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New York, Ontario Western 0-6- - History

New York, Ontario Western 0-6- - History

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The New York, Ontario and Western Railroad

The New York & Oswego Midland Railroad, predecessor of the New York, Ontario & Western Railway, was the grandiose vision of Dewitt C. Littlejohn, a dynamic politician bearing an uncanny resemblance to Abraham Lincoln. His concept of a direct rail route northwest across New York State, serving virgin territory not reached by any existing line, seemed logical.

Thus in 1868 the "Midland" began building, meandering this way and that to reach the towns which had put up money for its construction. Its twisting route was built "at right angles to the mountains" requiring steep grades, high bridges and enormous fills. Construction costs far exceeded estimates, and within a month of completion the Midland was bankrupt. But it survived, and was reorganized in 1880 as the New York, Ontario & Western Railway, or the "O&W".

Shortly after the O&W was incorporated, its owners became involved in the promotion and construction of the New York, West Shore & Buffalo Railroad, a route that eventually would parallel Cornelius Vanderbuilt's New York Central & Hudson River all the way to Buffalo via Albany, NY. Naturally, the NYC&HR viewed the West Shore as a nuisance or blackmail scheme.

Complicated financial arrangements existed between the O&W and the West Shore which were detrimental to the corporate health of the former. However, this was mitigated by the West Shore's construction of a branch from its main line at Cornwall, NY, to Middletown in 1883 and by opening terminal facilities in Weehawken, on the Hudson River across from New York City, in 1884. These projects provided the O&W with a more reliable and more direct route to the metropolitan area than had been available with the NJM connection. The O&W-West Shore combination was dissolved when the latter entered bankruptcy in 1884 and was subsequently leased by the NYC. The Middletown Branch became part of the O&W, and NYC permitted O&W to continue using the West Shore between Cornwall and Weehawken.

The O&W underwent an administrative reorganization after its involvement with the West Shore came to an end. Thomas P. Fowler, a talented lawyer formerly with the NYC's legal department, became the new president. He is reputed to have said that he wondered why the O&W had been built and why, after entering bankruptcy, it hadn't been allowed to stay there. Regardless of his comment, he must have seen some potential in the line, and with the American economy in a period of expansion, he set out to make a respectable property of the NYO&W.

During Fowler's term, the railroad significantly aided in, or undertook the development of, several industries. It firmly established itself as a tourist carrier to the resort hotels and camps in the mountains of Orange, Sullivan, and Delaware counties (often referred to as the "Lower Catskills"). The road expanded its operations in the haulage of milk and dairy products and, most importantly, it became a carrier of anthracite coal by tapping the northern Wyoming Valley coal field in northeastern Pennsylvania through the railroad's most ambitious expansion program: the construction in 1889-90 of the 55-mile Scranton Division.

Although the coal business wavered in the 1920s, it remained strong into the early years of the Great Depression and it permitted the O&W to continue paying dividends. Nonetheless, petroleum fuels, natural gas and electricity were making ever greater inroads into coal markets. Coal was losing ground, but it definitely was not out. O&W handled only about four percent of the anthracite shipped out of Pennsylvania, but in the early 1930s, this one commodity still accounted for over 50 percent of the railroad's income. But this was an unhealthy situation, one of too great a reliance on one industry.

The decline of coal was not O&W's only dilemma. Economic activity as a whole in the U.S. was changing dramatically. Manufacturing activities were moving to the South, Southwest and West, and the resultant population shifts were changing the consumer markets and the rural economy upon which the early O&W and its predecessors had relied. What the OM's developers had promised the railroad would do had occurred, but it was Western railroads opening Western lands to agricultural development that better filled the promise. The decline in the importance of the small towns and cities, the expansion of the suburban industrial parks, and the population shifts to metropolitan areas or to other parts of the country were severely felt by "rural roads" such as the O&W.

On February 25, 1937, the O&W advised the holders of its Refunding Mortgage Bonds, due in 1992, that it could not pay the interest due on March 1. Two of the three railroad-owned collieries had earlier defaulted on their loans from the railroad. This, coupled with an overall decease in anthracite tonnage, reduced freight rates, increased taxes and other increased expenses caused the railroad to default on its financial obligations. As a result, O&W entered a voluntary bankruptcy from which it would not emerge. On March 29, 1957, the O&W became the first Class I railroad in the United States to fully abandon.

The extent of the abandonment was from Cornwall to Middletown to Summitville, with branches there to Kingston and to Port Jervis and Monitcello. From Summitville the line traveled west to Cadosia, where the branch to Scranton, PA, split off to the southwest. From Cadosia, the line went through Walton, with a branch to Delhi, then to Sidney and New Berlin Junction. At New Berlin Junction, the New Berlin Branch went to Edmeston and followed the valley of the Unadilla River. The Utica branch left the mainline north of Norwich NY at Randallsville and continued west to Utica and Rome. The main line continued to Oneida, then along the north side of Oneida Lake to Fulton. The O&W shared the line from Fulton into Oswego with the NYC. There is virtually no part of the O&W itself left in existence.

Oswego, NY: Within Oswego, the O&W tracks ran from Bridge Street northward, while the tracks south of Bridge Street were owned by the Rome, Watertown and Ogdensburg Railroad. This portion south of Bridge Street features a tunnel originally opened in 1876, and it became part of the New York Central Railroad in 1913.

Use of the tunnel for railroad purposes was discontinued in 1976. The tunnel had deteriorated by the 1990s, but has since been restored and incorporated, along with other local portions of the right-of-way, into the O&W Railroad Promenade and Bikeway, which was constructed in 2000-2001. The project was funded through the Federal Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA), the New York State Department of Transportation, Oswego County, and the City of Oswego.

The only remaining evidence of the line in Oswego is a railroad bridge over the Oswego River, the old New York Central Railroad Station at the corner of West 1st Street and West Utica Street, and the restored tunnel just south of Bridge Street. The bridge was covered in cement (presumably after the tracks and ties were removed), and now serves as the southern end of the O&W Railroad Promenade and Bikeway. The old New York Central Railroad Station is located just across the street from the southern end of the bridge, and is now Paul's Big M Food Depot. North of the bridge, the trail and bikeway continues through the restored tunnel and then along a very short stretch of the right of way up to East Schuyler Street. Immediately beyond either end of the trail, no other signs of the railroad can be found within Oswego as of 2008.

Have information about any abandoned rails? Please email me you will get credit for anything you contribute.

A brief history of the New York, Ontario, and Western Railroad

The “Old & Weary”, the Old Woman….appropriate names for this beleaguered railroad which somehow managed to survive for nearly a century. The O&W began as the New York & Oswego Midland Railroad. Building began in 1868 as a “grandiose vision” of Dewitt C. Littlejohn, a dynamic politician bearing an uncanny resemblance to Abe Lincoln. The goal was to connect New York City (at Weehawken) with northwest sections of upstate NY, still untouched by any rail..

The “Old & Weary”, the Old Woman….appropriate names for this beleaguered railroad which somehow managed to survive for nearly a century.

The O&W began as the New York & Oswego Midland Railroad. Building began in 1868 as a “grandiose vision” of Dewitt C. Littlejohn, a dynamic politician bearing an uncanny resemblance to Abe Lincoln. The goal was to connect New York City (at Weehawken) with northwest sections of upstate NY, still untouched by any rail. Oswego also happened to be the home of Littlejohn. The ‘Midland’ meandered this way and that to reach those towns which had put up money for its construction. Its twisting route was built at right angles to the mountains, requiring steep grades, high bridges, and enormous fills. Construction costs far exceeded estimates and within a month of completion, the ‘Midland’ was bankrupt! But it survived and was reorganized in 1880 as the New York, Ontario & Western Railway.

The ‘Ontario’ years, under new president Thomas P. Fowler saw much expansion bringing prosperous years. The O&W became established as a tourist carrier to the resort hotels and camps of the ‘lower Catskills’. It was an important hauler of milk and dairy products through upstate NY. And, it became a carrier of anthracite coal with the addition of the 55 mile Scranton Division in 1889-90.

The Scranton Division was actually the Ontario, Carbondale & Scranton (OCS) — formed in 1888 by the consolidation of three smaller lines (the Hancock and Pa, the Forest City & Stateline, and the Scranton & Forest City). All three of these short lines were owned by the directors and officers of the O&W who received stock in the OCS. Also in 1888, the NY&O Land Company (funded by the O&W) was incorporated to acquire property in the Lackawanna Valley anthracite coal fields. So, mining and shipping were linked.

In order to handle the coal traffic, a large coal marshaling yard was located at Mayfield. In 1892-93 the railway constructed a roundhouse, turntable, powerhouse, and other facilities to handle the servicing and repair of engines and rolling stock. Cadosia (twin city of Hancock) became the vital junction point on the NY, O&W. Coal shipped from the Scranton area reached the mainline here for continuation to upstate or downstate NY.

By the turn of the century, it was obvious that the O&W could not adequately handle the tremendous volume of coal traffic and it began double tracking its mainline. Double-tracking of the Scranton division was done in bits and pieces, and not completed until 1912. During this time the Mayfield yards were enlarged.

