private university in the state is Columbia University, founded in New York City as Kings College in 1754. Also part of Columbia are Barnard College (all women) and Columbia University Teachers College. Other major private institutions are Cornell University in Ithaca (1865); Fordham University in Manhattan and the Bronx (1841); New York University in Manhattan (1831); Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy (1824); St. John's University in Queens (1870); Syracuse University (1870); and the University of Rochester (1850). Among the state's many smaller but highly distinguished institutions are Hamilton College, the Juilliard School, the New School for Social Research, Rockefeller University, Sarah Lawrence College, Vassar College, and Yeshiva University.

Unique features of education in New York are the "Regents exams," uniform subject examinations administered to all high school students, and the Regents Scholarships Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), a higher-education aid program. The state passed a "truth in testing" law in 1979, giving students the right to see their graded college and graduate school entrance examinations, as well as information on how the test results were validated.


New York City is the cultural capital of the state, and leads the nation in both the creative and the performing arts. The state's foremost arts center is Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, in Manhattan. Facilities at Lincoln Center include Avery Fisher Hall (which opened as Philharmonic Hall in 1962), the home of the New York Philharmonic; the Metropolitan Opera House (1966), where the Metropolitan Opera Company performs; and the New York State Theater, which presents both the New York City Opera and the New York City Ballet. Also at Lincoln Center are the Julliard School and the Library and Museum of the Performing Arts. The best-known arts center outside New York City is the Saratoga Performing Arts Center at Saratoga Springs. During the summer, the Saratoga Center presents performances by the New York City Ballet and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Artpark, a state park at Lewiston, has a 2,324-seat theater for operas and musicals, and offers art exhibits during the summer.

The New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) consists of 20 governor-appointed members. In 2005, the NYSCA and other New York arts organizations received 440 grants totaling over $16,204,450 from the National Endowment for the Arts. The Council on the Arts also receives funding from the state as well as contributions from private sources. The New York State Council on the Arts contributed to the Arts Connection of New York Citya program dedicated to providing the New York City public schools with interactive programming associated with the various artsand to the National Book Foundationcentered in New York city and created to promote literacy as well as the appreciation of great American writing.

The New York Council for the Humanities was established in 1975; as of 2006 the state's Council for the Humanities had provided programs to over 4,000 institutions reaching over 250,000 New Yorkers annually. In 2005, the National Endowment for the Humanities contributed $13,421,970 to 124 state programs.

The city's most famous artists' district is Greenwich Village, which still holds an annual outdoor art fair. In 2005, the 57th Greenwich Village Art Fair featured over 100 artists, working in numerous different mediums. After the 1950s many artists moved to SoHo (Manhattan on the West Side between Canal and Houston Streets), NoHo (immediately north of Houston Street), the East Village, and Tribeca (between Canal Street and the World Trade Center). By the early 1980s, artists seeking space at reasonable prices were moving to Long Island City in Queens, to areas of Brooklyn, or out of the city entirely, to places such as Hoboken and Paterson in New Jersey. During the late 1940s and early 1950s, abstract paintersincluding Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Willem de Kooninghelped make the city a center of the avant garde.

At the same time, poets such as Frank O'Hara and John Ashbery sought verbal analogues to developments in the visual arts, and an urbane, improvisatory literature was created. New York has enjoyed a vigorous poetic tradition throughout its history, most notably with the works of Walt Whitman (who served as editor of the Brooklyn Eagle from 1846 to 1848) and through Hart Crane's mythic vision of the city in his long poem, The Bridge. The emergence of New York as the center of the US publishing and communications industries fostered the growth of a literary marketplace, attracting writers from across the country and the world. Early New York novelists included Washington Irving, Edgar Allan Poe, and Herman Melville; among the many who made their home in the city in the 20th century were Thomas Wolfe and Norman Mailer. The simultaneous growth of the Broadway stage made New York City a vital forum for playwriting, songwriting, and theatrical production. New York City is also a major link in the US songwriting, music publishing, and recording industries.

There are more than 35 Broadway theaterslarge theaters in midtown Manhattan presenting full-scale, sometimes lavish productions with top-rank performers. "Off Broadway" productions are often of high professional quality, though typically in smaller theaters, outside the midtown district, often with smaller casts and less costly settings. "Off-Off Broadway" productions range from small experimental theaters on the fringes of the city to performances in nightclubs and cabarets. The New York metropolitan area has hundreds of motion picture theatersmore than 65 in Manhattan alone, not counting special series at the Museum of Modern Art and other cultural institutions. In the 1970s, New York City made a determined and successful effort to attract motion picture production companies.

New York's leading symphony orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, is the oldest symphony orchestra in the United States with a history that dates back to the founding of the Philharmonic Society of New York in 1842. Among the principal conductors of the orchestra have been Gustav Mahler, Josef Willem Mengelberg, Wilhelm Furtwangler, Arturo Toscanini, Leonard Bernstein, Pierre Boulez, and Zubin Mehta. As of its 2004/05 season the orchestra had performed in over 416 cities and 57 countries. Leading US and foreign orchestras and soloists appear at both Avery Fisher Hall and Carnegie Hall, built in 1892 and famed for its acoustics. Important orchestras outside New York City include the Buffalo Philharmonic, which performs at Kleinhans Music Hall, the Rochester Philharmonic, and the Eastman Philharmonic, the orchestra of the Eastman School of Music (University of Rochester).

New York City is one of the world centers of ballet. Of special renown is the New York City Ballet; the company consisted of approximately 90 dancersthe largest in America. The New York City Ballet's principal choreographer until his death in 1983 was George Balanchine. Many other ballet companies, including the American Ballet Theatre and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, make regular appearances in New York. Rochester, Syracuse, Cooperstown, Chautauqua, and Binghamton have opera companies, and Lake George has an opera festival. The Lake George Opera marked its 45th summer season in 2006. The North Fork Theatre at Westbury presents wide-ranging musical and co-medic programs.


