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New York is the third most populous state of the United States of America.

Located in the Mid-Atlantic region, New York is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. It also shares an international border with Canada. The state's five largest cities are New York City, Buffalo, Rochester, Yonkers, and Syracuse. The state has 62 counties.

New York is known for its history as a gateway for immigration to the United States and its status as a transportation and manufacturing center.

New York was inhabited by Algonquian and Iroquois Native Americans at the time Dutch and French settlers arrived in the 16th century. New York was forted by the Dutch at Albany in 1614 and colonized in 1624, at both Albany and Manhattan, before falling under English rule in 1664. About one third of all the military engagements of the American Revolution took place in New York, after which it became the 11th state to ratify the United States Constitution in 1788.

Geography
Geography of New York

New York covers 54,475 sq miles (141,089 sq kilometers). In size, New York ranks 27th compared with the other 50 states. The Great Appalachian Valley dominates eastern New York, while Lake Champlain is the chief northern feature of the valley, which also includes the Hudson River flowing southward to the Atlantic Ocean. The rugged Adirondack Mountains, with vast tracts of wilderness, lie west of the valley. Most of the southern part of the state is on the Allegheny plateau, which rises from the southeast to the Catskill Mountains. The western section of the state is drained by the Allegheny River and rivers of the Susquehanna and Delaware systems. The Delaware River Basin Compact, signed in 1961 by New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and the federal government, regulates the utilization of water of the Delaware system.

New York's borders touch (clockwise from the north) 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.

While the state is best known for New York City's urban atmosphere, especially Manhattan's skyscrapers, most of the state is 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 Brooklyn and Queens on 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.

Climate
The climate of New York State is broadly representative of the humid continental type, which prevails in the northeastern United States, but its diversity is not usually encountered within an area of comparable size. Masses of cold, dry air frequently arrive from the northern interior of the continent. Prevailing winds from the south and southwest transport warm, humid air, which has been conditioned by the Gulf of Mexico and adjacent subtropical waters. These two air masses provide the dominant continental characteristics of the climate. A third great air mass flows inland from the North Atlantic Ocean and produces cool, cloudy, and damp weather conditions.

Nearly all storm and frontal systems moving eastward across the continent pass through or in close proximity to New York State. Storm systems often move northward along the Atlantic coast and have an important influence on the weather and climate of Long Island and the lower Hudson Valley. Frequently, areas deep in the interior of the state feel the effects of such coastal storms.

The winters are long and cold in the Plateau Divisions of the state. In the majority of winter seasons, a temperature of -25° or lower can be expected in the northern highlands (Northern Plateau) and -15° or colder in the southwestern and east-central highlands (Southern Plateau). The Adirondack region records from 35 to 45 days with below zero temperatures in normal to severe winters.

The summer climate is cool in the Adirondacks, Catskills, and higher elevations of the Southern Plateau. The New York City area and lower portions of the Hudson Valley have rather warm summers by comparison, with some periods of high, uncomfortable humidity. The remainder of New York State enjoys pleasantly warm summers, marred by only occasional, brief intervals of sultry conditions. Summer daytime temperatures usually range from the upper 70s to mid 80s over much of the State, producing an atmospheric environment favorable to many athletic, recreational, and other outdoor activities.


State parks

Long Pond in the Saint Regis Canoe Area of the Adirondack State Park.See also: List of New York state parks
New York has many state parks and two major forest preserves. Adirondack State Park, roughly the size of the state of Vermont and the largest state park in the United States, was established in 1892 and given state constitutional protection in 1894. The thinking that lead to the creation of the Park first appeared in George Perkins Marsh's Man and Nature, published in 1864. Marsh argued that deforestation could lead to desertification; referring to the clearing of once-lush lands surrounding the Mediterranean, he asserted "the operation of causes set in action by man has brought the face of the earth to a desolation almost as complete as that of the moon."

The Catskill State Park was protected in legislation passed in 1885, which declared that its land was to be conserved and never put up for sale or lease. Consisting of 700,000 acres (2,800 km²) of land, the park is a habitat for bobcats, minks and fishers. There are some 400 black bears living in the region. The state operates numerous campgrounds and there are over 300 miles (480 km) of multi-use trails in the Park.


History
History of New York

An early Dutch map of the Hudson river valley c. 1635 (North is to the right)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 Nouvelle Angoulême (New Angouleme) in honor of the French king François I. 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 Amsterdam.