Coal business permitted the O&W to remain strong into the years of the Great Depression. The O&W handled only about 4% of the anthracite shipped out of PA, but in the 1930’s, this one commodity still accounted for over 50% of the railroad’s income. This reliance on the coal industry was to be its downfall as gas and oil heat became more competitive. The milk and passenger business dropped off with the opening of more roads and highways. Finally, in 1937, the O&W was forced into bankruptcy.

The railroad tried many more innovations to attract more business. The O&W hired German-born Otto Kuhler, who streamlined the style of aging locomotives and cars. The line even created a little moon-faced man from the letters O&W named Owen W. However all efforts failed, and the “Old & Weary” succumbed on March 29, 1957.

New York, Ontario Western 0-6- - History

1902 O&W RR Station History

As we prepare for our October 1, 2000 Centennial, Eastern New York Correctional Facility continues to be mindful and proud of the tradition of connectedness that we have with the surrounding community of Napanoch within the Town of Wawarsing.

At the completion of the facility tour, each "open house" guest was invited to visit the restored railroad station elsewhere on the grounds. Those who did saw an excellent video about Eastern, viewed interesting historical photos and artifacts, and came away with fact sheets about the station, the text of which is presented here.
In this regard, we recognize the historic value of the 1902 O&W Napanoch Train Station, which is on facility (New York State) property. The Station played a key role for the facility -- which had just opened -- through transport of material to continue the early building phase, prisoners, and coal and other supplies. Likewise critical to the community (as some may still remember) it succeeded the D&H Canal, and served as a nexus for meeting and visiting friends and family, a destination and waystation for summer boarders, a source of supplies for storekeepers and customers, a means of getting local goods to other markets, and a means for delivering the mail.

Nov. 13 -- Delaware Valley & Kingston RR incorporated in the interests of Pennsylvania Coal Co. to run on roadbed of abandoned D&H Canal (purchased from the Cornell Steamboat Co.) from Lackawaxen, Pa. to Kingston. It is bitterly opposed by both the O&W and the Erie.

1900 Jan. 6 -- Kingston & Rondout Valley RR organized in interests of PJM&NY and O&W to build from Ellenville to Kingston. Work is started at Napanoch.

March 15 -- At NY State RR Commission hearings into the Delaware Valley & Kingston RR, NYO&W announces that it has purchased stock control of Port Jervis, Monticello & NY RR.

Nov. 8 -- Several independent coal companies purchased in the interest of the O&W to help dry up support for the Delaware Valley & Kingston RR project.

1901 Jan. -- Erie RR buys Pennsylvania Coal Co., ending threat of DV&K R.R.

March 29 -- Ellenville & Kingston RR incorporated in interests of O&W.

May 29 -- O&W purchased the abandoned Delaware & Hudson Canal from Ellenville to Alligerville and used sections of the canal right of way for its Kingston branch which was completed by the end of 1902.

June 28 -- Contracts let for the new E & K RR.

1902 May 3 -- The first passenger train to Napanoch was run to bring inmates to Eastern New York Reformatory.

June 16 -- The first portion of the Kingston branch is opened for regular service from Ellenville 40 Kerhonkson.

Accordingly, we wish to preserve and restore it. To accomplish these goals, we have already achieved listing on the State and National Registers of Historic places, and we are moving to prevent any deterioration and begin its restoration. Once restored, we believe it has the potential to function as a small interpretive station/museum (accessible to the public on a scheduled basis) that would bring some local and regional history alive again through displays of photos, documents, artifacts and memorabilia.

Loan or donation of such items for future display would be very much appreciated. Anyone interested in doing so may contact Jeff Rubin at the facility at (845) 647-7400 ext. 4326.

About the NYGenWeb Project

A message was sent out over the GEN-NYS-L mailing list in June of 1996, asking if anyone would be interested starting a NYGenWeb page similiar to a highly successful project underway in Kentucky. Many people expressed an interest in this idea. About the same time, Jeff Murphy, then coordinator of the KYGenWeb, decided to go national with the idea, and out of that grew the USGenWeb project, and the NYGenWeb project.

If the county in which you are interested does not have a page or is marked as Adoptable on the County Selection Page and you wish to participate, please contact Robert Sullivan at [email protected] If there is a county you would like to volunteer to help with — transcribing data, typing contributions of data into a text file, HTML coding, etc. — please contact that county's coordinator.

You are our [an error occurred while processing this directive] visitor since August 1, 1996-- thanks for stopping by!

In Memoriam: Rex Stevenson, Herkimer-Montgomery Coordinator Laura Hulslander, Washington Coordinator Marjorie Schultz, Orleans Co-Coordinator and Linda Van Buren, Rensselaer Coordinator. John Stevenson, Clinton coordinator - 1999 Bill Dixon, Jefferson Co-Coordinator - 2013 Vee Housman, Niagara Co-Coordinator, 2005.

Impact on Native Americans

The building of the Erie Canal and subsequent population explosion along its route accelerated the dispossession—or removal—of Native Americans in western New York and the Upper Midwest.

The Erie Canal traversed the ancestral homelands of several groups, including the Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga and Seneca.

From the early years of the canal era to the peak of New York’s canal boom in the 1840s and 1850s, state and federal policies promoted the removal of indigenous populations from developing portions of New York.

Native Americans were sent to reservations in isolated portions of New York and other eastern States. Others were sent to unfamiliar outlying territories in the American Midwest.


Native American history Edit

The tribes in what is now New York were predominantly Haudenosaunee and Algonquian. [28] Long Island was divided roughly in half between the Wampanoag and Lenape. The Lenape also controlled most of the region surrounding New York Harbor. [42] North of the Lenape was a third Algonquian nation, the Mohicans. Starting north of them, from east to west, were three Iroquoian nations: the Mohawk, the original Iroquois and the Petun. South of them, divided roughly along Appalachia, were the Susquehannock and the Erie. [43] [44] [45] [46]

Many of the Wampanoag and Mohican peoples were caught up in King Philip's War, a joint effort of many New England tribes to push Europeans off their land. After the death of their leader, Chief Philip Metacomet, most of those peoples fled inland, splitting into the Abenaki and the Schaghticoke. Many of the Mohicans remained in the region until the 1800s, [47] however, a small group known as the Ouabano migrated southwest into West Virginia at an earlier time. They may have merged with the Shawnee. [48] [49]

The Mohawk and Susquehannock were the most militaristic. Trying to corner trade with the Europeans, they targeted other tribes. The Mohawk were also known for refusing white settlement on their land and discriminating any of their people who converted to Christianity. [50] They posed a major threat to the Abenaki and Mohicans, while the Susquehannock briefly conquered the Lenape in the 1600s. The most devastating event of the century, however, was the Beaver Wars.

From approximately 1640–1680, Iroquoian peoples waged campaigns which extended from modern-day Michigan to Virginia against Algonquian and Siouan tribes, as well as each other. The aim was to control more land for animal trapping, [51] a career most natives had turned to in hopes of trading with whites first. This completely changed the ethnography of the region, and most large game was hunted out before whites ever fully explored the land. Still, afterward, the Iroquois Confederacy offered shelter to refugees of the Mascouten, Erie, Chonnonton, Tutelo, Saponi, and Tuscarora nations.

In the 1700s, they would also merge with the Mohawk during the French-Indian War and take in the remaining Susquehannock of Pennsylvania after they were decimated in war. [52] Most of these other groups blended in until they ceased to exist. Then, after the American Revolution, a large group of them split off and returned to Ohio, becoming known as the Mingo Seneca. The current six tribes of the Iroquois Confederacy are the Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, Tuscarora and Mohawk. The Iroquois fought for both sides during the Revolutionary War afterwards many pro-British Iroquois migrated to Canada. Today, the Iroquois still live in several reservations in Upstate New York. [53] [54] [55] [56]

Meanwhile, the Lenape formed a close relationship with William Penn. However, upon Penn's death, his sons managed to take over much of their lands and banish them to Ohio. [57] When the U.S. drafted the Indian Removal Act, the Lenape were further moved to Missouri, whereas their cousins, the Mohicans, were sent to Wisconsin.

Also, in 1778, the United States relocated the Nanticoke from the Delmarva Peninsula to the former Iroquois lands south of Lake Ontario, though they did not stay long. Mostly, they chose to migrate into Canada and merge with the Iroquois, although some moved west and merged with the Lenape. [58]

16th century Edit

In 1524, Giovanni da Verrazzano, an Italian explorer in the service of the French crown, explored the Atlantic coast of North America between the Carolinas and Newfoundland, including New York Harbor and Narragansett Bay. On April 17, 1524, Verrazzano entered New York Bay, [59] [60] by way of the strait now called the Narrows into the northern bay which he named Santa Margherita, in honor of the King of France's sister. Verrazzano described it as "a vast coastline with a deep delta in which every kind of ship could pass" and he adds: "that it extends inland for a league and opens up to form a beautiful lake. This vast sheet of water swarmed with native boats." He landed on the tip of Manhattan and possibly on the furthest point of Long Island. Verrazzano's stay was interrupted by a storm which pushed him north towards Martha's Vineyard. [61]

In 1540, French traders from New France built a chateau on Castle Island, within present-day Albany it was abandoned the following year due to flooding. In 1614, the Dutch, under the command of Hendrick Corstiaensen, rebuilt the French chateau, which they called Fort Nassau. [30] Fort Nassau was the first Dutch settlement in North America, and was located along the Hudson River, also within present-day Albany. The small fort served as a trading post and warehouse. Located on the Hudson River flood plain, the rudimentary "fort" was washed away by flooding in 1617, [62] and abandoned for good after Fort Orange (New Netherland) was built nearby in 1623. [63]

17th century Edit

Henry Hudson's 1609 voyage marked the beginning of European involvement with the area. Sailing for the Dutch East India Company and looking for a passage to Asia, he entered the Upper New York Bay on September 11 of that year. [64] Word of his findings encouraged Dutch merchants to explore the coast in search for profitable fur trading with local Native American tribes.

