State of New York - NY

New York is a state in the northeastern United States. It is sometimes called New York State when there is need to distinguish it from New York City. Because a significant majority of the population is concentrated in the southern portion around New York City, the state is often regionalized into Upstate and Downstate. New York is also the home of Ellis Island, where many immigrants to the United States in the early 20th century first arrived.

Map of New York - PDF New York's borders touch (clockwise from the northwest) two Great Lakes (Erie and Ontario, which are connected by the Niagara River); one former Great Lake (Lake Champlain); the provinces of Ontario and Quebec in Canada; three New England states (Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut); the Atlantic Ocean, and two Mid-Atlantic states (New Jersey and Pennsylvania). In addition, Rhode Island shares a water border with New York.

New York is also the site of the only extra-territorial enclave within the boundaries of the U.S., the United Nations compound on Manhattan's East River.

The southern tip of New York State—New York City, its suburbs including Long Island, and the southern portion of the Hudson Valley—can be considered to form the central core of a "megalopolis," a super-city stretching from the northern suburbs of Boston to the southern suburbs of Washington D.C. in Virginia and therefore occasionally called "BosWash". First described by Jean Gottmann in 1961 as a new phenomenon in the history of world urbanization, the megalopolis is characterized by a coalescence of previous already-large cities of the Eastern Seaboard: a heavy specialization on tertiary activity related to government, trade, law, education, finance, publishing and control of economic activity; plus a growth pattern not so much of more population and more area as more intensive use of already existing urbanized area and ever more sophisticated links from one specialty to another. Several other groups of megalopolis-type super-cities exist in the world, but that centered around New York City was the first described and still is the best example.

While the state is best known for New York City's urban atmosphere, especially Manhattan's skyscrapers, most of the state is in fact dominated by farms, forests, rivers, mountains, and lakes. New York's Adirondack State Park is larger than any U.S. National Park outside of Alaska. Niagara Falls, on the Niagara River as it flows from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario, is a popular attraction. The Hudson River begins with Lake Tear of the Clouds and flows south through the eastern part of the state without draining Lakes George or Champlain. Lake George empties at its north end into Lake Champlain, whose northern end extends into Canada, where it drains into the Richelieu and then the St Lawrence Rivers. Four of New York City's five boroughs are on the three islands at the mouth of the Hudson River: Manhattan Island, Staten Island, and Long Island.

"Upstate" is a common term for New York State counties north of suburban Westchester, Rockland and Dutchess counties. Upstate New York typically includes the Catskill and Adirondack Mountains, the Shawangunk Ridge, the Finger Lakes and the Great Lakes in the west; and Lake Champlain, Lake George, and Oneida Lake in the northeast; and rivers such as the Delaware, Genesee, Mohawk, and Susquehanna. The highest elevation in New York is Mount Marcy in the Adirondacks.

Main article: History of New York
The area was long inhabited by the Lenape; Lenape in canoes met Giovanni da Verrazzano, the first European explorer to enter New York Harbor, in 1524. Giovanni da Verrazzano named this place New Angouleme (Nouvelle Angoulême in french) in the honor of the French king Francis I ('François 1er' in french). (Believed to be after this event) A French explorer and mapper, Samuel de Champlain, described his explorations through New York in 1608. A year later Henry Hudson, an Englishman working for the Dutch, claimed the area in the name of the Netherlands. It was to be called New Netherlands.

Early settlement
The first European settlers in the area now known as the State of New York were Dutch settlers in the colony known as New Netherlands beginning in 1613. Much like what was later known as New York City was then New Amsterdam. The Dutch settlers purchased the lands from the Indians (a practice unlike the majority of other European settlers who relied on other theories such as conquest or discovery to claim ownership), having the effect of marginalizing the aboriginal inhabitants who had been living there since the Pleistocene epoch. The English traded the modern-day country of Suriname for New Amsterdam in 1664; they renamed it New York, after the Duke of York, the future King James II. On November 1, 1683, the government was reorganized. The colony, then called the Province of New York, was divided into twelve counties, each of which was subdivided into towns. The territory of New York extended much farther than present-day New York State, having no official western boundary other than the Pacific Ocean. Two of New York's eastern coastal counties, Cornwall and Dukes, later became parts of Massachusetts and Maine. Counties were also ceded to Vermont before Vermont entered the Union in 1791.