In 2001, the state of New York had 750 public library systems, with a total of 1,089 libraries, of which 340 were branches. In that same year, the state's public library system had 78,546,000 volumes of books and serial publications on its shelves, and a total circulation of 126,796,000. The system also had 4,371,000 audio and 2,115,000 video items, 665,000 electronic format items (CD-ROMs, magnetic tapes, and disks), and 10 bookmobiles. The state also had three of the world's largest libraries, and New York City has several of the world's most famous museums. In fiscal year 2001, operating income for the public library system totaled $902,746,000 and included $3,981,000 from the federal government, $51,055,000 from the state government, and the rest from local sources.

The leading public library systems and their operating statistics as of 1999 were the New York Public Library, 17,762,034 volumes in 127 branches; Brooklyn Public Library, 6,800,000 volumes and 10,077,559 circulation; Queens Borough Public Library, 8,668,948 volumes and 14,829,837 circulation; and Buffalo and Erie County system, 5,240,965 volumes and 8,734,854 circulation.

Chartered in 1895, the New York Public Library (NYPL) is the most complete municipal library system in the world. The library's main building, at 5th Avenue and 42d St., is one of the city's best-known landmarks; serving the needs of Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island. The NYPL is a repository for every book published in the United States. The NYPL also operates the Library and Museum of the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center; the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; and the Science, Industry, and Business Library that opened in May 1996.

Two private university librariesat Columbia University (7,018,408 volumes in 1999) and Cornell University (6,617,242)-rank among the world's major libraries. Other major university libraries in the state, with their 1999 book holdings, are Syracuse University, 2,650,995; New York University, 2,987,062; the State University of New York at Buffalo, 2,534,500; and the University of Rochester, 2,446,729.

There are about 671 museums in New York State; about 150 are major museums, of which perhaps 80% are in New York City. In addition, some 579 sites of historic importance are maintained by local historical societies. Major art museums in New York City include the Metropolitan Museum of Art, with more than one million art objects and paintings from virtually every period and culture; the Cloisters, a branch of the Metropolitan Museum devoted entirely to medieval art and architecture; the Frick collection; the Whitney Museum of American Art; the Brooklyn Museum; and two large modern collections, the Museum of Modern Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (the latter designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in a distinctive spiral pattern). The Jewish Museum, the Museum of the American Indian, and the museum and reference library of the Hispanic Society of America specialize in cultural history.

The sciences are represented by the American Museum of Natural History, famed for its dioramas of humans and animals in natural settings and for its massive dinosaur skeletons; the Hayden Planetarium; the New York Botanical Garden and New York Zoological Society Park (Bronx Zoo), both in the Bronx. Also of interest are the Museum of the City of New York, the Museum of the New-York Historical Society, the South Street Seaport Museum, and the New York Aquarium.

The New York State Museum in Albany contains natural history collections and historical artifacts. Buffalo has several museums of note, including the Albright-Knox Art Gallery (for contemporary art), the Buffalo Museum of Science, and the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society museum.

Among the state's many other fine museums, the Everson Museum of Art (Syracuse), the Rochester Museum and Science Center, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum (Cooperstown), and the Corning Museum of Glass deserve special mention. Buffalo, New Rochelle, Rochester, Syracuse, and Utica have zoos.


New York City is the hub of the entire US communications network. Postal service was established in New York State in 1692; at the same time, the first General Letter Office was begun in New York City. By the mid-19th century, postal receipts in the state accounted for more than 20% of the US total. "Fast mail" service by train started in the 1870s, with the main routes leading from New York City to either Chicago or St. Louis via Indianapolis and Cincinnati. Mail was carried by air experimentally from Garden City to Mineola, Long Island, in 1911; the first regular airmail service in the United States started in 1917, between New York City and Washington, DC, via Philadelphia.

Telephone service in New York is provided primarily by the New York Telephone Co., but also by more than 40 smaller companies throughout the state. As of 2004, 94.5% of New York's occupied housing units had telephones. Additionally, by June of that same year there were 9,939,759 mobile wireless telephone subscribers. In 2003, 60.0% of New York households had a computer and 53.3% had Internet access. By June 2005, there were 3,188,033 high-speed lines in New York, 2,833,478 residential and 354,555 for business.

Until 31 December 1983, New York Telephone was part of the Bell System, whose parent organization was the American Telephone and Telegraph Co. (AT&T). Effective 1 January 1984, as the result of a US Justice Department antitrust suit, AT&T divested itself of 22 Bell operating companies, which regrouped into seven independent regional telephone companies to provide local telephone service in the United States. One of these companies, NYNEX, is the parent company of New York Telephone. AT&T, which continued to supply long-distance telephone services to New Yorkers (along with competitive carriers such as MCI, ITT, and GTE), is headquartered in New York City.

Domestic telegraph service is provided by the Western Union Telegraph Co., ITT World Communications, RCA Global Communications, and Western Union International. All four companies have their headquarters in New York City. New York State had 58 major AM stations and 181 major FM stations operating in 2005. New York City operates its own radio stations, WNYC-AM and FM, devoted largely to classical music and educational programming. There were 46 major television stations in the state in 2005. The city is the headquarters for most of the major US television networks, including the American Broadcasting Co. (now part of Walt Disney Corp.), Columbia Broadcasting System (owned by the Westinghouse Corp.), National Broadcasting Co. (owned by General Electric), Westinghouse Broadcasting (Group W), Metromedia, and the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). The metropolitan area's PBS affiliate, WNET (licensed in Newark, N.J.), is a leading producer of programs for the PBS network. As of 1999, the New York metropolitan area had 6,874,990 television households, 74% of which received cable. The Buffalo region had 621,460 television homes, with a 77% penetration rate.