During the 17th century, Dutch trading posts established for the trade of pelts from the Lenape, Iroquois, and other tribes were founded in the colony of New Netherland. The first of these trading posts were Fort Nassau (1614, near present-day Albany) Fort Orange (1624, on the Hudson River just south of the current city of Albany and created to replace Fort Nassau), developing into settlement Beverwijck (1647), and into what became Albany Fort Amsterdam (1625, to develop into the town New Amsterdam which is present-day New York City) and Esopus, (1653, now Kingston). The success of the patroonship of Rensselaerswyck (1630), which surrounded Albany and lasted until the mid-19th century, was also a key factor in the early success of the colony. The English captured the colony during the Second Anglo-Dutch War and governed it as the Province of New York. The city of New York was recaptured by the Dutch in 1673 during the Third Anglo-Dutch War (1672–1674) and renamed New Orange. It was returned to the English under the terms of the Treaty of Westminster a year later. [65]

18th century, the American Revolution, and statehood Edit

The Sons of Liberty were organized in New York City during the 1760s, largely in response to the oppressive Stamp Act passed by the British Parliament in 1765. [66] The Stamp Act Congress met in the city on October 19 of that year, composed of representatives from across the Thirteen Colonies who set the stage for the Continental Congress to follow. The Stamp Act Congress resulted in the Declaration of Rights and Grievances, which was the first written expression by representatives of the Americans of many of the rights and complaints later expressed in the United States Declaration of Independence. This included the right to representative government. At the same time, given strong commercial, personal and sentimental links to Britain, many New York residents were Loyalists. The Capture of Fort Ticonderoga provided the cannon and gunpowder necessary to force a British withdrawal from the Siege of Boston in 1775.

New York was the only colony not to vote for independence, as the delegates were not authorized to do so. New York then endorsed the Declaration of Independence on July 9, 1776. [67] The New York State Constitution was framed by a convention which assembled at White Plains on July 10, 1776, and after repeated adjournments and changes of location, finished its work at Kingston on Sunday evening, April 20, 1777, when the new constitution drafted by John Jay was adopted with but one dissenting vote. It was not submitted to the people for ratification. On July 30, 1777, George Clinton was inaugurated as the first Governor of New York at Kingston. [68]

About a third of the battles of the American Revolutionary War took place in New York the first major one (and largest of the entire war) was the Battle of Long Island, a.k.a. Battle of Brooklyn, in August 1776. After their victory, the British occupied New York City, making it their military and political base of operations in North America for the duration of the conflict, and consequently the focus of General George Washington's intelligence network. On the notorious British prison ships of Wallabout Bay, more American combatants died of intentional neglect than were killed in combat in every battle of the war combined. Both sides of combatants lost more soldiers to disease than to outright wounds. The first of two major British armies were captured by the Continental Army at the Battle of Saratoga in 1777, [69] a success that influenced France to ally with the revolutionaries. The state constitution was enacted in 1777. New York became the 11th state to ratify the United States Constitution, on July 26, 1788.

In an attempt to retain their sovereignty and remain an independent nation positioned between the new United States and British North America, four of the Iroquois Nations fought on the side of the British only the Oneida and their dependents, the Tuscarora, allied themselves with the Americans. [70] In retaliation for attacks on the frontier led by Joseph Brant and Loyalist Mohawk forces, the Sullivan Expedition of 1779 destroyed nearly 50 Iroquois villages, adjacent croplands and winter stores, forcing many refugees to British-held Niagara. [71]

As allies of the British, the Iroquois were forced out of New York, although they had not been part of treaty negotiations. They resettled in Canada after the war and were given land grants by the Crown. In the treaty settlement, the British ceded most Indian lands to the new United States. Because New York made treaty with the Iroquois without getting Congressional approval, some of the land purchases have been subject to land claim suits since the late 20th century by the federally recognized tribes. New York put up more than 5 million acres (20,000 km 2 ) of former Iroquois territory for sale in the years after the Revolutionary War, leading to rapid development in Upstate New York. [72] As per the Treaty of Paris, the last vestige of British authority in the former Thirteen Colonies—their troops in New York City—departed in 1783, which was long afterward celebrated as Evacuation Day. [73]

New York City was the national capital under the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, the first national government. That organization was found to be insufficient, and prominent New Yorker Alexander Hamilton advocated a new government that would include an executive, national courts, and the power to tax. Hamilton led the Annapolis Convention (1786) that called for the Philadelphia Convention, which drafted the United States Constitution, in which he also took part. The new government was to be a strong federal national government to replace the relatively weaker confederation of individual states. Following heated debate, which included the publication of the now quintessential constitutional interpretation—The Federalist Papers—as a series of installments in New York City newspapers, New York was the 11th state to ratify the United States Constitution, on July 26, 1788. [74] New York remained the national capital under the new constitution until 1790, [75] and was the site of the inauguration of President George Washington, [76] the drafting of the United States Bill of Rights, and the first session of the United States Supreme Court.

Both the Dutch and the British imported African slaves as laborers to the city and colony New York had the second-highest population of slaves after Charleston, South Carolina. Slavery was extensive in New York City and some agricultural areas. The state passed a law for the gradual abolition of slavery soon after the Revolutionary War, but the last slave in New York was not freed until 1827. [77]

19th century Edit

Transportation in Western New York was by expensive wagons on muddy roads before canals opened up the rich farm lands to long-distance traffic. Governor DeWitt Clinton promoted the Erie Canal, which connected New York City to the Great Lakes by the Hudson River, the new canal, and the rivers and lakes. Work commenced in 1817, and the Erie Canal opened in 1825. Packet boats pulled by horses on tow paths traveled slowly over the canal carrying passengers and freight. [78] Farm products came in from the Midwest, and finished manufactured goods moved west. It was an engineering marvel which opened up vast areas of New York to commerce and settlement. It enabled Great Lakes port cities such as Buffalo and Rochester to grow and prosper. It also connected the burgeoning agricultural production of the Midwest and shipping on the Great Lakes, with the port of New York City. Improving transportation, it enabled additional population migration to territories west of New York. After 1850, railroads largely replaced the canal. [79]

New York City was a major ocean port and had extensive traffic importing cotton from the South and exporting manufacturing goods. Nearly half of the state's exports were related to cotton. Southern cotton factors, planters and bankers visited so often that they had favorite hotels. [80] At the same time, activism for abolitionism was strong upstate, where some communities provided stops on the Underground Railroad. Upstate, and New York City, gave strong support for the American Civil War, in terms of finances, volunteer soldiers, and supplies. The state provided more than 370,000 soldiers to the Union armies. Over 53,000 New Yorkers died in service, roughly one of every seven who served. However, Irish draft riots in 1862 were a significant embarrassment. [81] [82]

Immigration Edit

Since the early 19th century, New York City has been the largest port of entry for legal immigration into the United States. In the United States, the federal government did not assume direct jurisdiction for immigration until 1890. Prior to this time, the matter was delegated to the individual states, then via contract between the states and the federal government. Most immigrants to New York would disembark at the bustling docks along the Hudson and East Rivers, in the eventual Lower Manhattan. On May 4, 1847, the New York State Legislature created the Board of Commissioners of Immigration to regulate immigration. [83]

The first permanent immigration depot in New York was established in 1855 at Castle Garden, a converted War of 1812 era fort located within what is now Battery Park, at the tip of Lower Manhattan. The first immigrants to arrive at the new depot were aboard three ships that had just been released from quarantine. Castle Garden served as New York's immigrant depot until it closed on April 18, 1890, when the federal government assumed control over immigration. During that period, more than eight million immigrants passed through its doors (two of every three U.S. immigrants). [84]

When the federal government assumed control, it established the Bureau of Immigration, which chose the three-acre Ellis Island in Upper New York Harbor for an entry depot. Already federally controlled, the island had served as an ammunition depot. It was chosen due its relative isolation with proximity to New York City and the rail lines of Jersey City, New Jersey, via a short ferry ride. While the island was being developed and expanded via land reclamation, the federal government operated a temporary depot at the Barge Office at the Battery. [85]

Ellis Island opened on January 1, 1892, and operated as a central immigration center until the National Origins Act was passed in 1924, reducing immigration. After that date, the only immigrants to pass through were displaced persons or war refugees. The island ceased all immigration processing on November 12, 1954, when the last person detained on the island, Norwegian seaman Arne Peterssen, was released. He had overstayed his shore leave and left on the 10:15 a.m. Manhattan-bound ferry to return to his ship.