New York was one of the original thirteen colonies that became the United States. It was the eleventh state to ratify the United States Constitution, on July 26, 1788.

An early Dutch map of the Hudson river valley c. 1635 (North is to the right)The Dutch, who began to establish trading-posts on the Hudson River in 1613, claimed jurisdiction over the territory between the Connecticut and the Delaware Rivers, which they called New Netherlands. The government was vested in "The United New Netherland Company," chartered in 1614, and then in "The Dutch West India Company," chartered in 1622.

In 1649, a convention of the settlers petitioned the "Lords States-General of the United Netherlands" to grant them "suitable burgher government, such as their High Mightinesses shall consider adapted to this province, and resembling somewhat the government of our Fatherland," with certain permanent privileges and exemptions, that they might pursue "the trade of our country, as well along the coast from Terra Nova to Cape Florida as to the West Indies and Europe, whenever our Lord God shall be pleased to permit."

The directors of the West India Company resented this attempt to shake their rule and wrote their director and council at New Amsterdam: "We have already connived as much as possible at the many impertinences of some restless spirits, in the hope that they might be shamed by our discreetness and benevolence, but, perceiving that all kindnesses do not avail, we must, therefore, have recourse to God to Nature and the Law. We accordingly hereby charge and command your Honors whenever you shall certainly discover any Clandestine Meetings, Conventicles or machinations against our States government or that of our country that you proceed against such malignants in proportion to their crimes."{{{author}}}, {{{title}}}, [[{{{publisher}}}]], [[{{{date}}}]].

These grants embraced all the lands between the west bank of the Connecticut River and the east bank of the Delaware River.

The Duke of York previously purchased, in 1663, the grant of Long Island and other islands on the New England coast made in 1635 to the Earl of Stirling, and, in 1664, he equipped an armed expedition which took possession of New Amsterdam, which was thenceforth called New York. This conquest was confirmed by the treaty of Breda, in July 1667. In July 1673, a Dutch fleet recaptured New York and held it until it was restored to the English by the treaty of Westminster in February, 1674.

The New York constitution was based on its colonial charter. This constitution was framed by a convention which assembled at White Plains, New York on July 10, 1776, and after repeated adjournments and changes of location, terminated its labors at Kingston, New York on Sunday evening, April 20, 1777, when the constitution was adopted with but one dissenting vote. It was not submitted to the people for ratification. It was drafted by John Jay. (Verified from "Journals of the Provincial Congress, Provincial Convention Committee of Safety and Council of Safety of the State of New York, 1775, 1776 1777, vol. I. Albany: Printed by Thurlow Weed, printer to the State 1964." pp. 892-898.)

This constitution was a combination document, containing its Declaration of Independence from Great Britain, and its Constitutional Law. It called for a weak bicameral legislature and a strong executive branch. It retained provisions from the colonial charter such as the substantial property qualification for voting and the ability of the governor to disband the elected legislature. This imbalance of power between the branches of state government kept the elite firmly in control, and disenfranchised most New Yorkers who would fight the Revolutionary War. Slavery was legal in New York until 1827.

Under this constitution, the Assembly had a provision for a maximum of 70 Members, with the following apportionment:

For the city (at the time, New York City included only what is today Manhattan) and county of New York, nine.
The city and county of Albany, ten
The county of Dutchess, seven.
The county of Westchester, six.
The county of Ulster, six.
The county of Suffolk (eastern Long Island), five.
The county of Queens (Now Queens and Nassau Counties), four.
The county of Orange (Now Orange and Rockland Counties), four.
The county of Kings (Brooklyn), two.
The county of Richmond (Staten Island), two.
Tryon County (Now Montgomery County), six.
Charlotte County (Now Washington County.), four.
Cumberland County (Partitioned January 15, 1777 for the creation of the State of Vermont.), three.
Gloucester County (Partitioned January 15, 1777 for the creation of the State of Vermont.), two.
This apportionment was to stand unchanged until a period of seven years from the end of the Revolution had expired, whereupon a census was held to correct the apportionment.