A total of 589,963 Internet domain names were registered in the state in the year 2000; the second highest number of all states.


A pioneer in the establishment of freedom of the press, New York is the leader of the US newspaper, magazine, and book-publishing industries. The first major test of press freedom in the colonies came in 1734, when a German-American printer, John Peter Zenger, was arrested on charges of sedition and libel. In his newspaper, the New-York Weekly Journal, Zenger had published articles criticizing the colonial governor of New York. Zenger's lawyer, Andrew Hamilton, argued that because the charges in the article were true, they could not be libelous. The jury's acceptance of this argument freed Zenger and established the right of the press to criticize those in power. Two late decisions involving a New York newspaper also struck blows for press freedom. In New York Times v. Sullivan (1964), the US Supreme Court ruled that a public official could not win a libel suit against a newspaper unless he could show that its statements about him were not only false but also malicious or in reckless disregard of the truth. In 1971, the New York Times was again involved in a landmark case when the federal government triedand failedto prevent the newspaper from publishing the Pentagon Papers, a collection of secret documents concerning the war in Vietnam.

In 2005, New York had 37 morning newspapers, 23 evening papers, and 38 Sunday editions.

The following table shows leading papers in New York, with their average daily and Sunday circulations in 2005:

AlbanyTimes-Union (m,S)100,628146,464
BuffaloNews (all day,S)196,429282,618
Long IslandNewsday (m,S)481,816574,081
New York CityDaily News (m,S)715,052786,952
Post (m,S)481,860455,511
Times (m,S)1,121,0571,680,583
Wall Street Journal (m)1,780,605
RochesterDemocrat and Chronicle (m,S)166,727224,408
SyracusePost-Standard (m,S)118,926175,020

All of New York City's major newspapers have claims to fame. The Times is the nation's "newspaper of record," excelling in the publication of speeches, press conferences, and government reports. It is widely circulated to US libraries and is often cited in research. In 2005, the Times Sunday edition was the number one Sunday newspaper in the nation, based on circulation figures. The New York Post, founded in 1801, is the oldest US newspaper published continuously without change of name. The Wall Street Journal, published Monday through Friday, is a truly national paper, presenting mostly business news in four regional editions. In 2005, the Wall Street Journal, the Times, the New York Daily News, the Long Island Newsday, and the Post were among the top thirteen largest daily newspapers in the nation. Many historic New York papers first merged and thenbearing compound names like the Herald-Tribune, Journal-American, and World-Telegram & Sun Newspaper died in the 1950s and 1960s. In 2001, the Syracuse Herald-American and Herald-Journal merged to form the Post-Standard

There are two Spanish dailies published in New York City: El Diario La Prensa, with a circulation of 50,019 daily and 34,636 Sundays; and Hoy, with a circulation of 49,681 daily and 25,465 Sundays.

The leading newspaper chain is the Gannett Co., Inc. (headquarters in Virginia). Other groups include Ogden Newspapers, Inc.(West Virginia), Hearst Newspapers (New York), and Johnson Newspaper Corp. (New York). All the major news agencies have offices in New York City, and the Associated Press has its head-quarters there.

In 2005, there were 354 weekly publications in New York. Of these there are 208 paid weeklies, 53 free weeklies, and 93 combined weeklies. The total circulation of paid weeklies (1,635,143) and free weeklies (2,420,539) is 4,055,682. Two of New York City's paid weeklies, People's Weekly World and Observer ranked first and sixth, respectively, in the United States based on circulations of 67,700 and 52,000. Based on circulation in the United States in 2005, among free weeklies the Suffolk County Life Newspapers ranked second in the United States with a circulation of 548,657. The Nassau County This Week/Pennysaver (circulation 993,913) ranked seventh in the United States among shopping publications.

Many leading US magazines are published in New York City, including the newsmagazines Time and Newsweek, business journals like Fortune, Forbes, and Business Week, and hundreds of consumer and trade publications. Reader's Digest is published in Pleasantville. Two weeklies closely identified with New York are of more than local interest. While the New Yorker carries up-to-date listings of cultural events and exhibitions in New York City, the excellence of its journalism, criticism, fiction, and cartoons has long made it a literary standard-bearer for the entire nation. New York magazine influenced the writing style and graphic design of the 1960s and set the pattern for a new wave of state and local magazines that avoided boosterism in favor of independent reporting and commentary. Another weekly, the Village Voice (actually a tabloid newspaper), became the prototype for a host of alternative or "underground" journals during the 1960s.

New York City is also the center of the nation's book-publishing industry. New York publishers include McGraw-Hill, Macmillan, Simon & Schuster, and Random House; many book publishers are subsidiaries of other companies.


In 2006, there were over 25,673 nonprofit organizations registered within the state, of which about 19,427 were registered as charitable, educational, or religious organizations.

The United Nations is the best-known organization to have its headquarters in New York. The UN Secretariat, completed in 1951, remains one of the most familiar landmarks of New York City. Hundreds of US nonprofit organizations also have their national headquarters in New York City. General and service organizations operating out of New York City include the American Field Service, Boys Clubs of America, Girls Clubs of America, Girl Scouts of the USA, Young Women's Christian Associations of the USA (YWCA), and Associated YM-YWHAs of Greater New York (the Jewish equivalent of the YMCA and YWCA).

Among the cultural and educational groups of national interest are the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Authors League of America, Children's Book Council, Modern Language Association of America, and PEN American Center. State organizations include the Folk Music Society of New York, the New York Center for Books and Reading, the New York Academy of Sciences, the New York Drama Critics Circle, and the New York State Historical. The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation sponsors educational programs as well as maintaining the monument and museum. There are numerous local musical and theater groups. There are also several regional historical societies.

