84 New York Facts and Weird Laws

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Manhattan, one of the boroughs of New York City, is home to some of the most popular attractions in this state, including Times Square, Central Park, and the Empire State Building.

While many people believe New York City has all of New York’s attractions, this assumption is far from the truth.  

Natural beauty, as well as modern architectural buildings, dot the entire state. 

Some of the most famous people in the country call New York home. 

We’ve compiled fun facts, including weird ones about the state’s history, politics, government, geography, demographics, and everything else you’d want to know about New York.

Let’s dive into the New York facts even locals would love to know.

Manhattan, New York City. Credits: Unsplash

Best Fun Facts About New York

  1. New York was not always New York. Its original name was New Amsterdam. 
  2. New York has the nation’s most extensive bus subway transit system.
  3. New Yorkers speak over 800 languages, making New York City the most linguistically diverse city in the world.
  4. Times Square got its name from the New York Times.
  5. New York City’s Federal Reserve Bank is home to the world’s largest gold storage.
  6. The Statue of Liberty was a gift from the French.
  7. The New York City Library houses more than 50 million books and weird collections, including locks of hair from the heads of Wild Bill Hickok, Mary Shelley, and others.

New York Facts – Politics

  1. The state of New York has twenty-nine electoral votes in the electoral college.
  2. New York state politics shows a region heavily dominated by the Democratic Party since 1988. In the past 15 presidential elections, the Republican Party presidential candidate only won New York in 1972, 1980, and 1984.
  3. The New York election system allows election fusion –multiple party nominations. A single candidate gets listed on the ballot by more than one party. Only nine states allow this fusion voting, including Delaware, Connecticut, Idaho, Oregon, California, New York, Mississippi, Vermont, and South Carolina.
  4. Alongside Maryland, Massachusetts, Illinois, and California, New York overwhelmingly voted for President Joe Biden, giving him a victory margin of over one million raw votes.
  5. Democratic Party enjoys a supermajority in both the state’s Assembly and the Senate.
  6. New York boasts a Democratic trifecta and a Democratic triplex. The Assembly and Senate plus the attorney general, secretary of state, and the Governor are all Democrats.
  7. Kathy Hochul, the current governor of New York, is the first woman to hold this seat.
  8. The New York State’s capital building is in Albany, New York.
  9. New York’s local government has sixty-two counties.
  10. The Court of Appeals, located in Albany, is the state’s highest court.
  11. New York state is the seventh easiest state to vote in. This statistic is according to a 2020 study.
Credit: DevianArt

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New York Facts – History

  1. The first people arrived in present-day New York state around 10,000 BC. The Algonquin tribes settled along streams, rivers, or the Atlantic Coast.
  2. The first Europeans to discover New York were the Italians led by Giovanni da Verrazzano. But it was the Dutch who made the first land claim in 1609.
  3. The Dutch West India Company established New Netherlands in 1624.
  4. A French explorer, Jacques Cartier, was the first European to map the St. Lawrence river.
  5. The first European settlement was at Fort Nassau (present-day Albany). The Dutch, led by Hendrick Christiaensen, built it in 1614.
  6. New York was vital to the Dutch fur traders as part of New Netherlands.
  7. The Dutch believed they bought the Island of Manhattan in 1626.
  8. The British gave New York its name in 1664 after James II, the Duke of York and Duke of Albany. The Duke was a brother to King Charles II.
  9. The province of New York was important to the British because of its rich agricultural resources–Long Island and Hudson Valley were key farming regions.
  10. New York City became the national capital in 1785. 
  11. Kingston, New York City, Poughkeepsie, and Albany have capitals.
  12.  New York’s Constitution, adopted in 1777, greatly influenced the federal Constitution in 1787.
  13. New York was one of the leading manufacturers of US armaments during World War II.
  14. New York achieved statehood on July 9, 1776, making it the 11th state to join the Union.
  15. Giovanni da Verrazzano is the first European to discover the New York harbor.
  16. In the 1870s, the construction of Central Park came to an end.
  17. Central Park is the nation’s first primary landscaped public park.
  18. The Statue of Liberty in New York was a gift from France to the US.
Credits: Q105.7