On the subject of Disenfranchisement, Article VII of the new constitution had the following to say:

VII. That every male inhabitant of full age, who shall have personally resided within one of the counties of this State for six months immediately preceding the day of election, shall, at such election, be entitled to vote for representatives of the said county in assembly; if, during the time aforesaid, he shall have been a freeholder, possessing a freehold of the value of twenty pounds, within the said county, or have rented a tenement therein of the yearly value of forty shillings, and been rated and actually paid taxes to this State: Provided always, That every person who now is a freeman of the city of Albany, or who was made a freeman of the city of New York on or before the fourteenth day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five, and shall be actually and usually resident in the said cities, respectively, shall be entitled to vote for representatives in assembly within his said place of residence.

For more information on this constitution, see: New York State Constitutions

Westward expansion
The western part of New York had been settled by the six nations of the Iroquois Confederacy for at least 500 years before Europeans came. The Iroquois had maintained the area between Seneca and Cayuga Lakes as a grassland prairie, which abounded in wild game including grazing American Bison herds. In colonial times, the Iroquois were prosperously growing corn, vegetables and orchards, and keeping cows and hogs; fish were also abundant.

The colonial charter of New York granted unlimited westward expansion. Massachusetts' charter had the same provision, causing territorial disputes between the colonies and with the Iroquois. During the revolution, four of the Iroquois nations fought on the side of the British, with one exception the Oneidas. In 1779, Major General John Sullivan was sent to defeat the Iroquois. The Sullivan Expedition moved northward through the Finger Lakes and Genesee Country, burning all the Iroquois communities and destroying their crops and orchards. Refugees fled to Fort Niagara where they spent the following winter in hunger and misery. Hundreds died of exposure, hunger and disease. After the war, many moved to Canada.

For the Oneida nation's assistance in defeating the British, primarily assisting General Washington's army at Valley Forge, then President Washington while on tour of the Mohawk Valley signed the Treaty of Canandaigua. This Treaty promised the Oneidas among other things a large swath of land from Pennsylvania to Canada, forever. The Treaty was violated in the mid-1800's by New York State. This became the basis for the present land claim dispute.

The Erie Canal is perhaps the most important development in New York state history.Transportation in western New York was difficult before canals were built in the early part of the nineteenth century. The Hudson and Mohawk Rivers could be navigated only as far as Central New York. While the St. Lawrence River could be navigated to Lake Ontario, the way westward to the other Great Lakes was blocked by Niagara Falls, and so the only route to western New York was over land. Governor DeWitt Clinton strongly advocated building a canal to connect the Hudson River with Lake Erie, and thus all the Great Lakes. Work commenced in 1817, and the Erie Canal was finished in 1825. The canal opened up vast areas of New York to commerce and settlement, and enabled port cities such as Buffalo to grow and prosper. The Welland Canal was completed in 1833, bypassing Niagara Falls to connect Lakes Ontario and Erie.

Sullivan's men returned from the campaign to Pennsylvania and New England to tell of the enormous wealth of this new territory. Many of them were given land grants in gratitude for their service in the Revolution. From 1786 through 1797 several groups of wealthy land speculators entered into agreements with one another, with neighboring states, and with the Indians to obtain title to vast tracts of land in western New York. Some purchases of Iroquois lands are the subject of numerous modern-day land claims by the individual nations of the six nations.