More than twelve million immigrants passed through Ellis Island between 1892 and 1954. More than a hundred million Americans across the United States can trace their ancestry to these immigrants. Ellis Island was the subject of a contentious and long-running border and jurisdictional dispute between New York State and the State of New Jersey, as both claimed it. The issue was settled in 1998 by the U.S. Supreme Court which ruled that the original 3.3-acre (1.3 ha) island was New York State territory and that the balance of the 27.5 acres (11 ha) added after 1834 by landfill was in New Jersey. [86] The island was added to the National Park Service system in May 1965 by President Lyndon B. Johnson and is still owned by the federal government as part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument. Ellis Island was opened to the public as a museum of immigration in 1990. [87]

September 11, 2001 Edit

On September 11, 2001, two of four hijacked planes were flown into the Twin Towers of the original World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan, and the towers collapsed. 7 World Trade Center also collapsed due to damage from fires. The other buildings of the World Trade Center complex were damaged beyond repair and demolished soon thereafter. The collapse of the Twin Towers caused extensive damage and resulted in the deaths of 2,753 victims, including 147 aboard the two planes. Since September 11, most of Lower Manhattan has been restored. In the years since, over 7,000 rescue workers and residents of the area have developed several life-threatening illnesses, and some have died. [88] [89]

A memorial at the site, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, was opened to the public on September 11, 2011. A permanent museum later opened at the site on March 21, 2014. Upon its completion in 2014, the new One World Trade Center became the tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere, at 1,776 feet (541 m), meant to symbolize the year America gained its independence, 1776. [90] From 2006 to 2018, 3 World Trade Center, 4 World Trade Center, 7 World Trade Center, the World Trade Center Transportation Hub, Liberty Park, and Fiterman Hall were completed. St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and Ronald O. Perelman Performing Arts Center are under construction at the World Trade Center site.

Hurricane Sandy, 2012 Edit

On October 29 and 30, 2012, Hurricane Sandy caused extensive destruction of the state's shorelines, ravaging portions of New York City, Long Island, and southern Westchester with record-high storm surge, with severe flooding and high winds causing power outages for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers, and leading to gasoline shortages and disruption of mass transit systems. The storm and its profound effects have prompted the discussion of constructing seawalls and other coastal barriers around the shorelines of New York City and Long Island to minimize the risk from another such future event. Such risk is considered highly probable due to global warming and rising sea levels. [91] [92]

COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 Edit

On March 1, 2020, New York had its first confirmed case of COVID-19. [93] Since March 28, New York had the highest number of confirmed cases of any state in the United States California and Texas outpaced the state as of February 1, 2021. [94] Nearly 50 percent of known national cases were in the state as of March 2020, [95] with one-third of total known U.S. cases being in New York City. [96] From May 19–20, Western New York and the Capital Region entered Phase 1 of reopening. [97] [98] On May 26, the Hudson Valley began Phase 1, [99] and New York City partially reopened on June 8. [100]

During July 2020, a federal judge ruled Cuomo and De Blasio exceeded authority by limiting religious gatherings to 25% when others operated at 50% capacity. [101] [102] [103] On Thanksgiving Eve, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked additional religious restrictions imposed by Cuomo for areas with high infection rates. [104] New York's government released a new seal, coat of arms, and flag in April during the pandemic, adding "E pluribus unum" below the state's motto. [105] [106] A bill utilizing newly designed flag, arms and seal went into effect in September. [107]

The state of New York covers a total area of 54,556 square miles (141,300 km 2 ) and ranks as the 27th largest state by size. [2] The highest elevation in New York is Mount Marcy in the Adirondacks (Upstate New York), at 5,344 feet (1,629 meters) above sea level while the state's lowest point is at sea level, on the Atlantic Ocean in Downstate New York. [108]

In contrast with New York City's urban landscape, the vast majority of the state's geographic area is dominated by meadows, forests, rivers, farms, mountains, and lakes. Most of the southern part of the state rests on the Allegheny Plateau, which extends from the southeastern United States to the Catskill Mountains the section in New York State is known as the Southern Tier. The rugged Adirondack Mountains, with vast tracts of wilderness, lie west of the Lake Champlain Valley. The Great Appalachian Valley dominates eastern New York and contains Lake Champlain Valley as its northern half and the Hudson Valley as its southern half within the state. The Tug Hill region arises as a cuesta east of Lake Ontario. [109] The state of New York contains a part of the Marcellus shale, which extends into Ohio and Pennsylvania. [110]

Upstate and Downstate are often used informally to distinguish New York City or its greater metropolitan area from the rest of New York State. The placement of a boundary between the two is a matter of great contention. [111] Unofficial and loosely defined regions of Upstate New York include the Southern Tier, which often includes the counties along the border with Pennsylvania, [112] and the North Country, which can mean anything from the strip along the Canada–U.S. border to everything north of the Mohawk River. [113]

Water Edit

Borders Edit

Of New York State's total area, 13.6% consists of water. [114] Much of New York's boundaries are in water, as is true for New York City: four of its five boroughs are situated on three islands at the mouth of the Hudson River: Manhattan Island Staten Island and Long Island, which contains Brooklyn and Queens at its western end. The state's borders include a water boundary in (clockwise from the west) two Great Lakes (Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, which are connected by the Niagara River) the provinces of Ontario and Quebec in Canada, with New York and Ontario sharing the Thousand Islands archipelago within the Saint Lawrence River, while most of its border with Quebec is on land it shares Lake Champlain with the New England state of Vermont the New England state of Massachusetts has mostly a land border New York extends into Long Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean, sharing a water border with Rhode Island, while Connecticut has land and sea borders. Except for areas near the New York Harbor and the Upper Delaware River, New York has a mostly land border with two Mid-Atlantic states, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. New York is the only state that includes within its borders parts of the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean.

Drainage Edit

The Hudson River begins near 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 River and then ultimately the Saint Lawrence River. The western section of the state is drained by the Allegheny River and rivers of the Susquehanna and Delaware River systems. Niagara Falls is shared between New York and Ontario as it flows on the Niagara River from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario. 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. [115]

Climate Edit

In general, New York has a humid continental climate, though under the Köppen climate classification, New York City has a humid subtropical climate. [116] Weather in New York is heavily influenced by two continental air masses: a warm, humid one from the southwest and a cold, dry one from the northwest. Downstate New York, comprising New York City, Long Island, and lower portions of the Hudson Valley, has rather hot summers with some periods of high humidity and cold, damp winters which are relatively mild compared to temperatures in Upstate New York due to the downstate region's lower elevation, proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, and relatively lower latitude.

Upstate New York experiences warm summers, marred by only occasional, brief intervals of sultry conditions, with long and cold winters. Western New York, particularly the Tug Hill region, receives heavy lake-effect snows, especially during the earlier portions of winter, before the surface of Lake Ontario itself is covered by ice. The summer climate is cool in the Adirondacks, Catskills, and at higher elevations of the Southern Tier. Buffalo and its metropolitan area are described as climate change havens for their weather pattern in Western New York. [117] [118] [119] [120]

Summer daytime temperatures range from the high 70s to low 80s (25 to 28 °C), over most of the state. In the majority of winter seasons, a temperature of −13 °F (−25 °C) or lower can be expected in the northern highlands (Northern Plateau) and 5 °F (−15 °C) or colder in the southwestern and east-central highlands of the Southern Tier. New York had a record-high temperature of 108 °F (42.2 °C) on July 22, 1926. [121] Its record-lowest temperature during the winter was −52 °F (−46.7 °C) in 1979. [121]

Climate change Edit

Climate change in New York encompasses the effects of climate change, attributed to man-made increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide, in the U.S. state of New York. It is of concern due to its impact on the people, ecosystem, and economy of the state. Many parts of the state are already experiencing weather changes, and sea-level rise, and threatening local communities.

New York State ranks 46th among the 50 states in the amount of greenhouse gases generated per person. This relative efficient energy usage is primarily due to the dense, compact settlement in the New York City metropolitan area, and the high rate of mass transit use in this area and between major cities. [122] The main sources of greenhouse gases per the state government are transportation, buildings, electricity generation, waste, refrigerants, and agriculture. [123] In 2019 the state pledged to eliminate net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. [124]

Flora and fauna Edit

Some species that can be found in this state are american ginseng, starry stonewort, waterthyme, water chestnut, eastern poison ivy, poison sumac, giant hogweed, cow parsnip and common nettle. [125] There are more than 20 mammal species, more than 20 bird species, some species of amphibians, and several reptile species.

Birds of prey that are present in the state are great horned owls, bald eagles, red-tailed hawks, American kestrels, and northern harriers. Waterfowl like mallards, wood ducks, canvasbacks, American black ducks, Canada geese, and blue-winged teals can be found in the region. Maritime or shore birds of New York are great blue heron, killdeers, northern cardinals, American herring gulls, and common terns. [127] Reptiles species that can be seen in land areas of New York are queen snake, massasauga, hellbender, diamondback terrapin, spotted turtle, and Blanding's turtle. Species of turtles that can be found in the sea are green sea turtle, loggerhead sea turtle, leatherback sea turtle and Kemp's ridley sea turtle. [128] New York Harbor and the Hudson River constitute an estuary, making New York state home to a rich array of marine life including shellfish—such as oysters and clams—as well as fish, microorganisms, and sea-birds.