Among the national environmental and animal welfare organizations with headquarters in the city are the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), Friends of Animals, Fund for Animals, National Audubon Society, Bide-A-Wee Home Association, Environmental Defense Fund, and American Kennel Club. State groups include the New York City Community Garden Coalition, the New York Conservation Foundation, and the New York State Conservation Council.

Many medical, health, and charitable organizations have their national offices in New York City, including Alcoholics Anonymous, American Foundation for the Blind, National Society to Prevent Blindness, CARE, American Cancer Society, United Cerebral Palsy Associations, Child Welfare League of America, American Diabetes Association, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Muscular Dystrophy Association, and Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

Leading ethnic and religious organizations based in the city include the American Bible Society, National Conference of Christians and Jews, Hadassah, United Jewish Appeal, American Jewish Committee, American Jewish Congress, United Negro College Fund, Congress of Racial Equality, and National Urban League.

There are many commercial, trade, and professional organizations headquartered in New York City. Among the better known are the Actors' Equity Association, American Arbitration Association, American Booksellers Association, American Federation of Musicians, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, American Society of Civil Engineers, American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP), American Society of Journalists and Authors, American Insurance Association, Magazine Publishers Association, American Management Associations, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and American Institute of Physics.

Sports organizations centered in New York City include the National Football League, the American and the National Leagues of Professional Baseball Clubs, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, National Basketball Association, the Polar Bear Club-USA, and the US Tennis Association.

Influential political and international affairs groups include the American Civil Liberties Union, Council on Foreign Relations, Trilateral Commission, United Nations Association of the USA, and US Committee for UNICEF.

Virtually every other major US organization has one or more chapters within the state.


New York City is the primary travel destination in the state. In 2001, there were 35.2 million visitors to New York City, including 5.7 million international visitors. The projection for 2006 was 43.3 millions visitors to New York City. New York City alone brings in $39 billion in revenue. New York City also supported 291,977 jobs in tourism in 2004. A typical visit to New York City might include a boat ride to the Statue of Liberty; a three-hour boat ride around Manhattan; the Empire State Building, the United Nations, Rockefeller Center, and the New York Stock Exchange; walking tours of the Bronx Zoo, Chinatown, and the theater district; and a sampling of the city's many museums, restaurants, shops, and shows.

Second to New York City as a magnet for tourists comes Long Island, with its beaches, racetracks, and other recreational facilities. Attractions of the Hudson Valley include the US Military Academy (West Point), the Franklin D. Roosevelt home at Hyde Park, Bear Mountain State Park, and several wineries. North of Hudson Valley is Albany, with its massive government center, Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller Plaza, often called the Albany Mall; Saratoga Springs, home of an arts center, racetrack, and spa; and the Adirondack region, with its forest preserve, summer and winter resorts, and abundant hunting and fishing. Northwest of the Adirondacks, in the St. Lawrence River, are the Thousand Islandsactually some 1,800 small islands extending over some 50 mi (80 km) and popular among freshwater fishermen and sum-mer vacationers.

Scenic sites in central New York include the summer resorts and ski areas of the Catskills and the scenic marvels and wineries of the Finger Lakes region, including Taughannock Falls in Trumansburg, the highest waterfall east of the Rockies. Further west lie Buffalo and Niagara Falls. Niagara Falls alone attracts over 12 million visitors annually. Charter boat fishing is available on Lake Ontario. Chautauqua Lake and Allegany State Park, the state's largest, lie south of Buffalo and Niagara Falls. Elmont is the home of the Belmont race track, the third leg in the Triple Crown of thoroughbred horse racing. Motorsports fans can visit the Adirondacks International Speedway.


New York has eleven major league professional sports teams: the New York Yankees and the New York Mets of Major League Baseball; the New York Giants, the New York Jets (although the Giants' and Jets' stadiums are located in New Jersey), and the Buffalo Bills of the National Football League; the New York Knickerbockers (usually called the Knicks) of the National Basketball Association; the New York Islanders, the New York Rangers, and the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League; the New York Liberty of the Women's National Basketball Association, and Red Bull New York of Major League Soccer.

The Yankees have a record of excellence spanning most of the twentieth century. They won the American League Pennant 39 times and the World Series 26 times, most recently in 2000, when they defeated the New York Mets in five games. The series was coined the "Subway Series" because both teams were from New York City. Other championship streaks include the American League Pennant in 1927 and 1928; 193639; 194143; 194953; 195558; 196064; 19982001. In the 28 years between 1936 and 1964, the Yankees competed in 23 World Series, winning 16. The Mets have played in four World Series, winning in 1969 and 1986. The Giants won Super Bowls in 1987 and 1991, and the Jets did so in 1969 in a memorable upset victory over the Baltimore Colts. The Buffalo Bills won the American Football Conference Championship in 1991, 1992, 1993, and 1994, losing the Super Bowl each time. The Knicks won the NBA championship in 1970 and 1973, and lost in the NBA finals in 1951, 1952, 1953, 1972, 1994, and 1999. The Islanders won the Stanley Cup in 1980, 1981, 1982, and 1983. The Rangers won it in 1928, 1933, 1940, and 1994.

Three New York teams, the Nets, Giants, and Jets, moved to New Jersey during the 1970s and 1980s. The Giants and Jets remained, in name, New York teams (unlike the Nets, who are now the New Jersey Nets), although the move remains controversial. In 1987, when the Giants won the Super Bowl, then mayor of New York Ed Koch refused them the tickertape parade through the city traditionally given in honor of championship teams on the grounds that, their name notwithstanding, they are a New Jersey team.

The state also has 13 minor league baseball teams and six minor league hockey teams.

Horse racing is important to New York State, both as a sports attraction and because of the tax revenues that betting generates. The main thoroughbred racetracks are Aqueduct in Queens, Belmont in Nassau County, and the Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs. Belmont is the home of the Belmont Stakes, one of the three jewels in the Triple Crown of US racing. Saratoga Springs also has a longer harness-racing season at its Saratoga Equine Sports Center facility. Thoroughbred racing is also offered at the Finger Lakes track in Canandaigua. The top track for harness racing is Monticello Raceway (in the Catskills).