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 Hudson River has long been an essential transportation corridor for the state.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."

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

In 1663 the Duke of York purchased the grant of Long Island and other islands on the New England coast made in 1635 to the Earl of Stirling, and, in 1664, the Duke equipped an armed expedition, which took possession of New Amsterdam, which was thenceforth called New York, after the Duke. 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.

New York was established by 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.

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, despite Native American presence in the Area. 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-1800s by New York State. This became the basis for the present land claim dispute.

New York was one of the original thirteen colonies that became the United States. It was the 11th state to ratify the United States Constitution, on July 26, 1788.

The creation of the Erie Canal lead to rapid industrialization in New York.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 1972.

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.

Demographics

As of 2006, New York was the third largest state in population after California and Texas, with an estimated population of 19,306,183.[2] This represents an increase of 329,362, or 1.7%, since the year 2000; it includes a natural increase since the last census of 601,779 people (1,576,125 births minus 974,346 deaths) and a decrease due to net migration of 422,481 people out of the state. Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 820,388 people, and migration within the country produced a net loss of about 800,213

New York is a slow growing state with a large rate of emigration to other states, especially Florida and Arizona. New York state is a leading destination for international immigration, however. The center of population of New York is located in Orange County, in the town of Deerpark.[3] New York City and its six suburban counties have a combined population of 12,626,200 people, or 65.67% of the state's population.

Racial and ancestral makeup
The major ancestry groups in New York state are African American (15.8%), Italian (14.4%), Hispanic (14.2%), Irish (12.9%), and German (11.1%). According to a 2004 estimate, 20.4% of the population is foreign-born.

New York is home to the largest Puerto Rican and Dominican population in the United States. The New York City neighborhood of Harlem has historically been a major cultural capital for African-Americans. Queens, also in New York City, is home to the state's largest Asian-American population.

New York ethnic distributionIn the 2000 Census, Italian-Americans make up the largest ancestral group in Staten Island and Long Island, followed by Irish-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 under 5 years of age, 24.7% under 18, and 12.9% were 65 or older. Females made up 51.8% of the population.

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

According to the 2000 U.S. Census, 13.61% of the population aged 5 and over speak Spanish at home, while 2.04% speak Chinese (including Cantonese and Mandarin), 1.65% Italian, and 1.23% Russian.


Religion
Catholics comprise more than 40% of the population in New York.[5] Protestants are 30% of the population, Jews 5%, Muslims 3.5%, Buddhists 1%, and 13% claim no religious affiliation.


Economy
Midtown Manhattan in New York City is home to the greatest concentration of Fortune 500 companies in the world.

A dairy farm near Oxford, New York.New York's gross state product in 2005 was $963.5 billion, ranking third in size behind the larger states of California and Texas.[6] If New York were an independent nation, it would rank as the 16th largest economy in the world behind South Korea. Its 2005 per capita personal income was $50,038, an increase of 5.9% from 2004, placing it fifth in the nation behind Massachusetts, and eighth 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.

New York exports a wide variety of goods such as foodstuffs, commodities, minerals, manufactured goods, cut diamonds, and automobile parts. New York's five largest 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 is a very important economic partner for the state. 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$487 million in 2004 while visiting the state.

New York City is the leading center of banking, finance and communication in the United States and is the location of the New York Stock Exchange, the largest stock exchange in the world by dollar volume. Many of the world's largest corporations are based in the city.

The state also has a large manufacturing sector that includes printing and the production of garments, furs, railroad equipment and bus line vehicles. Many of these industries are concentrated in upstate regions. Albany and the Hudson Valley are major centers of nanotechnology and microchip manufacturing, while the Rochester area is important in photographic equipment and imaging.

New York is a major agricultural producer, ranking among the top five states for agricultural products including dairy, apples, cherries, cabbage, 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. A moderately sized saltwater commercial fishery is located along the Atlantic side of Long Island. The principal catches by value are clams, lobsters, squid, and flounder.

Transportation
Transportation in New York

The New York City subway is the largest mass transit system in the world by number of stations.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 for the fact that the tolls collected along the roadway have long passed their original purpose. Until 2006, tolls were collected on the Thruway within The City of Buffalo. They were dropped late in 2006 during the campaign for Governor (both candidates called for their removal).


The Bear Mountain Bridge crossing the Hudson River.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, 120,000 daily bicyclists,[8] 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.