New York population distributionHistorical populations
Census Pop. %±


1790 340,120
1800 589,051 73.2%
1810 959,049 62.8%
1820 1,372,851 43.1%
1830 1,918,608 39.8%
1840 2,428,921 26.6%
1850 3,097,394 27.5%
1860 3,880,735 25.3%
1870 4,382,759 12.9%
1880 5,082,871 16.0%
1890 5,997,853 18.0%
1900 7,268,894 21.2%
1910 9,113,614 25.4%
1920 10,385,227 14.0%
1930 12,588,066 21.2%
1940 13,479,142 7.1%
1950 14,830,192 10.0%
1960 16,782,304 13.2%
1970 18,236,967 8.7%
1980 17,558,072 -3.7%
1990 17,990,455 2.5%
2000 18,976,457 5.5%
2005 est. 19,254,630 1.5%
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of 2005, New York was the third largest state in population after California and Texas, with an estimated population of 19,254,630 [2], which is an increase of 27,542, or 0.1%, from the prior year and an increase of 277,809, or 1.5%, since the year 2000. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 527,876 people (that is 1,345,482 births minus 817,606 deaths) and a decrease from net migration of 334,093 people out of the state. Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 667,007 people, and migration within the country produced a net loss of about 502,155. New York is said to be the slowest growing large state. However, current statistics estimate that by 2050, New York's population will be 20.8 milllion, yet this will still be behind California, Texas and Florida. New York has experienced a downfall in jobs, but with government help, the state's people who once left are now returning. For example, the New York government has recently noticed that housing prices in and around New York City are rapidly dropping; by 2010, it is expected that they will have dropped by 11.3% since 2006.

Racial and ancestral makeup
Demographics of New York (csv)
By race White Black AIAN Asian NHPI
AIAN is American Indian or Alaskan Native - NHPI is Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
2000 (total population) 75.62% 18.39% 0.95% 6.27% 0.17%
2000 (hispanic only) 12.30% 2.65% 0.31% 0.14% 0.07%
2005 (total population) 74.98% 18.26% 0.99% 7.18% 0.19%
2005 (hispanic only) 13.31% 2.66% 0.32% 0.15% 0.07%
Growth 2000-2005 (total population) 0.62% 0.74% 5.06% 16.18% 15.92%
Growth 2000-2005 (non-hispanic only) -1.17% 0.57% 5.47% 16.35% 16.88%
Growth 2000-2005 (hispanic only) 9.81% 1.72% 4.23% 8.64% 14.40%

According to 2004 estimate, 20.4% of the population was foreign-born.

The factual accuracy of this article or section is disputed.

Please see the relevant discussion on the talk page.

The top ancestry groups in New York are African American (15.8%), Italian (14.4%), Hispanics (14.2%), Irish (12.9%), and German (11.1%),

New York contains the country's largest Puerto Rican population (concentrated in the Bronx) and Dominican population (concentrated in Upper Manhattan). Brooklyn and the Bronx are home to many African-Americans and Queens has a large population of Latin-American origin, as well as the state's largest Asian-American population.

New York ethnic distributionThe 2000 Census revealed which ancestries were in which counties. Italian-Americans make up the largest ancestral group in Staten Island and Long Island, followed by Irish-Americans. Manhattan's leading ancestry group is Irish-Americans, followed by Italian-Americans. Albany and southeast-central New York are heavily Irish-American and Italian-American. In Buffalo and western New York, German-Americans are the largest group; in the northern tip of the state, French-Canadians.

6.5% of New York's population were reported as under 5 years of age, 24.7% under 18, and 12.9% were 65 or older. Females made up approximately 51.8% of the population.

The bulk of New York's population lives within two hours of New York City. According to the July 1, 2004 Census Bureau Estimate[3], New York City and its six closest New York State satellite counties (Suffolk, Nassau, Westchester, Rockland, Putnam and Orange) have a combined population of 12,626,200 people, or 65.67% of the state's population.

New York State has a higher number of Italian-Americans than any other U.S. state.

As of 2006, the religious affiliations of New York citizens were as follows:

Religion Percentage of citizens with this religious affiliation
Protestant 40.0%
Roman Catholic 38.9%
Baptist 7.3%
Methodist 6.1%
Episcopal 5.5%
Presbyterian 3.2%
Non-religious 17.9%
Jewish 3.4%
Muslim 2.4%

Protestants are mainly concentrated in and around New York City. In terms of race, almost 50% of Blacks are Protestant, 35% of Whites, 10% of Chinese, and 29% of Korean Americans. Catholics are mostly of Irish, French, Hispanic and Italian descent, while many others are Black and others are Asian. The Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan contains the shrine and burial place of Saint Frances Xavier, Cabrini (Mother Cabrini), the patron saint of immigrants.