The New York City Off-Track Betting Corporation (OTB), which began operations in April 1971, takes bets on races at the state's major tracks, as well as on some out-of-state races. Off-track betting services operate on a smaller scale on Long Island and in upstate New York.

New York City hosts several major professional tennis tournaments every year, including the US Open in Flushing Meadows; the Last Minute Masters (men) in Central Park, and the Chase Championships of the WTA Tour (women) at Madison Square Garden.

Among other professional sports facilities, the Watkins Glen International automobile racetrack was, until 1980, the site of a Grand Prix race every October. It now hosts a NASCAR Nextel Cup race in August. Lake Placid, an important winter-sports region, hosted the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics, and continues to host amateur winter sports competitions, such as bobsled racing and ski jumping. New York City's Madison Square Garden is a leading venue for professional boxing and hosts many other sporting events.

In collegiate sports, basketball is perhaps most popular. Historically, the City College of New York produced many nationally ranked teams including the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) champions of 1950; in that year, they also won the National Invitational Basketball Tournament (NIT). St. John's and Syracuse have produced nationally prominent teams, including the 1989 St. John's team that won the NIT. The Syracuse Orangemen won the 2003 National Championship.

The US Military Academy at West Point (Army) won college football national championships in 1944 and 1945, and, as of 1997, ranked 12th all-time among Division I-A teams with more than 600 victories.

Hockey and lacrosse are popular sports at the collegiate level and have been well represented by New York colleges and universities. Both the Syracuse Orangemen and Cornell Big Red have captured multiple national championships on the Division-I level. Cornell has been equally successful on the ice, advancing to the Frozen Four on a number of occasions (most recently in 2003). The Big Red captured the national championship in both 1967 and 1970.

In 1978, New York became the first state to sponsor a statewide amateur athletic event, the Empire State Games. More than 50,000 athletes now compete for a place in the finals, held each summer; the Winter Games, held each February in Lake Placid, host more than 1,000.

The New York City marathon, which is held in late October or early November, has become one of the largest, most prestigious marathons in the world.

Other annual sporting events include the Adirondack Hot Air Balloon Festival in Glens Falls in September and the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York City in February. The Baseball Hall of Fame is located in Cooperstown.


New York State has been the home of five US presidents, eight US vice presidents (three of whom also became president), many statesmen of national and international repute, and a large corps of writers and entertainers.

Martin Van Buren (17821862), the eighth US president, became governor of New York in 1828. He was elected to the vice presidency as a Democrat under Andrew Jackson in 1832, and succeeded Jackson in the election of 1836. An unpopular president, Van Buren ran for reelection in 1840 but was defeated, losing even his home state. The 13th US president, Millard Fillmore (180074), was elected vice president under Zachary Taylor in 1848. He became president in 1850 when Taylor died. Fillmore's party, the Whigs, did not renominate him in 1852; four years later, he unsuccessfully ran for president as the candidate of the Native American (or Know-Nothing) Party.

Chester Alan Arthur (182986), a transplanted New Yorker born in Vermont, became the 21st US president when James Garfield was assassinated. New York's other US presidents had more distinguished careers. Although he was born in New Jersey, Grover Cleveland (18371908) served as mayor of Buffalo and as governor of New York before his election to his first presidential term in 1884; he was again elected president in 1892. Theodore Roosevelt (18581919), a Republican, was elected governor in 1898. He won election as vice president under William McKinley in 1900, and became the nation's 26th president after McKinley was murdered in 1901. Roosevelt pursued an aggressive foreign policy, but also won renown as a conservationist and trustbuster. Reelected in 1904, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906 for helping to settle a war between Russia and Japan. Roosevelt declined to run again in 1908. However, he sought the Republican nomination in 1912 and, when defeated, became the candidate of the Progressive (or Bull Moose) Party, losing the general election to Woodrow Wilson.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (18821945), a fifth cousin of Theodore Roosevelt, first ran for national office in 1920, when he was the Democratic vice-presidential choice. A year after losing that election, FDR was crippled by poliomyelitis. He then made an amazing political comeback: he was elected governor of New York in 1928 and served until 1932, when US voters chose him as their 32d president. Reelected in 1936, 1940, and 1944, FDR is the only president ever to have served more than two full terms in office. Roosevelt guided the United States through the Great Depression and World War II, and his New Deal programs greatly enlarged the federal role in promoting social welfare.

In addition to Van Buren, Fillmore, and Theodore Roosevelt, five US vice presidents were born in New York: George Clinton (17391812), who was also New York State's first elected governor; Daniel D. Tompkins (17741825); William A. Wheeler (181987); Schuyler Colfax (182385); and James S. Sherman 18551912). Two other US vice presidents, though not born in New York, were New Yorkers by the time they became vice president. The first was Aaron Burr (17561836), perhaps best known for killing Alexander Hamilton in a duel in 1804; Hamilton (b.Nevis, West Indies, 17571804) was a leading Federalist, George Washington's treasury secretary, and the only New York delegate to sign the US Constitution in 1787. The second transplanted New Yorker to become vice president was Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller (190879). Born in Maine, Rockefeller served as governor of New York State from 1959 to 1973, was for two decades a major force in national Republican politics, and was appointed vice president by Gerald Ford in 1974, serving in that office through January 1977. Alan Greenspan (b.1926), a chairman of the Federal Reserve, was born in New York City.

Two native New Yorkers have become chief justices of the United States: John Jay (17451829) and Charles Evans Hughes (18621948). A third chief justice, Harlan Fiske Stone (18721946), born in New Hampshire, spent most of his legal career in New York City and served as dean of Columbia University's School of Law. Among New Yorkers who became associate justices of the US Supreme Court, Benjamin Nathan Cardozo (18701938) is noteworthy. Ruth Bader Ginsberg (b.1933) was President Bill Clinton's first appointment to the Supreme Court.