Regions Edit

Due to its long history, New York has several overlapping and often conflicting definitions of regions within the state. The regions are also not fully definable due to colloquial use of regional labels. The New York State Department of Economic Development provides two distinct definitions of these regions. It divides the state into ten economic regions, [129] which approximately correspond to terminology used by residents:

The department also groups the counties into eleven regions for tourism purposes: [130]

State parks Edit

New York has many state parks and two major forest preserves. Niagara Falls State Park, established in 1885, is the oldest state park in the United States and the first to be created via eminent domain. [131] [132] In 1892, Adirondack Park, roughly the size of the state of Vermont and the largest state park in the United States, [133] was established and given state constitutional protection to remain "forever wild" in 1894. The park is larger than Yellowstone, Everglades, Glacier, and Grand Canyon national parks combined. [133] It is larger than the Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Glacier, and Olympic National Parks combined. [134] The Catskill Park was protected in legislation passed in 1885, [135] which declared that its land was to be conserved and never put up for sale or lease. Consisting of 700,000 acres (2,800 km 2 ) of land, [135] the park is a habitat for deer, minks, and fishers. There are some 400 black bears living in the region. [136] The state operates numerous campgrounds, and there are over 300 miles (480 km) of multi-use trails in the Park.

The 1797 Montauk Lighthouse, commissioned under President George Washington, is a major tourist attraction in Montauk State Park at the easternmost tip of Long Island. Hither Hills State Park, also on the South Fork of Long Island, offers camping and is a popular destination with surfcasting sport fishermen.

National parks, monuments, and historic landmarks Edit

New York State is well represented in the National Park System with 22 national parks, which received 16,349,381 visitors in 2011. In addition, there are four national heritage areas, 27 national natural landmarks, 262 national historic landmarks, and 5,379 listings on the National Register of Historic Places. Some major areas, landmarks, and monuments are listed below.

  • The Statue of Liberty National Monument includes Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. The statue, designed by Frédéric Bartholdi and formally named Liberty Enlightening the World, was a gift from France to the United States to mark the Centennial of the American Declaration of Independence it was dedicated in New York Harbor on October 28, 1886. It has since become an icon of the United States and the concepts of democracy and freedom.
  • The African Burial Ground National Monument in Lower Manhattan is the only national monument dedicated to Americans of African ancestry. It preserves a site containing the remains of more than 400 Africans buried during the late 17th and 18th centuries in a portion of what was the largest colonial-era cemetery for people of African descent, both free and enslaved, with an estimated tens of thousands of remains interred. The site's excavation and study were called "the most important historic urban archeological project in the United States". [138] is a United Statesnational seashore that protects a 26-mile (42 km) section of Fire Island, an approximately 30-mile (48 km) long barrier island separated from the mainland of Long Island by the Great South Bay. The island is part of Suffolk County. [139] is more than 26,000 acres (10,522 ha) of water, salt marsh, wetlands, islands, and shoreline at the entrance to New York Harbor, [140] the majority of which lies within New York. Including areas on Long Island and in New Jersey, it covers more area than that of two Manhattan islands. is the final resting place of President Ulysses S. Grant and is the largest mausoleum in North America. preserves the home of Alexander Hamilton, Caribbean immigrant and orphan who rose to be a United States founding father and associate of George Washington.
  • The Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site, established in 1945, preserves the Springwood estate in Hyde Park, New York. Springwood was the birthplace, lifelong home, and burial place of the 32nd President of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt. was designated by the U.S. Congress in 2008 it stretches from the western boundary of Wheatfield, New York to the mouth of the Niagara River on Lake Ontario, including the communities of Niagara Falls, Youngstown, and Lewiston. It includes Niagara Falls State Park and Colonial Niagara Historic District. It is managed in collaboration with the state. preserves the site of the Battles of Saratoga, the first significant American military victory of the American Revolutionary War. In 1777, American forces defeated a major British Army, [69] which led France to recognize the independence of the United States, and enter the war as a decisive military ally of the struggling Americans. , in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Lower Manhattan, is the first U.S. national monument dedicated to LGBTQ rights, designated on June 24, 2016. The monument comprises the Stonewall Inn, commonly recognized to be the cradle of the gay liberation movement as the site of the 1969 Stonewall Riots the adjacent Christopher Park and surrounding streets and sidewalks. [141][142][143]
  • Manhattan's Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site is also the childhood home of President Theodore Roosevelt, the only president born in New York City until Donald Trump.

Administrative divisions Edit

New York is divided into 62 counties. Aside from the five counties of New York City, each of these counties is subdivided into towns and cities, incorporated under state law. Towns can contain incorporated villages or unincorporated hamlets. New York City is divided into five boroughs, each coterminous with a county. The major cities of the state developed along the key transportation and trade routes of the early 19th century, including the Erie Canal and railroads paralleling it. Today, the New York Thruway acts as a modern counterpart to commercial water routes. [144] Downstate New York (New York City, Long Island, and the southern portion of the Hudson Valley) can be considered to form the central core of the Northeast megalopolis, an urbanized region stretching from New Hampshire to Virginia.

Cities and towns Edit

There are 62 cities in New York. The largest city in the state and the most populous city in the United States is New York City, which comprises five counties (each coextensive with a borough): Bronx, New York County (Manhattan), Queens, Kings County (Brooklyn), and Richmond County (Staten Island). New York City is home to more than two-fifths of the state's population. Albany, the state capital, is the sixth-largest city in New York State. The smallest city is Sherrill, New York, in Oneida County. Hempstead is the most populous town in the state if it were a city, it would be the second largest in New York State, with more than 700,000 residents. New York contains 13 metropolitan areas, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau. [145] Major metro areas include New York City, Buffalo, Rochester, the Capital District (Albany, Schenectady, and Troy), Poughkeepsie, Syracuse, Utica, and Binghamton.

Population Edit

Historical population
Census Pop.
1800589,051 73.2%
1810959,049 62.8%
18201,372,812 43.1%
18301,918,608 39.8%
18402,428,921 26.6%
18503,097,394 27.5%
18603,880,735 25.3%
18704,382,759 12.9%
18805,082,871 16.0%
18906,003,174 18.1%
19007,268,894 21.1%
19109,113,614 25.4%
192010,385,227 14.0%
193012,588,066 21.2%
194013,479,142 7.1%
195014,830,192 10.0%
196016,782,304 13.2%
197018,236,967 8.7%
198017,558,072 −3.7%
199017,990,455 2.5%
200018,976,457 5.5%
201019,378,102 2.1%
202020,201,249 4.2%
Sources: 1910–2020 [147]

The U.S.'s most populous state until the 1960s, New York is now the fourth most-populous state, behind, California, Texas, and Florida. The distribution of change in population growth is uneven in New York State the New York City metropolitan area is growing, along with Saratoga County, while cities such as Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse, among others, have been losing population for decades. [148] New York City gained more residents between April 2010 and July 2018 (223,615) than any other U.S. city. [149] Conversely, outside of the Ithaca area, population growth in much of Western New York is nearly stagnant. [148]

According to immigration statistics, the state is a leading recipient of migrants from around the globe. In 2008 New York State had the second-largest international immigrant population in the country among the American states, at 4.2 million most reside in and around New York City, due to its size, high profile, vibrant economy, and cosmopolitan culture. New York has a pro-sanctuary city law. [150]

The United States Census Bureau tabulated in the 2020 United States census that the population of New York was 20,215,751 on April 1, 2020, a 4.3% increase since the 2010 United States census. [6] [151] Despite the open land in the state, New York State's population is very urban, with 92% of residents living in an urban area, [152] predominantly in the New York City metropolitan area.

Two-thirds of New York State's population resides in the New York City metropolitan area. New York City is the most populous city in the United States, [153] with an estimated record high population of 8,622,698 in 2017, [11] incorporating more immigration into the city than emigration since the 2010 United States census. [154] At least twice as many people live in New York City as in the second-most populous U.S. city (Los Angeles), [155] and within a smaller area. Long Island alone accounted for a census-estimated 7,838,722 residents in 2015, representing 39.6% of New York State's population. [11] [156] [157] [158] [159] Of the total statewide population, 6.5% of New Yorkers were under five years of age, 24.7% under 18, and 12.9% were 65 or older.