New York Facts – Geography

  1.  New York state ranks 27th in the country in terms of size–it has an area of 54,556 square miles.
  2. Located in the Northeastern US, New York borders six states: Massachusetts,  Rhode Island, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Vermont.
  3.  The state’s highest point is Mount Marcy at 5,344 feet, located in the Adirondacks, Northern New York. Atlantic Ocean, Downstate New York is the state’s lowest point at sea level.
  4. Other than New York City’s urban landscape, the rest of the state consists of forecasts, rivers, lakes, meadows, farms, and mountains.
  5. Known as the Southern Tier, the southern region of New York state lies on the Allegheny Plateau.
  6. West of Lake Champlain Valley is the Adirondacks Mountains.
  7. The Great Appalachian Valley makes up most of Eastern New York. It has both the Lake Champlain Valley and the Hudson Valley.
  8. New York is home to the Marcellus Shale, extending into Pennsylvania and Ohio.
  9. New York is the only state with parts of the Atlantic Ocean and the Great Lakes.
  10.  Nearly 13.6% of New York’s total size is water, including the Hudson River, Delaware River, Niagara River, Lake Champlain, Great Lakes (Lake Erie and Lake Ontario), and the Atlantic Ocean.
  11. The average daytime summer temperature is between 25°C to 28°C, while the average winter temperature is -25°C or lower.
  12. New York’s highest recorded temperature was 42.2°C in 1926.

New York Facts – Flora And Fauna

  1. The State symbols include the official state animal, the Beaver, and the state bird, Eastern Bluebird.
  2. The carnivorous mammals in New York include the Canada Lynx, black bear, river otter, long-tailed weasel, and red fox.
  3. White-tail deer, Beaver, and moose are the herbivorous mammals of New York.
Moose. Credits: Unsplash
  1. New York state has only two aerial animals, namely the Indiana bat and the little brown bat.
  2. New York is home to marine mammals such as humpback whales, sperm whales, and blue whales.
  3. New York is home to Allegheny woodrat, the only endangered land mammal.
  4. New York State is home to over 467 bird species.
  5. Arboreal and sea birds also call New York home. The arboreal birds include whip-poor-will, American woodcock, and red-headed woodpeckers. The Canada goose, great blue heron, and double-breasted cormorant are freshwater wetlands. 
  6.  Seabirds native to New York are piping plovers, least terns, and seaside sparrows.
  7. Peregrine Falcon, osprey, and the golden eagle are the Empire state’s birds of prey.
  8. New York is home to the eastern mud turtle, Atlantic Ridley sea turtle, timber rattlesnake, copperhead, and common garter snake.
  9. The state’s fish live in the lakes and rivers. The fish species include herring, bass, salmon, catfish, sunfish, perch, and pike.
  10. Fish is the endangered species in New York, including bluebreast darter, pug nose shiner, deepwater sculpin, and round whitefish.
  11. The trees native to New York include the flowering dogwood, American hornbeam, Northern Red Oak, American Mountain Ash, Quaking Aspen, American sycamore, Red Maple, and Sugar Maple(state tree).
  12. Central Park is the largest urban park in New York.
Believe it or not, New York (top right of the map) is actually one of the safest states in the US. Blue means safe, Red means dangerous. Credit: HomeSnakcs; Source: FBI 2019

New York Facts – Demographics

  1.  New York is the fourth most populated state, with over 19.8 million people.
  2. Albany, located on the west bank of the Hudson River, is the capital city of New York.
  3. New York City is the most populated city in the US, with over 8,177,025 people.
  4. Five boroughs make up New York City, including the Queens, Bronx, Staten Island, Brooklyn, and Manhattan.
  5. Kings County, Queen’s county, and New York County are some of the most populated in the country.
  6. The whites, blacks (African Americans), and Asians are the largest racial groups in New York. 
  7. Over 45% of the New York population use a language other than English at home.
  8. New York University, Columbia University, and CUNY Hunter College are some of the largest universities in New York.
  9.  The non-English languages spoken in this state include Spanish, Chinese, and Russian.
  10. Christianity is the most predominant religion in New York state, followed by non-religious, Jewish, and Muslim.
Credits: HowMuch.net published in 2020