Important cities and towns
New York City is both the largest city in the United States, and home to over two-fifths of the population of the entire state. Albany is the state capital, and the Town of Hempstead is its largest civil township.

New York City. New York City at night.See also: List of cities in New York and Administrative divisions of New York
Its major cities and towns are:

Grand Island
Mount Vernon
New York City
Niagara Falls
White Plains

Main article: Economy of New York City
The New York State Quarter released in 2001. The State shape, Statue of Liberty, Hudson River and Erie Canal are all highlighted on it. Eleven stars represent it's being the 11th state into the Union.New York City dominates the economy of the state. It is the leading center of banking, finance and communication in the United States and is the location of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on Wall Street, Manhattan. Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that in 2004, the total gross state product was $963.5 billion[4], ranking 3rd behind California and Texas. If New York were a nation, it would rank as the 16th largest economy in the world, behind South Korea. The state economy grew 3.3%, slightly slower than the 3.5% growth rate for the US. It was the 25th fastest growing economy in the US in 2005. Its 2005 per capita personal income was $40,507,an increase of 5.9% from 2004, placing it 5th in the nation behind Maryland, and 8th in the world behind Ireland. New York's agricultural outputs are dairy products, cattle and other livestock, vegetables, nursery stock, and apples. Its industrial outputs are printing and publishing, scientific instruments, electric equipment, machinery, chemical products, and tourism.

Many of the world's largest corporations locate their headquarter's home offices in Manhattan or in nearby Westchester County, New York. The state also has a large manufacturing sector which includes printing and the production of garments, furs, railroad rolling stock, and bus line vehicles. Some industries are concentrated in upstate locations also, such as ceramics (the southern tier of counties), microchips and nanotechnology(Albany), and photographic equipment (Rochester).

The Unisphere from The 1964 World's Fair in Queens.There is a moderately large saltwater commercial fishery located along the Atlantic side of Long Island. The principal catches by value are clams, lobsters, squid, and flounder. There used to be a large oyster fishery in New York waters as well, but at present, oysters comprise only a small portion of the total value of seafood harvested. Perhaps the best known aspect of the fishing sector is the famous Fulton Fish Market in New York City, which distributes not only the New York catch but imported seafood from all over the world. The Fulton Fish Market has been moved from Fulton Street in Manhattan to The Bronx.

New York's mining sector is concentrated in three areas. The first is near New York City. Primarily, this area specializes in construction materials for the many projects in the city, but it also contains the emery mines of Westchester County, one of two locations in the U.S. where that mineral is extracted. The second area is the Adirondack Mountains. This is an area of very specialized products, including talc, industrial garnets, and zinc. It should be noted that the Adirondacks are not part of the Appalachian system, despite their location, but are structurally part of the mineral-rich Canadian Shield. In the inland southwestern part of the state, in the Allegheny Plateau, is a region of drilled wells. The only major liquid output at present is salt in the form of brine; however, there are also small to moderate petroleum reserves in this area.

New York exports a wide variety of goods such as foodstuffs, commodities, minerals, manufactured goods, cut diamonds, and automobile parts. New York's top 5 export markets in 2004 were Canada ($30.2 billion), United Kingdom ($3.3 billion), Japan ($2.6 billion), Israel ($2.4 billion), and Switzerland ($1.8 billion). New York's largest imports are oil, gold, aluminum, natural gas, electricity, rough diamonds, and lumber.

Canada has become a very important economic partner of New York. 23% of the state's total worldwide exports went to Canada in 2004. Tourism from the north is also a large part of the economy. Canadians spent US$487M in 2004 while visiting the state. This figure is predicted to increase due to the stronger Canadian dollar.

Dairy farm near Oxford, New York, July 2001.New York State is an agricultural leader, ranking within the top five states for agricultural products including dairy, apples, cherries, cabbages, potatoes, onions, maple syrup and many others. The state is the largest producer of cabbage in the U.S. The state has about a quarter of its land in farms and produced US$3.4 billion in agricultural products in 2001. The south shore of Lake Ontario provides the right mix of soils and microclimate for many apple, cherry, plum, pear and peach orchards. Apples are also grown in the Hudson Valley and near Lake Champlain. The south shore of Lake Erie and the southern Finger Lakes hillsides have many vineyards. New York is the nation's third-largest grape-producing state, behind California, and second largest wine producer by volume. In 2004, New York's wine and grape industry brought US$6 billion into the state economy. The state has 30,000 acres (120 km²) of vineyards, 212 wineries, and produced 200 million bottles of wine in 2004.

