New York State is located in the Northeastern region of the United States. Among the 50 U.S. States, this is one of the most well-known. The state is bordered by by New Jersey and Pennsylvania in the south, and Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont to the east.
There is a maritime border with Rhode Island to the east of Long Island in addition to a international border with the Canadian province of Quebec to the north and Ontario to the northwest.
Before we dive into the geography, history, and tourist locations in the state, let's examine some key informational points about the state:
Largest City: New York City
Population: 8.5 million (as of 2014)
Admitted to The Union: July 26th, 1788 (the 11th state)
New York City is the largest city in the state of New York and the most populous city in the United States as a whole. This city has deep historical roots, and it also represents a modern hub of various elements in our modern society. Part of the city's historical roots lay on Ellis Island.
This location is a gateway for immigrants to legally enter the United States and was used constantly in the history of the city. Today, the city is a major influence on commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and entertainment. It is also the home of the United Nations Headquarters.
The one city alone accounts for over 40 percent of the state's total population. The state and the iconic city are both named after the 17th century figure, the Duke of York, who eventually became King James II of England.
Prior to European arrival, the area was inhabited by Algonquian and Iroquoian Native Americans. Various tribes were spread across the region until 1609 when Dutch settlers moved into the area. It was first claimed by Henry Hudson and Fort Nassau was built in 1614 where present day Albany is located.
From the beginning, it was a place that was filled with multiple cultures and types of people. The first immigrants to the area were French Colonists and Jesuit missionaries who came down from Montreal to trade. The British annexed the colony from the Dutch in 1664 and changed it to the Province of New York which had borders very similar to what we see today.
During the time that it was open, Ellis Island saw over 12 million immigrants pass through into the United States. As a result, over 100 million modern day Americans can trace their roots back to an ancestor who went through Ellis Island.
New York City itself has seen two significant events in recent memory. The first of which was a terrible tragedy in the form of a terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan. On September 1st, 2001, two of a total four hijacked planes were flown into each of the 2 towers.
The towers collapsed, killing 2,753 people. This attack prompted an ongoing war against terror that has erupted in the Middle East. In 2012, the state was hit by Hurricane Sandy. Damage from storm surges and flooding have prompted the state to consider building seawalls or coastal barriers around the shorelines of the city.
The Geography New York
The land territory of New York State is 54,555 square miles, which makes it the 27th largest state based on land size. The Great Appalachian Valley makes up the majority of Eastern New York. The Adirondack Mountains are west of this region. The Hudson River flows through the eastern part of the state.
Four of New York City's five boroughs are located on three islands situated at the mouth of the Hudson River:
The southern region of the state is located on the Allegheny Plateau which is located from the southeast to the Catskill Mountains. New York is the only state to touch both Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean. It is the second-largest of the original Thirteen Colonies.
While New York City is extremely urban in nature, the rest of the state's geographical area is very rural. Farms, forests, rivers, and mountains dominate the landscape. For example, Adirondack Park is the largest state park in the U.S. The first state park ever established was Niagara Falls in 1885 and continues to be a popular attraction for the state to this day.
The terms "upstate" and "downstate" are used to distinguish between New York City and the rest of the state.
New York's 10 Most Popular Tourist Attractions
If you're planning on visiting New York State, make sure you check out these ten top-rated tourism attractions in the state.
1. The Statue of Liberty
Possibly one of the most iconic symbols of the state and of the U.S. as a whole, this iconic statue is an absolute must-see when visiting the state. Battery park offers a nice view, but a true experience requires you to travel via ferry to Liberty Island.
2. Niagara Falls
As one of America's greatest natural wonders, Niagara falls receives millions of visitors each year from around the world. You can take boat trips to see the falls up close, or use walkways to get up close and personal. The falls are located on the border between the U.S. and Canada.
3. The Finger Lakes
These long and narrow lakes west of Syracuse are the subject of Iroquois Legends that state the lakes were formed by the fingers of the Great Spirit. Here you can find several resorts and towns situated around the lakes.
4. Empire State Building
Besides the statue of liberty, the Empire State Building is the most famous landmark in New York City. It originally opened in 1931 and contains two observatories near the top floors. On a clear day, visitors can see up to 80 miles in every direction.
5. Central Park
This massive park is an oasis in the center of New York City. It has numerous attractions and sights within it. The Central Park Zoo is one such example. The Lake within the park is used for skating in winter and paddling in the summer.
6. Times Square
In 1904, this square's name changed from Longacre Square to Times Square when the New York Times tower was built. The tower showcased the latest headlines via a moving sign, the first of its kind. Today, Times Square is filled with shopping, theaters, and restaurants.
7. Wall Street
This stretch of eight blocks from Broadway to South Street in New York City is known around the world for being the location of several high profile stock exchanges, including NASDAQ and the New York Mercantile Exchange.
8. St. Patrick's Cathedral
As one of the best examples that Gothic Revival architecture has to offer, St. Patrick's Cathedral is a massive structure with bronze doors that ways over 20,000 pounds each! It was originally built in 1879 and receives over 5.5 million visitors each year.
9. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
As one of the world's most famous museums, this collection of modern art was first designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1943. Various works from Picasso, Chagall, Monet, and more are on display. In addition, the exterior of the building itself looks like a sculpture as well.
10. Lake Placid
Twice in 1932 and 1980 respectively, the winter sports resort of Lake Placid has hosted the Winter Olympics. With lakes and hills surrounding the main town, this is a huge tourist hot spot. Whether it's summer or winter, this location is always brimming with activities.
While you may be a master of New York State now, there's still plenty to learn. For example, you may not be aware of these facts about New York, just saying.