Race and ethnicity Edit

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, New York had a racial and ethnic makeup of 55.1% non-Hispanic whites, 14.2% Blacks or African Americans, 0.2% American Indians or Alaska Natives, 8.6% Asians, 0.6% from some other race, 2.1% from two or more races, and 19.3% Hispanics or Latin Americans of any race. There were an estimated 3,725 Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders in the state in 2019. [160] Hispanics or Latin Americans of any race were 17.6% of the population in 2010 5.5% Puerto Rican, 4.4% Dominican, 2.4% were of Mexican, 0.4% Cuban, and 9.4% other Hispanic or Latin American origin. According to the American Community Survey, the largest ancestry White American groups were Italian (13.0%), Irish (12.1%), German (10.3%), American (5.4%), and English (5.2%). [161] [162]

The state's most populous racial group, non-Hispanic white, declined as a proportion of the state population from 94.6% in 1940 to 58.3% in 2010. [163] [164] As of 2011 [update] , 55.6% of New York's population younger than age 1 were minorities. [165] New York's robustly increasing Jewish population, the largest outside of Israel, [166] was the highest among states both by percentage and by absolute number in 2012. [167] It is driven by the high reproductive rate of Orthodox Jewish families, [168] particularly in Brooklyn and communities of the Hudson Valley.

New York is home to the second-largest Asian American population and the fourth-largest Black or African American population in the United States. New York's Black and African population increased by 2.0% between 2000 and 2010, to 3,073,800. [169] In 2019, the Black and African American population increased to an estimated 3,424,002. The Black or African American population is in a state of flux, as New York is the largest recipient of immigrants from Africa, [170] while established Blacks and African Americans are migrating out of New York to the southern United States. [171] The New York City neighborhood of Harlem has historically been a major cultural capital for Blacks and African Americans of sub-Saharan descent, and Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn has the largest such population in the United States. Meanwhile, New York's Asian population increased by a notable 36% from 2000 to 2010, to 1,420,244 [169] in 2019, its population grew to an estimated 1,579,494. Queens, in New York City, is home to the state's largest Asian American population and is the most ethnically diverse county in the United States and the most ethnically diverse urban area in the world. [172] [173]

New York's growing Hispanic and Latin American population numbered 3,416,922 in 2010, [174] a 19% increase from the 2,867,583 enumerated in 2000. [175] In 2020, it numbered an estimated 3,811,000. [176] Queens is home to the largest Andean (Colombian, Ecuadorian, Peruvian, and Bolivian) populations in the United States. In addition, New York has the largest Puerto Rican, Dominican, and Jamaican American populations in the continental United States. The Chinese population constitutes the fastest-growing nationality in New York State, which is the top destination for new Chinese immigrants, and large-scale Chinese immigration continues into the state. [170] [177] [178] [179] [180] Multiple satellites of the original Manhattan Chinatown, in Brooklyn, and around Flushing, Queens, are thriving as traditionally urban enclaves, while also expanding rapidly eastward into suburban Nassau County, [181] on Long Island. [182] Long Island, including Queens and Nassau County, is also home to several Little Indias and a large Koreatown, with large and growing attendant populations of Indian Americans and Korean Americans, respectively. Brooklyn has been a destination for West Indian immigrants of African descent, as well as Asian Indian immigrants. The annual New York City India Day Parade, held on or approximately every August 15 since 1981, is the world's largest Indian Independence Day parade outside of India. [183]

In the 2000 U.S. census, New York had the largest Italian American population, composing the largest self-identified ancestral group in Staten Island and Long Island, followed by Irish Americans. Albany and the Mohawk Valley also have large communities of ethnic Italians and Irish Americans, reflecting 19th and early 20th-century immigration. According to the American Community Survey, New York had the largest Greek American population too, which counts 148,637 people (0.7% of the state). [162] In Buffalo and Western New York, German Americans comprise the largest ancestry. In the North Country of New York, French Canadians represent the leading ethnicity, given the area's proximity to Quebec. Americans of English ancestry are present throughout all of upstate New York, reflecting early colonial and later immigrants.

Languages Edit

Most common non-English languages (2010) [187]
Language Population
Spanish 14.44%
Chinese (incl. Cantonese and Mandarin) 2.61%
Russian 1.20%
Italian 1.18%
French Creole 0.79%
French 0.75%
Yiddish 0.67%
Korean 0.63%
Polish 0.53%
Bengali 0.43%

In 2019, the U.S. Census Bureau reported 69.5% of New York's population aged 5 years and older only spoke English, with 30.6% speaking a language other than English. Spanish remained the second most spoken non-English language with 2,758,925 speakers. Other Indo-European languages were spoken by 1,587,798 residents, and Asian and Pacific Islander languages were spoken by 948,959 people. [188]

At the American Community Survey's 2017 estimates, nearly six million residents spoke a language other than English. Approximately 1,249,541 New York residents spoke Spanish, 386,290 Chinese, 122,150 Russian, 63,615 Haitian Creole, 62,219 Bengali, and 60,405 Korean. [189] [187] In 2018, 12,756,975 aged 5 years and older spoke English alone and 10,415,395 aged 18 and older only spoke English. Spanish-speaking households by majority were not limited English-speaking. [190] An estimated 2.7 million households with residents aged 5 and older spoke Spanish. Chinese, Slavic, and French languages were the following largest household languages spoken in 2018. [191]

In 2010, 70.72% (12,788,233) of New York residents aged five and older reported speaking only English at home, while 14.44% (2,611,903) spoke Spanish, 2.61% (472,955) Chinese (which includes Cantonese and Mandarin), 1.20% (216,468) Russian, 1.18% (213,785) Italian, 0.79% (142,169) French Creole, 0.75% (135,789) French, 0.67% (121,917) Yiddish, 0.63% (114,574) Korean, and Polish was spoken by 0.53% (95,413) of the population over the age of five. In total, 29.28% (5,295,016) of New York's population aged five and older reported speaking a language other than English. [187]

In 2010, the most common American English dialects spoken in New York, besides General American English, were the New York City area dialect (including New York Latino English and North Jersey English), the Western New England accent around Albany, and Inland Northern American English in Buffalo and western New York State. As many as 800 languages are spoken in New York City, [192] [193] [194] making it the most linguistically diverse city in the world. [195]

Sexual orientation and gender identity Edit

Roughly 3.8 percent of the state's adult population self-identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. This constitutes a total LGBT adult population of 570,388 individuals. [197] In 2010, the number of same-sex couple households stood at roughly 48,932. [198] New York was the fifth state to license same-sex marriages, after New Hampshire. Michael Bloomberg, the Mayor of New York City, said "same-sex marriages in New York City have generated an estimated $259 million in economic impact and $16 million in City revenues" in the first year after enactment of the Marriage Equality Act. [199] Same-sex marriages in New York were legalized on June 24, 2011, and were authorized to take place beginning thirty days thereafter. [200] New York City is also home to the largest transgender population in the United States, estimated at 25,000 in 2016. [201] The annual New York City Pride March (or gay pride parade) traverses southward down Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, ending at Greenwich Village, and rivals the Sao Paulo Gay Pride Parade as the largest pride parade in the world, attracting tens of thousands of participants and millions of sidewalk spectators each June. [202]

The Stonewall riots were a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations by members of the gay community against a police raid that took place in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood within Lower Manhattan. They are widely considered to constitute the single most important event leading to the gay liberation movement, [196] [203] [204] [205] and the modern fight for LGBT rights. [206] [207] In June 2017, plans were announced for the first official monument to LGBT individuals commissioned by the State of New York, in contrast to the Stonewall National Monument, which was commissioned by the U.S. federal government. The state monument was planned to be built in Hudson River Park in Manhattan, near the waterfront Hudson River piers which have served as historically significant symbols of New York's central role as a meeting place and a safe haven for LGBT communities. [208] [209]

Also as of 2017, plans were advancing by the State of New York to host the largest international LGBT pride celebration in 2019, known as Stonewall 50 – WorldPride NYC 2019, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. [210] In New York City, the Stonewall 50–WorldPride NYC 2019 events produced by Heritage of Pride were enhanced through a partnership made with the I LOVE NY program's LGBT division and included a welcome center during the weeks surrounding the Stonewall 50 / WorldPride events that was open to all. Additional commemorative arts, cultural, and educational programing to mark the 50th anniversary of the rebellion at the Stonewall Inn took place throughout the city and the world Stonewall 50 – WorldPride NYC 2019 was the largest LGBT pride celebration held in history, drawing an estimated five million people. [211] Brooklyn Liberation March, the largest transgender-rights demonstration in LGBTQ history, took place on June 14, 2020 stretching from Grand Army Plaza to Fort Greene, Brooklyn, focused on supporting Black transgender lives, drawing an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 participants. [212] [213]

Religion Edit

The majority of New York's religious population are Christian (60%), followed by the irreligious (27%), Judaism (7%), Islam (2%), Buddhism and Hinduism (1% each), and other faiths (0.5%). [215] Before the 1800s, Protestant sects dominated the religious life of New York, although religion did not play as large a role in the public life of New Netherland as it did in New England, with its Puritan population. [216] Historically, New York served as the foundation for new Christian denominations in the Second Great Awakening. Non-Western Christian traditions and non-Christian religions did not grow for much of the state's history because immigration was predominantly from Western Europe (which at the time was dominated by Western Christianity and favored by the quotas in federal immigration law). The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 removed the quotas, allowing for the growth of other religious groups.

