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The State of New York

New York City
New York City

Wow! New York! Diversity and contrast, that's New York. The thunderous and spectacular Niagara Falls, the rugged mountains of the Adirondacks, the enchanting Catskills, all the lakes great and small, the Hudson River, and Fire Island -- the variety and range of natural amenities is awesome! And born of this state... the one and only Michael Jordan!

And then, there's the city, the Big Apple...

New York City, the one and only. Shop on Fifth Avenue, feel the excitement of Times Square, the world of Wall Street, the vitality of Carnegie Hall. See the city from atop the Empire State Building, and feel the emotion of history and the hope of the future at the Statue of Liberty. Magnificent New York!

The month of May marks the anniversary of the opening of the Empire State Building on May 1, 1931 at 11:15am. It was the tallest building in the world for 40 years.


New York was named by the British to honor the Duke of York and Albany, the brother of England's King Charles II, when New Amsterdam was taken from the Dutch in 1664. New York became the name of the state and the city.


Niagra Falls
Niagra Falls: American Falls & Horsehoe Falls

The Empire State

New York is called "The Empire State" because of its wealth and variety of resources. This nickname appeared on New York license plates from 1951 through the mid-1960s. In 2001, "The Empire State" legend returned to New York license plates.

The Excelsior State

This nickname comes from the motto of New York; "Excelsior." New York's motto means "ever upward."

The Knickerbocker State

This nickname comes from the pants worn by early Dutch settlers in New York. "Knickerbocker" is a German term made up of two words. "Knicker" means box and "bock" is a male goat. This term was promoted in Washington Irving's character, Diedrich Knickerbocker in "Knickerbocker History of New York."


People who live in New York or who come from New York are called New Yorkers.


New York State Quarter
United States Mint Image

The first state quarter of 2001 belongs to New York, the eleventh state to enter the union in 1788. The eleven states of the time are represented by eleven stars.

The Statue of Liberty, superimposed over an outlining of New York state, is shown as the "Gateway To Freedom" celebrating the Empire State as a point of entry for millions of immigrants seeking the political freedom and democracy that American citizenship provides. Lines tracing the Hudson River and Erie Canal are etched into the state's outline. These two important waterways were not included in the original design. They were added at Governor Pataki's request to pay tribute to their importance in the state's development.

For more about the state commemorative quarters, visit this page.

This 50 State Quarter Map is a great way to collect and display all 50 State Quarters.


Shankle, George Earlie. State Names, Flags, Seals, Songs, Birds, Flowers, and Other Symbols. Irvine, Calif.: Reprint Services Corp, Revised edition, 1971.
Shearer, Benjamin F. and Barbara S. State Names, Seals, Flags and Symbols: A Historical Guide Third Edition, Revised and Expanded. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 3 Sub edition, 2001.

Additional Information

New York (From Sea to Shining Sea)
New York
Kristin Cotter

New York (From Sea to Shining Sea), by Kristin Cotter. 80 pages. Publisher: Scholastic Library Publishing (September 2002) Reading level: Grades 3-5. Presents information about New York's people, geography, history, landmarks, natural resources, government, state capitol, towns and cities, and more.

New York (World Almanac Library of the States)
New York
Jackie Ball
Kristen Behrens

New York (World Almanac Library of the States), by Jackie Ball and Kristen Behrens. 48 pages. Gareth Stevens Publishing (January 2002) Reading level: Grades 4-6. Filled with the most up-to-date information, including the latest Census results. Full-color photos bring to life the story of New York. In addition to an in-depth factual profile of New York in the form of a state Almanac, this book offers fascinating and lively discussions of the state's history, people, geography, government, economy, culture, and lifestyles. A section on Notable People, a calendar of events, and enough primary source documents, time lines, maps, and other tools to make this unquestionably the best young adult reference material on the USA available anywhere.

New York State: Gateway to America
New York State
Gateway to America

New York State: Gateway to America, by David M. Ellis & Sherri Goldstein Cash. 332 pages. Publisher: American Historical Press (October 2008) A concise yet comprehensive history of New York state history. Includes timelines and reproduction photographs and advertisements, both black and white and full-color. Particular focus on the growth of commerce in the state.

New York
New York
Ric Burns

New York, Produced by Ric Burns. Run Time: 1050 minutes. Format: Box set, Color, DVD, NTSC. Burns mixes striking archival footage with carefully chosen talking heads to tell his stories, focusing mainly on individuals whose lives shaped the New York of their times, as well as the seismic shifts -- physical, cultural, and political -- that redefined life in the city. Just as Horton Foote set scenes in The Civil War, much of New York benefits from scholarly observations by historians including Mike Wallace (Gotham) and Robert A. Caro (The Power Broker). David Ogden Stiers narrates, and other familiar voices (Eli Wallach, Susan Sarandon) read passages from literature inspired by the city. Cinematographers Buddy Squires and Allen Moore contribute breathtaking, contemporary aerial shots of the city, sometimes using time-lapse photography to beautiful effect.

The Encyclopedia of New York City
The Encyclopedia
of New York City

The Encyclopedia of New York City, edited by Kenneth T. Jackson. 1392 pages. Publisher: Yale University Press; First Edition/First Printing edition (September 26, 1995) Everything you've ever wanted to know about the nation's most fascinating city is now available in this authoritative and entertaining one-volume encyclopedia. The only comprehensive reference work on New York City ever compiled, it covers subjects throughout the five boroughs from prehistory to the present.

The book consists of more than 4000 entries in alphabetical order by more than 650 contributors, along with 680 illustrations and maps, some drawn especially for the encyclopedia. Among the topics covered by the encyclopedia are architecture, government and politics, business, religion, weather, the arts, education, transport, the law, science and medicine, and sports and recreation. Entries reflect the city's colorful inhabitants, past and present, describing a wide range of neighborhoods and immigrant groups as well as such varied figures as Bella Abzug, Woody Allen, Mother Cabrini, Lou Gehrig, Emma Goldman, John Gotti, Billie Holiday, Langston Hughes, Donna Karan, Captain Kidd, Miguel Piñero, Adam Clayton Powell, Nelson Rockefeller, Big Tim Sullivan, and Andy Warhol.

The encyclopedia displays the richness and diversity of New York City as they have never before been documented. Overseen by an editorial board composed of distinguished scholars and experts and edited by one of the leading urban historians in the nation, it is an indispensable resource for residents and visitors alike.

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