New York Facts – Economy

  1.  New York’s gross domestic product rivals that of Canada (2018). New York generates over 1.5 trillion dollars in GDP. [6]
  2. The Empire state’s economy is one of the largest in the country. In 2019, only California and Texas had a larger economy than New York’s. (Translation: California is no 1, Texa no. 2, and New York no.3).
  3. New York City is one of the most powerful cities in the world. It’s also the leading financial center of the country. 
  4. Lower Manhattan hosts the world’s largest and second-largest stock exchanges— the New York stock exchange and the Nasdaq Stock Market.
  5. New York is the top commercial banking Center in the country.
  6. Most media groups are in New York City. 
  7. Midtown Manhattan is the largest central business district in the United States.
  8. The Silicon Alley, in New York City, generates over 7 billion dollars in venture capital investment. 
  9. The growth of the high-tech industry in this region is due to New York City’s ideal position at the terminus of many transatlantic fiber trunk lines.
  10. The tech valley is popular for making computer hardware. 
  11. Creative industries and tourism are also major contributors to New York’s economy.
  12. New York is a major exporter of cut diamonds, processed food, computers, and electronics.
  13. New York is one of the largest grapevine-producing states in the nation.
Times Square. Credits: Unsplash
  1.  The Empire State also produces one of the highest volumes of wine in the United States.
  2. New York City is home to the US’s first pizzeria.
  3.   The state is one of the leading producers of cabbage in the country.
  4. New York has the nation’s largest bus subway transit system.
  5. New York harbor provides a docking station for several water vessels loaded with tons of goods.
Brooklyn Bridge. Credits: Unsplash

Famous Locations in New York

  1. The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island allow you to enjoy the New York City skyline and the monument.
  2. Times Square is a good place to be at. With nice hotels, theaters, and its closeness with the Empire State Building, Times Square is the place you would want to visit.
Empire State Building. Credits: Unsplash
  1. Central Park, in Manhattan, has outstanding architecture, many attractive sites such as the Central Park Mall, and quiet gardens with skating rinks. You’ll find the Bethesda Terrace, home to the iconic Bethesda fountains.
Central Park Walk. Credits: Unsplash@Michal
  1. Niagara Falls, which lies between Canada and the United States of America, is home to three falls: the American Falls, Horseshoe Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls. A visit to Niagara Falls isn’t complete without taking the Horseshoe boat tour.
Niagara Falls. Credits: Unsplash
  1. Finger lakes have cute resorts and nice towns along the lakeshore. The town of Corning is home to the Rockwell Museum and Heritage Village of the Southern Finger Lakes.
West Market Street, Corning. Credits: Unsplash@Caleb McGuire
  1. Lake Placid, located at the foot of Whiteface Mountain, is the perfect winter sports center. This place hosted the 1932 and 1980 winter Olympics.
  2. Snug Harbor Cultural Center in Staten Island.
  3. Lake George is a popular attraction in the town of Lake George.
  4. New York City library.

Famous People From New York 

  • Michael Jeffrey Jordan. Yes, MJ is from NY. He was born at Cumberland Hospital in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, New York City, on February 17, 1963. 
  • Chester A. Arthur (Schenectady) was the 20th US Vice President and 21st US President.
  • Martin Van Buren (Kinderhook) was the 8th Vice President and 8th US President of the United States.
  • Grover Cleveland (Fayetteville) 22nd and 24th US President.
  • Millard Fillmore (Moravia) 12th US Vice President and 13th US President.
  • Theodore Roosevelt (Manhattan) 25th US Vice President and 26th President.
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt (Hyde Park) 32nd US President of the United States.
  • Born in Queens, New York City, Donald Trump was the 45th US president. 
  • Sylvester Stallone, New York City, is a famous actor, director, and screenwriter.
  • Sarah Hyland, New York City, is a famous actress.
  • Priscilla Presley, New York City, is an actress and a businesswoman.
  • 2Pac Shakur (dead) was a rapper, poet, and record producer. 
  • Donald J. Trump, the 45th president of the United States from 2017 to 2021. He is a politician, media personality, and businessman of American origin.
Interestingly, Atlantic argues that “the truth is, Trump, the lifelong New Yorker, was never a New Yorker. He was a tourist.” [4]
Timb, short for Timberland, is one of the New Yorker things. Credit: ifunny

Common Misconception About New York 

Manhattan is New York City

Credits: Pinterest

No, New York City has five boroughs, and Manhattan is one. 