New York was heavily glaciated in the ice age leaving much of the state with deep, fertile, though somewhat rocky soils. Row crops, including hay, corn, wheat, oats, barley, and soybeans, are grown. Particularly in the western part of the state, sweet corn, peas, carrots, squash, cucumbers and other vegetables are grown. The Hudson and Mohawk Valleys are known for pumpkins and blueberries. The glaciers also left numerous swampy areas, which have been drained for the rich humus soils called muckland which is mostly used for onions, potatoes, celery and other vegetables. Dairy farms are present throughout much of the state. Cheese is a major product, often produced by Amish or Mennonite farm cheeseries. New York is rich in nectar-producing plants and is a major honey-producing state. The honeybees are also used for pollination of fruits and vegetables. Most commercial beekeepers are migratory, taking their hives to southern states for the winter. Most cities have Farmers' markets which are well supplied by local farmers.

New York boasts the most extensive and one of the oldest transportation infrastructures in the country. Engineering difficulties because of the terrain of the state and the unique issues of the city brought on by urban crowding have had to be overcome since the state was young. Population expansion of the state generally followed the path of the early waterways, first the Hudson River and then the Erie Canal. Today, railroad lines and the New York State Thruway follow the same general route. The New York State Department of Transportation is often criticized for how they maintain the roads of the state in certain areas. The New York State Thruway Authority is also criticized for the fact that the tolls collected along the roadway have long passed their original purpose.

Besides New York City, many of the other cities have urban and regional public transportation. Syracuse is the smallest city in the U.S. to have a commuter rail line, known as OnTrack. Buffalo also has a lightrailsystem, and Rochester had a subway system, although it is mostly destroyed. Only a small part exists under the old Erie Canal Aquaduct.

The New York City Subway is the largest rapid transit system in the country, and among the largest in the world.Further information: Transportation in New York

New York City
New York City is home to the most complex and extensive transportation network in the United States, with more than 12,000 iconic yellow cabs,[1] 120,000 daily bicyclists,[2] a massive subway system, bus and railroad systems, immense airports, landmark bridges and tunnels, ferry service and even an aerial commuter tramway. About one in every three users of mass transit in the United States and two-thirds of the nation's rail riders live in New York and its suburbs.

Portions of the transportation system are intermodal, allowing travelers to easily switch from one mode of transportation to another. One of the most notable examples is AirTrain JFK which allows rail passengers to travel directly to terminals at Kennedy Airport.

Many suburban commuter railroad lines enter and leave New York City, including the Long Island Rail Road, MTA Metro-North, the PATH system and many of NJTransit's rail services.

Further information: Transportation in New York City

Law and government
The neutrality of this section is disputed.
Please see the discussion on the talk page .
New York State Capitol Building.As in all fifty states, the head of the executive branch of government is a Governor. The legislative branch is called the Legislature and consists of a Senate and an Assembly. Unlike most states, the New York electoral law permits electoral fusion, and New York ballots tend to have, in consequence, a larger number of parties on them, some being permanent minor parties that seek to influence the major parties and others being ephemeral parties formed to give major-party candidates an additional line on the ballot.

New York's legislative process is notoriously dysfunctional.[5] The Assembly has long been controlled by the Democrats, the Senate has long been controlled by the Republicans, and there is little change in membership in elections. From 1984 through 2004, no budget was passed on time, and for many years the legislature was unable to pass legislation for which there was supposed to be a consensus, such as reforming the so-called Rockefeller drug laws.

The state has a strong imbalance of payments with the federal government. New York State receives 82 cents in services for every $1 it sends to Washington in taxes. The state ranks near the bottom, in 42nd place, in federal spending per tax dollar.