Other federal officeholders born in New York include US secretaries of state William Henry Seward (180172), Hamilton Fish (180893), Elihu Root (18451937), Frank B. Kellogg (18561937), and Henry L. Stimson (18671950). Prominent US senators have included Robert F. Wagner (18771953), who sponsored many New Deal laws; Robert F. Kennedy (192568), who though born in Massachusetts was elected to represent New York in 1964; Jacob K. Javits (190486), who served continuously in the Senate from 1957 through 1980; and Daniel Patrick Moynihan (19272003), a scholar, author, and former federal bureaucrat who has represented New York since 1977. Colin Powell (b.1937), first African American to lead the Armed Forces, attended the City University of New York.

The most importantand most colorfulfigure in colonial New York was Peter Stuyvesant (b.Netherlands, 15921672); as director general of New Netherland, he won the hearty dislike of the Dutch settlers. Signers of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 from New York were Francis Lewis (17131803); Philip Livingston (171678); Lewis Morris (172698), the half-brother of the colonial patriot Gouverneur Morris (17521816); and William Floyd (17341821).

Other governors who made important contributions to the history of the state include DeWitt Clinton (17691828); Alfred E. Smith (18731944); Herbert H. Lehman (18781963); W. Averell Harriman (18911986), who has also held many US diplomatic posts; and Thomas E. Dewey (190271). Mario M. Cuomo (b.1932) served three terms as governor from 198294. Robert Moses (b.Connecticut, 18881981) led in the development of New York's parks and highway transportation system. One of the best-known and best-loved mayors in New York City history was Fiorello H. La Guardia (18821947), a reformer who held the office from 1934 to 1945. Edward I. Koch (b.1924) was first elected to the mayoralty in 1977.

Native New Yorkers have won Nobel prizes in every category. Winners of the Nobel Peace Prize besides Theodore Roosevelt were Elihu Root in 1912 and Frank B. Kellogg in 1929. The lone winner of the Nobel Prize for literature was Eugene O'Neill (18881953) in 1936. The chemistry prize was awarded to Irving Langmuir (18811957) in 1932, John H. Northrop (18911987) in 1946, and William Howard Stein (191180) in 1972. Winners in physics include Carl D. Anderson (b.19051991) in 1936, Robert Hofstadter (191590) in 1961, Richard Phillips Feynman (191888) and Julian Seymour Schwinger (191894) in 1965, Murray Gell-Mann (b.1929) in 1969, Leon N. Cooper (b.1930) in 1972, Burton Richter (b.1931) in 1976, and Steven Weinberg (b.1933) and Sheldon L. Glashow (b.1923) in 1979.

The following New Yorkers have been awarded the Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine: Hermann Joseph Muller (18901967) in 1946, Arthur Kornberg (b.1918) in 1959, George Wald (190697) in 1967, Marshall Warren Nirenberg (b.1927) in 1968, Julius Axelrod (19122004) in 1970, Gerald Maurice Edelman (b.1929) in 1972, David Baltimore (b.1938) in 1975, Baruch Samuel Blumberg (b.1925) and Daniel Carlton Gajdusek (b.1923) in 1976, Rosalyn Sussman Yalow (b.1921) in 1977, and Hamilton O. Smith (b.1931) in 1978.

The Nobel Prize for economic science was won by Kenneth J. Arrow (b.1921) in 1972, Milton Friedman (b.1912) in 1976, Richard Stone (192891) in 1984, and Robert Fogel (b.1926) in 1993. New York is also the birthplace of national labor leader George Meany (18941980) and economist Walter Heller (191587). Other distinguished state residents were physicist Joseph Henry (17971878), Mormon leader Brigham Young (b.Vermont, 180177), botanist Asa Gray (181088), inventor-businessman George Westinghouse (18461914), and Jonas E. Salk (191495), developer of a poliomyelitis vaccine. Melvin Schwartz (b.New York City, 1932) was a co-recipient of the 1988 Nobel prize in physics. Gertrude Belle Elion (191899), Nobel Prize winner in medicine 1988, was born in New York City. Leon Max Lederman (b.1922) was a co-recipient of the 1988 Nobel Prize in physics.

Writers born in New York include the storyteller and satirist Washington Irving (17831859); poets Walt Whitman (181992) and Ogden Nash (190271); and playwrights Eugene O'Neill (18881953), Arthur Miller (19152005), Paddy Chayefsky (192381), and Neil Simon (b.1927). Two of America's greatest novelists were New Yorkers: Herman Melville (181991), who was also an important poet, and Henry James (18431916), whose short stories are equally well known. Other novelists include James Fenimore Cooper (b.New Jersey, 17891851), Henry Miller (18911980), James Michener (190797), J(erome) D(avid) Salinger (b.1919), Joseph Heller (192399), James Baldwin (192487), and Gore Vidal (b.1925). Lionel Trilling (190575) was a well-known literary critic; Barbara Tuchman (191289), a historian, has won both scholarly praise and popular favor. New York City has produced two famous journalist-commentators, Walter Lippmann (18891974) and William F. Buckley Jr. (b.1925), and a famous journalist-broadcaster Walter Winchell (18971972).