New Yorkers are the rudest among 50 states 

No, New Yorkers are just busy fighting for their lives on a daily basis. That’s why there is a saying that “If you can make it in New York City, you can make it anywhere.” NYC is full of hustlers because the place can be quite unforgiving. 

New York is dangerous

No, New York is actually is one of the safest states in the US. We looked at the rate chart earlier. Remember? In case you are thinking: Fine. So maybe on average New York state is safe compared with the other US states, what about NYC? 

We are glad you asked. NYC is a large city, and it’s also one of the top 10 safest cities in USA (2021) according to AdvisorSmith. [5]

Believe it or not, NYC is a large city, and it’s also one of the top 10 safest cities in USA (2021) according to AdvisorSmith

Yes, you can be mugged here, but that happens pretty much everywhere. And, if you lived in NYC in 2020, it’s understandable why you might feel that way. Shootings in NYC surged at the beginning of the year. 

But, remember it’s all relative. According to the data in 2021, there are only 6 other cities safer than NYC out of the many other cities. 

Weird Laws in New York 

Many of the laws below were passed a long time ago, but they still exist in many New York cities, but many of them go unenforced. It is easier to pass laws than to revoke them, so some very strange laws remain on the books. Read the Craziest Laws in the United States, if you want more.

Here are some of our favorites.

  1. You can’t sell dog or cat hair because it’s illegal.
  2. When you are in New York City, remember not to be in your slippers (in public) past 10 pm, or you’ll be breaking the law.
  3. It’s illegal for men to wear unmatched pants and jackets outside their homes.
  4. Don’t throw a ball at anyone’s head for fun. This act is illegal.
  5. Releasing over 25 helium-filled balloons at once is illegal.
  6. Don’t take a selfie with a Tiger, and it’s illegal.
  7. Hang your clothes on clotheslines only if you have a license.
  8. Walking around with an ice cream cone in your pocket on Sundays is illegal.
  9. It’s illegal to greet others by putting your thumb in your nose and wiggling your fingers.
  10. It’s illegal to speak to people in an elevator in New York.
It’s illegal to speak to people in an elevator in New York. Image credit: Meme Guy

Final Thought

New York is home to some of the most spectacular locations globally.

Only Virginia has produced more (8) US Presidents than New York (5). 

There is a lot to enjoy in this state apart from Times Square, Empire State Building, or Central Park. 

New York Stats And Facts

Population2020 (20,201,249)
GovernorKathy Hochul ( Democratic Party)
Date Of AdmissionJuly 9, 1776
U.S. SenatorsKirsten Gillibrand (D)Chuck Schumer (D)
US House of Representatives27 (of 435 Seats) 
State NicknameThe Empire State
State Motto“Excelsior”
State Song“I love New York” by Steve Karmen
State FlowerRose
State FishBrook Trout
State BirdEastern Bluebird
State TreeSugar Maple 
State MammalBeaver
State SportBaseball
State drinkMilk
State GemGarnet
State FossilEurypterus remipes
Neighbor StatesPennsylvania New Jersey ConnecticutMassachusetts VermontRhode Island Canadian Provinces of Ontario and Quebec 

Frequently Asked Questions About New York

What are the 10 things New York is known for?

  • Times Square
  • Statue of Liberty.
  • Central Park
  • The first Pizzeria 
  • Niagara Falls 
  • Marcellus Shale 
  • Wall Street.
  • Empire State Building.
  • Broadway Shows.
  • Tall Skyscrapers.

What are the 3 fun facts about New York?

  • New York City is home to the US’s First Pizzeria.
  • There are over 800 spoken languages in New York.
  • Grand Central Terminal is home to a Whispering Gallery.

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[1] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_(state)

[2] https://www.nycgo.com/

[3] https://www.planetware.com/tourist-attractions/new-york-usny.htm

[4] https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/11/donald-trump-was-never-real-new-yorker/601324/

[5] https://advisorsmith.com/data/safest-cities-in-america/

[6] https://howmuch.net/articles/economic-output-largest-us-metro-areas-compared-countries

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Sabrina is a former campaign manager who has decided to focus her effort to help people contact senators and get help. She leads our Editorial Team with Ronald and Lawrence to curate content and resources that help us navigate the system.

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