The Roman Catholic Church is the largest Christian denomination in New York (31%). The largest Roman Catholic diocese is the Latin Church's Archdiocese of New York. The largest Eastern Catholic diocese is the Ruthenian Catholic Eparchy of Passaic of the Ruthenian Greek Catholic Church. The United Methodist Church is the largest Mainline Protestant denomination and second largest overall, followed by the Episcopal Church in the U.S. and other Continuing Anglican bodies. The Presbyterian Church (USA), Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and American Baptist Churches USA were the following largest Mainline denominations. Mainline Protestants together make up 11% of Christians in the state as of 2014. [215] In Evangelical Protestantism the Baptists, non-denominational Protestants, and Pentecostals were the largest groups. The National Baptist Convention (USA) and Progressive National Baptist Convention were the largest historically-black Protestant churches in New York. Roughly 10% of Christians in New York are Evangelical Protestants. [215] The Eastern and Oriental Orthodox collectively comprised 1% of the religious demographic alongside Jehovah's Witnesses and other Christians.

Non-Christian faiths accounted for 12% of the religious population. [215] Judaism is the second largest religion as of 2014. In 2010, 588,500 practiced Orthodox Judaism. [217] A little over 392,953 professed Islam. The Powers Street Mosque in New York City was the first Muslim organization in the state. [218] New York is also home to the oldest Zoroastrian fire temple in the United States. Less than 1% of New York's population practice New Age and contemporary paganism. Native American religions are also a prominent minority. [215] The irreligious are a growing community in the New York City metropolitan area. Statewide, 17% practice nothing in particular and 5% each are atheists and agnostic.

New York's gross state product in 2018 was US$1.7 trillion. [219] If New York State were an independent nation, it would rank as the 11th largest economy in the world. [220] However, in 2019, the multi-state, New York City-centered metropolitan statistical area produced a gross metropolitan product (GMP) of $US2 trillion, ranking first nationally by a wide margin and behind the GDP of only nine nations.

Wall Street Edit

Anchored by Wall Street in the Financial District of Lower Manhattan, New York City has been called both the most economically powerful city and the leading financial center of the world. [22] [26] [222] [223] [224] Lower Manhattan is the third-largest central business district in the United States and is home to the New York Stock Exchange, on Wall Street, and the NASDAQ, at 165 Broadway, representing the world's largest and second largest stock exchanges, respectively, as measured both by overall average daily trading volume and by total market capitalization of their listed companies in 2013. [221] [225] Investment banking fees on Wall Street totaled approximately $40 billion in 2012, [226] while in 2013, senior New York City bank officers who manage risk and compliance functions earned as much as $324,000 annually. [227] In fiscal year 2013–14, Wall Street's securities industry generated 19% of New York State's tax revenue. [228] New York City remains the largest global center for trading in public equity and debt capital markets, driven in part by the size and financial development of the U.S. economy. [229] : 31–32 [230] New York also leads in hedge fund management private equity and the monetary volume of mergers and acquisitions. Several investment banks and investment managers headquartered in Manhattan are important participants in other global financial centers. [229] : 34–35 New York is also the principal commercial banking center of the United States. [231]

Many of the world's largest media conglomerates are also based in the city. Manhattan contained approximately 520 million square feet (48.1 million m 2 ) of office space in 2013, [232] making it the largest office market in the United States, [233] while Midtown Manhattan is the largest central business district in the nation. [234]

Silicon Alley Edit

Silicon Alley, centered in New York City, has evolved into a metonym for the sphere encompassing the New York City metropolitan region's high technology and entrepreneurship ecosystem in 2015, Silicon Alley generated over $7.3 billion in venture capital investment. [35] High tech industries including digital media, biotechnology, software development, game design, and other fields in information technology are growing, bolstered by New York City's position at the terminus of several transatlantic fiber optic trunk lines, [235] its intellectual capital, as well as its growing outdoor wireless connectivity. [236] In December 2014, New York State announced a $50 million venture-capital fund to encourage enterprises working in biotechnology and advanced materials according to Governor Andrew Cuomo, the seed money would facilitate entrepreneurs in bringing their research into the marketplace. [237] On December 19, 2011, then Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced his choice of Cornell University and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology to build a two billion dollar graduate school of applied sciences on Roosevelt Island in Manhattan, with the goal of transforming New York City into the world's premier technology capital. [238] [239]

Tech Valley Edit

Albany, [240] Saratoga County, [241] [242] Rensselaer County, and the Hudson Valley, collectively recognized as eastern New York's Tech Valley, have experienced significant growth in the computer hardware side of the high-technology industry, with great strides in the nanotechnology sector, digital electronics design, and water- and electricity-dependent integrated microchip circuit manufacturing, [241] involving companies including IBM and its Thomas J. Watson Research Center, [243] and the three foreign-owned firms, GlobalFoundries, Samsung, and Taiwan Semiconductor, among others. [240] [244] The area's high technology ecosystem is supported by technologically focused academic institutions including Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the SUNY Polytechnic Institute. [240] In 2015, Tech Valley, straddling both sides of the Adirondack Northway and the New York Thruway, generated over $163 million in venture capital investment. [35] The Rochester area is important in the field of photographic processing and imaging as well as incubating an increasingly diverse high technology sphere encompassing STEM fields, similarly in part the result of private startup enterprises collaborating with major academic institutions, including the University of Rochester and Cornell University. [245] Westchester County has developed a burgeoning biotechnology sector in the 21st century, with over a billion dollars in planned private investment as of 2016. [246] [247] In April 2021, GlobalFoundries, a company specializing in the semiconductor industry, moved its headquarters from Silicon Valley, California to its most advanced semiconductor-chip manufacturing facility in Saratoga County near a section of the Adirondack Northway, in Malta, New York. [248]

Media and entertainment Edit

Creative industries, which are concerned with generating and distributing knowledge and information, such as new media, digital media, film and television production, advertising, fashion, design, and architecture, account for a growing share of employment, with New York City possessing a strong competitive advantage in these industries. [249] As of 2014 [update] , New York State was offering tax incentives of up to $420 million annually for filmmaking within the state, the most generous such tax rebate among the U.S. states. New York has also attracted higher-wage visual-effects employment by further augmenting its tax credit to a maximum of 35% for performing post-film production work in Upstate New York. [250] The filmed entertainment industry has been growing in New York, contributing nearly $9 billion to the New York City economy alone as of 2015. [251]

Tourism Edit

I Love New York (stylized I ❤ NY) is a slogan, a logo and state song that are the basis of an advertising campaign and has been used since 1977 to promote tourism in the state of New York, [252] including New York City. [253] [254] The trademarked logo is owned by New York State Empire State Development. [255] The Broadway League reported that Broadway shows sold approximately $1.27 billion worth of tickets in the 2013–2014 season, an 11.4% increase from $1.139 billion in the 2012–2013 season. Attendance in 2013–2014 stood at 12.21 million, representing a 5.5% increase from the 2012–2013 season's 11.57 million. [256]

Exports Edit

New York exports a wide variety of goods such as prepared foods, computers and electronics, cut diamonds, and other commodities. In 2007, the state exported a total of $71.1 billion worth of goods, with the five largest foreign export markets being Canada ($15 billion), the United Kingdom ($6 billion), Switzerland ($5.9 billion), Israel ($4.9 billion), and Hong Kong ($3.4 billion). New York's largest imports are oil, gold, aluminum, natural gas, electricity, rough diamonds, and lumber. The state also has a large manufacturing sector that includes printing and the production of garments, mainly in New York City and furs, railroad equipment, automobile parts, and bus line vehicles, concentrated in Upstate regions.

New York is the nation's third-largest grape producing state, and second-largest wine producer by volume, behind California. The southern Finger Lakes hillsides, the Hudson Valley, the North Fork of Long Island, and the southern shore of Lake Erie are the primary grape- and wine-growing regions in New York, with many vineyards. In 2012, New York had 320 wineries and 37,000 grape bearing acres, generating full-time employment for nearly 25,000 and annual wages over $1.1 billion, and yielding $4.8 billion in direct economic impact from New York grapes, grape juice, and wine and grape products. [257]

Agriculture Edit

The New York agriculture industry is a major producer overall, ranking among the top five states for agricultural products including maple syrup, apples, cherries, cabbage, dairy products, onions, and potatoes. 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 $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. 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.

Energy Edit

In 2017, New York State consumed 156,370-gigawatthours (GWh) of electrical energy. Downstate regions (Hudson Valley, New York City, and Long Island) consumed 66% of that amount. Upstate regions produced 50% of that amount. The peak load in 2017 was 29,699 MW. The resource capability in 2017 was 42,839 MW. [258] [259] The NYISO's market monitor described the average all-in wholesale electric price as a range (a single value was not provided) from $25 per MWh to $53 per MWh for 2017. [260]

At the level of post-secondary education, the statewide public university system is the State University of New York (SUNY). The SUNY system consists of 64 community colleges, technical colleges, undergraduate colleges, and doctoral-granting institutions. [261] The SUNY system has four "university centers": Albany (1844), Buffalo (1846), Binghamton (1946), and Stony Brook (1957). The SUNY system is home to three academic medical centers: Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University in Long Island, SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, and SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn.

Columbia University, Cornell University, New York University are among the most prominent of the larger higher education institutions in New York, all of them leading, world-renowned private universities and members of the Association of American Universities, the pre-eminent group of research universities in the United States.