Broadway is the showcase of American drama and the birthplace of the American musical theater. New Yorkers linked with the growth of the musical include Jerome Kern (18851945), Lorenz Hart (18951943), Oscar Hammerstein II (18951960), Richard Rodgers (190279), Alan Jay Lerner (191886), and Stephen Sondheim (b.1930). George Gershwin (18981937), whose Porgy and Bess raised the musical to its highest artistic form, also composed piano and orchestral works. Other important US composers from New York include Irving Berlin (b.Russia, 18881989), Aaron Copland (190090), Elliott Carter (b.1908), and William Schuman (191092). New York was the adopted home of ballet director and choreographer George Balanchine (b.Russia, 190483); his associate Jerome Robbins (191898) was born in New York City, as was choreographer Agnes De Mille (190593). Leaders in the visual arts include Frederic Remington (18611909), the popular illustrator Norman Rockwell (18941978), Willem de Kooning (b.Netherlands, 190497), and the photographer Margaret Bourke-White (190671).

Many of America's best-loved entertainers come from the state. A small sampling would include comedians Groucho Marx (Julius Marx, 18901977), Mae West (18921980), Eddie Cantor (Edward Israel Iskowitz, 18921964), James "Jimmy" Durante (18931980), Bert Lahr (Irving Lahrheim, 18951967), George Burns (18961996), Milton Berle (Berlinger, b.1908), Lucille Ball (19111989), Danny Kaye (David Daniel Kominsky, 191387), and Sid Caesar (b.1922); comedian-film directors Mel Brooks (Melvin Kaminsky, b.1926) and Woody Allen (Allen Konigsberg, b.1935); stage and screen stars Humphrey Bogart (18991957), James Cagney (190486), Zero Mostel (Samuel Joel Mostel, 191577), and Lauren Bacall (Betty Joan Perske, b.1924); pop, jazz, and folk singers Cab Calloway (190790), Lena Horne (b.1917), Pete Seeger (b.1919), Sammy Davis Jr. (192590), Harry Belafonte (b.1927), Joan Baez (b.1941), Barbra Streisand (b.1942), Carly Simon (b.1945), Arlo Guthrie (b.1947), Billy Joel (b.1951), and Mariah Carey, Grammy Award-winning pop singer, (b.1969); and opera stars Robert Merrill (19192004), Maria Callas (Kalogeropoulos, 192377), and Beverly Sills (Belle Silverman, b.1929). Also noteworthy are producers Irving Thalberg (18991936), David Susskind (192087), Joseph Papp (192191), and Harold Prince (b.1928) and directors George Cukor (18991983), Stanley Kubrick (192899), John Frankenheimer (19302002), Peter Bogdanovich (b.1939), and actor Tom Cruise (b.1962 in Syracuse, New York).

Among many prominent sports figures born in New York are first-baseman Lou Gehrig (190341), football coach Vince Lombardi (191370), pitcher Sanford "Sandy" Koufax (b.1935), and basketball stars Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Lew Alcindor, b.1947) and Julius Erving (b.1950). Orel Leonard Hershiser IV (b.1958), who set the record for most consecutive scoreless innings pitched, was born in Buffalo, New York.


Berrol, Selma Cantor. The Empire City: New York and Its People, 16241996. Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 1997.

Burgan, Michael. New York, 16091776. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society, 2006.

Council of State Governments. The Book of the States, 2006 Edition. Lexington, Ky.: Council of State Governments, 2006.

Cuomo, Mario M. Diaries of Mario M. Cuomo: The Campaign for Governor. New York: Random House, 1984.

Fabend, Firth Haring. Zion on the Hudson: Dutch New York and New Jersey in the Age of Revivals. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 2000.

Galie, Peter J. The New York State Constitution: A Reference Guide. New York, Greenwood Press, 1991.

. Ordered Liberty: A Constitutional History of New York. New York: Fordham University Press, 1996.

Gellman, David Nathaniel. Emancipating New York: The Politics of Slavery and Freedom, 17771827. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2006.

Hansen, Joyce, and Gary McGowan. Breaking Ground, Breaking Silence: The Story of New York's African Burial Ground. New York: Henry Holt, 1998.

Homberger, Eric. The Historical Atlas of New York City: A Visual Celebration of Nearly 400 Years of New York City's History. New York: Henry Holt, 1996.

Silbey, Joel H. Martin Van Buren and the Emergence of American Popular Politics. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2002.

Stout, Glenn. Nine Months at Ground Zero: The Story of the Brotherhood of Workers Who Took on a Job Like No Other. New York: Scribner, 2006.

Torres, Andrés. Between Melting Pot and Mosaic: African Americans and Puerto Ricans in the New York Political Economy. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1995.

US Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, US Census Bureau. New York, 2000. Summary Social, Economic, and Housing Characteristics: 2000 Census of Population and Housing. Washington, D.C.: US Government Printing Office, 2003.

New York

views updated May 29 2018


The state of New York was for a long time a leader in industry and economic prosperity. Particularly interesting is how the specific forms of New York's industry and economy have changed over the years, beginning with its days as a Dutch territory in the early 1600s.

The Dutch-employed English explorer Henry Hudson journeyed up much of the length of the present day Hudson River in 1609, giving the Netherlands the right to claim the land. The Dutch soon began to set up outposts in order to carry on the lucrative trading of animal furs with the Native Americans. More settlers arrived and founded settlements that would later become known as Albany, Schenectady, and New York City. The Dutch continued to prosper in New Netherlands until 1664 when English King Charles II gave the land to his brother, the Duke of York (later King James II). York then seized the land and placed it under English control. This was how the name New York was derived. Even under English control fur trading continued to be a major industry, as well as agriculture and lumber.

With the formation of the United States of America New York's first governor George Clinton established policies of protectionism which allowed commerce to expand. New York soon became a leading commercial power with strong dairy and textile industries. Economic expansion in New York continued in the early 1800's, attracting migrants from the surrounding states. By 1810 New York became the most populated state in the union.

Geography always played a vital role in the economy of New York. New York's many lakes and waterways helped in the transportation of goods to and from the various settlements throughout the state. In 1817 Governor De Witt Clinton (nephew of George Clinton) set about to further expand the transport system of the state with the construction of a canal. When the canal was finished in 1825 New York had an all water route from New York City to the Great Lakes. By 1831 fifty percent of U.S. imports and 27 percent of exports traveled on the canal. This led to further development and increased business in the towns along the canal and rivers such as Rochester and Utica.