In 2002, 16,892 bills were introduced in the New York legislature, more than twice as many as in the Illinois General Assembly, whose members are the second most prolific. Of those bills, only 4% (693) actually became law, the lowest passing percentage in the country. In 2004, over 17,000 bills were introduced.

New York's legislature also has more paid staff (3,428) than any other legislature in the nation. Pennsylvania, whose staff is the second largest, only has 2,947, and California only 2,359. New York's legislature also has more committees than any other legislature in the nation.

New York's subordinate political units are its 62 counties. Other officially incorporated governmental units are towns, cities, and villages.

Many of New York's public services are carried out by public benefit corporations, frequently known as authorities or development corporations. The most famous examples are probably the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which oversees New York City's subway, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (actually a bi-state agency). Some of New York's public benefit corporations have come under fire in recent years. The New York Times, for instance, has come to see many of them as obsolete and wasteful, even going so far as to refer to them as a shadow government. Far from unique to New York State, and actually fairly common in English-speaking countries, public benefit corporations give the state the opportunity to carry out economic goals and infrastructure maintenance while making risky investments that don't put the state's credit on the line.

For decades, it has been the established practice for the state to pass legislation for some meritorious project, but then mandate county and municipal government to actually pay for it. New York State has its counties pay a higher percentage of welfare costs than any other state, and New York State is the only state which requires counties to pay a portion of Medicaid.

The court system in New York is often cited as assigning unintuitive names to its courts: the New York Supreme Court, which people often assume is "supreme" in the same sense as the Supreme Court of the United States, is not the highest court in the state (the New York Court of Appeals is). The reason for the apparently contradictory name is that the New York Supreme Court is the highest trial court—the highest court of general jurisdiction—in the state. Higher courts are classified as appeals courts. Local courts in towns and villages are called Justice Courts. These courts are the starting point for all criminal cases outside cities, and handle a variety of other matters including small claims, traffic ticket cases and local zoning matters. Along with the unusual names for the courts, judges in Supreme Court and the Justice Courts are called Justices, while on the Court of Appeals (and in other courts such as Family Court, County Court, and Surrogates Court), they are called Judges.

In most of New York State, political divisions such as cities are contained within counties. Those living outside of cities in New York State automatically live inside towns. Towns, which are county divisions in New York State with governments of their own, can also contain villages, which are roughly comparable to what is thought of as a town in most of the United States; that is, villages are small incorporated municipalities with limited taxation powers. Towns in New York State, on the other hand, are organizationally more like New England townships. In 1898, when New York City was consolidated into its present form, all previous town and county governments within it were abolished in favor of the present five boroughs and unified, centralized city government.

New York State consistently supports Democratic candidates in federal elections. Presidential candidate John Kerry won New York State by 18 percentage points in 2004, while Al Gore had an even bigger margin of a win in New York State in 2000. Bill Clinton twice scored his third best performance in New York. In 2000, the state gave Al Gore his second highest total. New York City is a major Democratic stronghold with liberal politics. Many of the state's other urban areas, including Albany, Ithaca, Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse are also Democratic. However, upstate New York, especially in rural areas, is generally more conservative than the cities and tends to vote Republican. Heavily populated suburban areas such as Westchester County and Long Island usually hold the power in determining state elections and have tended to favor Republicans at the state level and Democrats at the federal level but that trend seems to be changing since the past few elections, with Democrats picking up some more power statewide in both regions.

Because New York State consistently votes Democratic in national elections, many observers argue the state is insignificant in presidential contests. New York City, however, is the most important source of political fundraising in the United States. Four of the top five zip codes in the nation for political contributions are in Manhattan. The top zip code, 10021 on the Upper East Side, generated the most money for the 2000 presidential campaigns of both George Bush and Al Gore. Republican Presidential candidates will often skip campaigning in the state, taking it as a loss and focusing on vital swing states. Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City, a Republican, was quoted as saying in 2004 before the presidential elections, there was no point in backing a candidate as he already knew who was going to win before the elections occurred.


Primary, middle-level, and secondary education
The University of the State of New York (USNY), its policy-setting Board of Regents, and USNY's administrative arm, the New York State Education Department (NYSED), oversee all public primary, middle-level, and secondary education in the state. However, as is found in most other US states, individual school districts in New York have much latitude in exercising management and policy for such education within their district boundaries.