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

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 Subway line, sometimes called a Lightrail System run by the NFTA, and Rochester had a subway system, although it is mostly destroyed. Only a small part exists under the old Erie Canal Aquaduct.

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.

Politics and government
Government of New York

New York State Capitol Building.Under its present constitution (adopted in 1894), New York is governed by three branches of government: the executive branch, consisting of the Governor of New York and the other independently elected constitutional officers; the legislative branch, consisting of the the bicameral New York State Legislature; and the judicial branch, consisting of the state's highest court, the New York Court of Appeals, and lower courts. The state has two U.S. senators, 31 members in the United States House of Representatives, and 33 electoral votes in national presidential elections (a drop from its 41 votes in 1970).

New York's capital is Albany. The state's subordinate political units are its 62 counties. Other officially incorporated governmental units are towns, cities, and villages. New York has more than 4,200 local governments that take one of these forms. About 52% of all revenue raised by local governments in the state is raised solely by the government of New York City, which is the largest municipal government in the United States.

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 in taxes to the federal government in Washington. The state ranks near the bottom, in 42nd place, in federal spending per tax dollar.

Many of New York's public services are carried out by public benefit corporations, frequently called authorities or development corporations. Well known public benefit corporations in New York include the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which oversees New York City's public transportation system, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, a bi-state transportation infrastructure agency.

New York's legal system is explicitly based on English common Law. Capital punishment was declared unconstitutional in 2004.


Politics

Politics of New York
New York State consistently supports candidates belonging to the Democratic Party in national elections. Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry won New York State by 18 percentage points in 2004, while Democrat Al Gore won the state by an even larger margin in 2000. 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. Rural upstate New York, however, is generally more conservative than the cities and tends to favor Republicans. Heavily populated suburban areas such as Westchester County and Long Island have swung between the major parties over the past 25 years and often have tightly contested local elections.

New York City is the most important source of political fund-raising in the United States for both major parties. 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.


Cities and towns

The largest city in the state and the most populous city in the United States is New York City, which is comprised of five counties, the Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island. New York City is home to more than two-fifths of the state's population. Buffalo is the second largest city in the state. The smallest city is Sherrill, New York, located just west of the Town of Vernon in Oneida County. Albany is the state capital, and the Town of Hempstead is the civil township with the largest population.

The southern tip of New York State—New York City, its suburbs including Long Island, the southern portion of the Hudson Valley, and most of northern New Jersey—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.


Education
Education in New York

Cornell University is New York's land-grant university.
Primary, middle-level, and secondary education
The University of the State of New York (USNY) (distinct from the State University of New York, known as SUNY), its policy-setting Board of Regents, and its administrative arm, the New York State Education Department, oversee all public primary, middle-level, and secondary education in the state. The New York City Department of Education, which manages the public school system in New York City, is largest school district in the United States with more students than the combined population of eight U.S. states. Over 1 million students are taught in more than 1,200 separate schools.

Public secondary education in the state consists of high schools that teach elective courses in trades, languages, and liberal arts with tracks for gifted, college-bound and industrial arts students. New York is one of seven states that mandates the teaching of Holocaust and genocide studies at some point in elementary or secondary school curriculums.


Colleges and universities
New York's statewide public university system is the State University of New York (SUNY). With a total enrollment of 413,000 students and 1.1 million continuing education students spanning 64 campuses across the state, SUNY is the largest public university system in the United States.

Butler library at Columbia University in New York City the wealthiest university in the state of New York.The City University of New York (CUNY) is the public university system of New York City and is independent of the SUNY system. It is the largest urban university in the United States, with 11 senior colleges, 6 community colleges, a doctorate-granting graduate school, a journalism school, a law school and the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education. More than 450,000 degree-credit, adult, continuing and professional education students are enrolled at campuses located in all five New York City boroughs.

New York is also home to such notable private universities as Columbia University, New York University, the Rochester Institute of Technology, Union College and Syracuse University. New York has hundreds of other private colleges and universities, including many religious and special-purpose institutions. The state'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.

Sports
Main article: Sports in New York
New York hosted the 1980 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid, the Games known for the USA-USSR hockey game dubbed the "Miracle on Ice" in which a group of American college students and amateurs defeated the heavily-favored Soviet national ice hockey team 4-3 and went on to win the gold medal. Lake Placid also hosted the 1932 Winter Olympics. Along with St. Moritz, Switzerland and Innsbruck, Austria, it is one of the three places to have twice hosted the Winter Olympic Games.

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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. (Credit: Wikipedia).

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