Engineering projects like the Erie canal and later the railroads provided work for the large numbers of immigrants arriving from Europe. The increased labor force and improved transportation and development allowed New York to become the national leader in manufacturing.

During the period of the early Republic the guild-inspired, artisan production system of apprentice, journeyman, and master craftsman began to be circumvented by the reorganization of capital investment. The system of production in the garment trades, for one example, was transformed by a new system of subcontracting, where the employer used one experienced and well-paid "cutter" who created the cutting pattern which was simply reproduced and sewn together by women working on a piece-work basis. The result was cheap "off the rack" clothing in which productivity was very high, but wages were low and job security was minimal. In this system the apprentices and journeymen eventually lost their status and became wage-workers, while a few of the master craftsmen became entrepreneurs. This result of this was bitter class conflict within the trades which was reflected in the rise of the "Workingman's Party" in the 1830s.

This process of class differentiation was reflected in the rise of a working class culture in New York City among the children and the "factory girls" who worked in the garment district and in other quarters of the city. On the job, they were subject to the "sweating system" of piecework production. They had few rights and little job security. They did, however, evolve a sort of assertive class-defined public culture, as in the ritual promenades along the streets, especially along the bowery. The factory girl was assertive in her manner and in her "fancy" dress. As one women's historian, professor Stansell comments: "The real sin of the factory girl lay not in premarital sex, but in advertising, with her fancy clothes and assertive ways, the possibilities of a life for women outside the household. . ."

The latter half of the nineteenth century saw the rise of several industry giants. They were entrepreneurs such as John D. Rockerfeller (18391937), who created the Standard Oil Trust, and inventors like Thomas Edison, (18471931), founder of Edison Electric (later General Electric). Russell Sage was a prominent investor whose legacy lives on through the New York university that bears his name. Companies such as Westinghouse Electric and Rochester's Eastman Kodak also arose during this time period.

As the twentieth century began New York began to shift increasingly from a highly agricultural state to a manufacturing one. Industry in the second half of the nineteenth century focused around flour, sugar, and lumber. While these industries were still present in the early 1900s there was a rise in the production of machinery, metal, chemicals, and electrical equipment during this period. The fabric and garment industries also grew quickly making the factories unsafe and crowded.

New York's economic rise came to a halt in the late 1920s and early 1930s with the Great Depression (19291939). Despite legislation promoted by Franklin D. Roosevelt (18821945) while he served as New York's governor (19291932), and later U.S. president (19331945) the state did not fully recover until World War II (19391945).

During World War II New York was a major force in the nation's military industry. Huge amounts of materials important to the war effort flowed out of the state's major cities. Manufacturing centers like Buffalo, New York City, and Schenectady all contributed to the war effort, not to mention the help of many smaller communities. New York's role as a center of the defense industry would be repeated in the Korean War (19501975), and the Vietnam War (19591975).

New York went through an economic recession in the early 1980s. The state's top industries shifted again, moving from manufacturing to services. Financial services were growing rapidly as New York City banks rose among the state's largest employers. Approximately one million jobs were added to the state's economy between 1980 and 1990 and New York's per capita income hit $21,073 in 1990, at the time, fifth highest in the nation.

In 1994 Republican George Pataki became the governor of New York and began to foster policies with the goal of improving the state's economy. Tax breaks were offered as a means of encouraging businesses to move into the state. In 1996 per capita income rose to fourth place out of the fifty states, and the total personal non-farm income reached $520 billion, second only to California.

New York's economy has varied greatly, centering around agriculture and lumber in its early years, moving into manufacturing and machinery during the Industrial Revolution, and then changing over to services and retail. Regardless of what the major industry might have been the state's economic growth and success earned New York its nickname as the Empire State.

See also: Erie Canal, New Netherlands, Standard Oil, Tenements


Berrol, Selma Cantor. The Empire City: New York and Its People, 16241996. Westport, CN: Praeger, 1997.

Galie, Peter J. Ordered Liberty: A Constitutional History of New York. New York: Fordham University Press, 1996.

Homberger, Eric The Historical Atlas of New York City: A Visual Celebration of Nearly 400 Years of New York City's History. New York: H. Holt and Co., 1996.

League of Women Voters of New York State. A Guide to the New York State Government. Edited by Mary Jo Fairbanks. Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y.: Policy Studies Association, 1995.

Torres, Andreas. Between Melting Pot and Mosaic: African Americans and Puerto Ricans in the New York Political Economy. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1995.

New York

views updated May 14 2018

New York State in ne USA, bounded by the Canadian border, the Great Lakes, the Atlantic Ocean and three New England states; the capital is Albany. New York City is by far the largest city in the state. Much of the state is mountainous, the Adirondack Mountains (ne) and Catskills (se) being the principal ranges. The w consists of a rolling plateau sloping down to Lake Ontario and the St Lawrence valley. The Hudson and its tributary, the Mohawk, are the chief rivers. Henry Hudson discovered New York Bay in 1609, and sailed up the river that bears his name. The New Netherland colony was established in the Hudson valley. In 1664, the British seized the colony and renamed it New York. It was one of the 13 original states of the Union. The opening of the Erie Canal in 1825 was an enormous stimulus to New York's growth. Throughout US history its economic strength and large population have given it great influence in national affairs. Agricultural produce is varied. New York is the leading manufacturing and commercial state in the USA. Industries: clothing, machinery, chemicals, electrical equipment, paper, optical instruments. Area: 127,190sq km (49,108sq mi). Pop. (2000) 18,976,457.

Statehood :

July 26, 1788

Nickname :

The Empire State

State bird :


State flower :


State tree :

Sugar maple

State motto :

Ever upward

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New York (state)