New York is one of seven states that mandates that Holocaust and genocide studies be taught at some point in elementary or secondary schools' curriculum.

Colleges and universities
Besides the many private colleges and universities in the state, New York, like many other states, operates its own system of institutions of higher learning known as the State University of New York (SUNY; not to be confused with USNY mentioned above). New York City operates the City University of New York (CUNY) in conjunction with the state.

New York's land-grant university is Cornell University, a private university.
New York is the nation’s largest importer of college students, according to statistics which show that among freshmen who leave their home states to attend college, more come to New York than any other state, including California.[3]

Education in New York City, list of Colleges and Universities in the State of New York

Professional sports teams
Further information: Sports in New York City
Club Sport League
Buffalo Bills Football National Football League
New York Jets Football National Football League; (plays in East Rutherford, New Jersey)
New York Giants Football National Football League; (plays in East Rutherford, New Jersey)
New York Knicks Basketball National Basketball Association
New Jersey Nets Basketball National Basketball Association; (plays in East Rutherford, New Jersey - planning move to the Brooklyn Nets Arena at Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn)
New York Liberty Basketball Women's National Basketball Association
Rochester Raging Rhinos Soccer USL First Division
Red Bull New York Soccer Major League Soccer; (plays in East Rutherford, New Jersey)
Buffalo Sabres Ice Hockey National Hockey League
New York Islanders Ice Hockey National Hockey League
New York Rangers Ice Hockey National Hockey League
Adirondack Frostbite Ice Hockey United Hockey League
Albany River Rats Ice Hockey American Hockey League
Binghamton Senators Ice Hockey American Hockey League
Elmira Jackals Ice Hockey United Hockey League
Rochester Americans Ice Hockey American Hockey League
Syracuse Crunch Ice Hockey American Hockey League
New York Mets Baseball Major League Baseball

New York Yankees Baseball Major League Baseball
Brooklyn Cyclones Baseball Minor League Baseball
Staten Island Yankees Baseball Minor League Baseball
Binghamton Mets Baseball Minor League Baseball
Buffalo Bisons Baseball Minor League Baseball
Jamestown Jammers Baseball Minor League Baseball
Batavia Muckdogs Baseball Minor League Baseball
Rochester Red Wings Baseball Minor League Baseball
Auburn Doubledays Baseball Minor League Baseball
Syracuse SkyChiefs Baseball Minor League Baseball
Oneonta Tigers Baseball Minor League Baseball
Tri-City Valley Cats Baseball Minor League Baseball
Hudson Valley Renegades Baseball Minor League Baseball
Long Island Ducks Baseball Atlantic League of Professional Baseball
New York Dragons Arena football Arena Football League
Long Island Lizards Lacrosse Major League Lacrosse
Rochester Rattlers Lacrosse Major League Lacrosse
Buffalo Bandits Lacrosse National Lacrosse League
Rochester Knighthawks Lacrosse National Lacrosse League
New York Titans Lacrosse National Lacrosse League
Brooklyn Wonders Basketball American Basketball Association
Buffalo Silverbacks Basketball American Basketball Association
Rochester Razorsharks Basketball American Basketball Association
Strong Island Sound Basketball American Basketball Association
Albany Patroons Basketball Continental Basketball Association

Navy vessel namesakes
There have been at least five United States Navy ships named USS New York in honor of the state. USS New York (LPD-21) was laid down on September 10 2004 and will be the sixth Navy ship to be named for the state.

Administrative divisions of New York
List of New York counties
List of cities in New York
List of towns in New York
List of villages in New York
List of census-designated places in New York
List of New York Governors
List of New York State Attorneys General
List of political parties in New York
New York public benefit corporations
Politics of New York
Scouting in New York
New York City
Elections in New York
Large Cities Climate Leadership Group
Golden Horseshoe

^ "About TLC", New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission. Retrieved on 2006-07-19.
^ Schaller, Bruce. "Biking It", Gotham Gazette, 2006-06. Retrieved on 2006-07-20.
^ The New York Observer. "New York, College Town."


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