Other notable large private universities include Syracuse University and Fordham University. Smaller notable private institutions of higher education include University of Rochester, Rockefeller University, Mercy College, New York Institute of Technology, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Yeshiva University, and Hofstra University. There are also a multitude of postgraduate-level schools in New York State, including medical, law, and engineering schools.

West Point, the service academy of the U.S. Army, is located just south of Newburgh, on the west bank of the Hudson River. The federal Merchant Marine Academy is at Kings Point on Long Island.

A number of selective private liberal arts institutions are located in New York. Among them are Bard College, Barnard College, Colgate University, Hamilton College, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Marist College, Sarah Lawrence College, Skidmore College, Union College, and Vassar College. Two of these schools, Barnard and Vassar, are members of the elite Seven Sisters, originally all women's colleges with ties to the Ivy League. Barnard is affiliated with Columbia University, its Manhattan neighbor, and Vassar became coeducational in 1969 after declining an offer to merge with Yale University.

New York is also home to what are widely regarded as the best performing arts schools in the world. The Juilliard School, located in the Upper West Side of Manhattan, is one of the world's leading music and dance schools. [262] [263] [264] The Eastman School of Music, a professional school within the University of Rochester, was ranked first among U.S. music schools by U.S. News & World Report for five consecutive years. [265]

The University of the State of New York accredits and sets standards for elementary, middle-level, and secondary education in the state, while the New York State Education Department oversees public schools and controls their standardized tests. The New York City Department of Education manages the New York City Public Schools system. In 1894, reflecting general racial discrimination then, the state passed a law that allowed communities to set up separate schools for children of African-American descent. In 1900, the state passed another law requiring integrated schools. [266] During the 2013 fiscal year, New York spent more on public education per pupil than any other state, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics. [267]

New York has one of the most extensive and one of the oldest transportation infrastructures in the country. Engineering challenges posed by the complex terrain of the state and the unique infrastructural issues of New York City brought on by urban crowding have had to be overcome perennially. Population expansion of the state has followed the path of the early waterways, first the Hudson River and Mohawk River, then the Erie Canal. In the 19th century, railroads were constructed along the river valleys, followed by the New York State Thruway in the 20th century.

The New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) is the department of the government of New York responsible for the development and operation of highways, railroads, mass transit systems, ports, waterways, and aviation facilities within New York State. [268] The NYSDOT is headquartered at 50 Wolf Road in Colonie, Albany County. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) is a joint venture between the states of New York and New Jersey and authorized by the U.S. Congress, established in 1921 through an interstate compact, that oversees much of the regional transportation infrastructure, including bridges, tunnels, airports, and seaports, within the geographical jurisdiction of the Port of New York and New Jersey. This 1,500 sq mi (3,900 km 2 ) port district is generally encompassed within a 25 mi (40 km) radius of the Statue of Liberty National Monument. [269] The Port Authority is headquartered at 4 World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan.

In addition to the well known New York City Subway system—which is confined within New York City—four suburban commuter railroad systems enter and leave the city: the Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Railroad, Port Authority Trans-Hudson, and five of New Jersey Transit's rail lines. The New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) is the agency of the government of New York City responsible for the management of much of New York City's own transportation infrastructure. [270] Other cities and towns in New York have urban and regional public transportation. In Buffalo, the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority runs the Buffalo Metro Rail light-rail system in Rochester, the Rochester Subway operated from 1927 until 1956, but fell into disuse as state and federal investment went to highways.

The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (NYSDMV or DMV) is the governmental agency responsible for registering and inspecting automobiles and other motor vehicles, as well as licensing drivers in the State of New York. As of 2008 [update] , the NYSDMV has 11,284,546 drivers licenses on file and 10,697,644 vehicle registrations in force. [271] [272] All gasoline-powered vehicles registered in New York State are required to have an emissions inspection every 12 months, in order to ensure that environmental quality controls are working to prevent air pollution. Diesel-powered vehicles with a gross weight rating over 8,500 pounds that are registered in most Downstate New York counties must get an annual emissions inspection. All vehicles registered in New York State must get an annual safety inspection.

Portions of the transportation system are intermodal, allowing travelers to switch easily 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 John F. Kennedy International Airport as well as to the underground New York City Subway system.

The Government of New York embodies the governmental structure of the State of New York as established by the New York State Constitution. It is composed of three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial.

The governor is the state's chief executive and is assisted by the lieutenant governor. Both are elected on the same ticket. Additional elected officers include the attorney general and the comptroller. The secretary of state, formerly an elected officer, is currently appointed by the governor.

The New York State Legislature is bicameral and consists of the New York State Senate and the New York State Assembly. The state assembly consists of 150 members, while the state senate varies in its number of members, currently having 63. The legislature is empowered to make laws, subject to the governor's power to veto a bill. However, the veto may be overridden by the legislature if there is a two-thirds majority in favor of overriding in each house. The permanent laws of a general nature are codified in the Consolidated Laws of New York.

The highest court of appeal in the Unified Court System is the Court of Appeals whereas the primary felony trial court is the County Court (or the Supreme Court in New York City). The New York Supreme Court also acts as the intermediate appellate court for many cases, and the local courts handle a variety of other matters including small claims, traffic ticket cases, and local zoning matters, and are the starting point for all criminal cases. The New York City courts make up the largest local court system.

The state is divided into counties, cities, towns, and villages, all of which are municipal corporations with respect to their own governments, as well as various corporate entities that serve single purposes that are also local governments, such as school districts, fire districts, and New York state public-benefit corporations, frequently known as authorities or development corporations. Each municipal corporation is granted varying home rule powers as provided by the New York Constitution. The state also has 10 Indian reservations. There have been several movements regarding secession from the state of New York. Proposals have included a state of Long Island, consisting of everything on the island outside New York City a state called Niagara, the western counties of New York state the northern counties of New York state called Upstate New York making the city of New York a state a proposal for a new Peconic County on eastern Long Island and for the borough of Staten Island to secede from New York City. [273] [274]

Capital punishment Edit

Capital punishment was reintroduced in 1995 under the Pataki administration, but the statute was declared unconstitutional in 2004, when the New York Court of Appeals ruled in People v. LaValle that it violated the state constitution. The remaining death sentence was commuted by the court to life imprisonment in 2007, in People v. John Taylor, and the death row was disestablished in 2008, under executive order from Governor David Paterson. No execution has taken place in New York since 1963. Legislative efforts to amend the statute have failed, and death sentences are no longer sought at the state level, though certain crimes that fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government are subject to the federal death penalty. [275] [276] [277]

Federal representation Edit

New York is represented by Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand in the United States Senate. There are twenty-seven congressional districts, the nation's third equal highest number of congressional districts, equal with Florida and behind California's 53 and Texas's 36. [278] As of 2021, nineteen districts are represented by members of the Democratic Party, while eight are represented by Republicans. Representation was reduced from 29 in 2013 due to the state's slower overall population growth relative to the overall national population growth. [279] New York has 29 electoral votes in national presidential elections, a drop from its peak of 47 votes from 1933 to 1953.

The state has a strong imbalance of payments with the federal government. According to the Office of the New York State Comptroller, New York State received 91 cents in services for every $1 it sent in taxes to the U.S. federal government in the 2013 fiscal year New York ranked in 46th place in the federal balance of payments to the state on a per capita basis. [280]

As of April 2016, Democrats represented a plurality of voters in New York State, constituting more than twice as many registered voters as any other political party affiliation or lack thereof. [281] Since the second half of the 20th century, New York has generally supported candidates belonging to the Democratic Party in national elections. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama won New York State by over 25 percentage points in both 2012 and 2008. New York City, as well as the state's other major urban locales, including Albany, Buffalo, Rochester, Yonkers, and Syracuse, are significant Democratic strongholds, with liberal politics. Rural portions of upstate New York, however, are generally more conservative than the cities and tend to favor Republicans. Heavily populated suburban areas downstate, such as Westchester County and Long Island, have swung between the major parties since the 1980s, but more often than not support Democrats.

New York City is the most important source of political fundraising 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 W. Bush and Al Gore. [282]

New York State has the distinction of being the home state for both major-party nominees in three presidential elections. The 1904 presidential election saw former New York Governor and incumbent President Theodore Roosevelt face Alton B. Parker, chief judge of the New York Court of Appeals. The 1944 presidential election had Franklin D. Roosevelt, following in his cousin Theodore's footsteps as former New York Governor and incumbent president running for re-election against then-current New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey. In the 2016 presidential election, former United States Senator from New York Hillary Clinton, a resident of Chappaqua, was the Democratic Party nominee. The Republican Party nominee was businessman Donald Trump, a resident of Manhattan and a native of Queens. [283]

New York City is an important center for international diplomacy. [284] The United Nations Headquarters has been situated on the East Side of Midtown Manhattan since 1952.

New York State is geographically home to one National Football League team, the Buffalo Bills, based in the Buffalo suburb of Orchard Park. Although the New York Giants and New York Jets represent the New York City metropolitan area and were previously located in New York City, they play in MetLife Stadium, located in East Rutherford, New Jersey. New York also has two Major League Baseball teams, the New York Yankees (based in the Bronx) and the New York Mets (based in Queens). Minor league baseball teams also play in the State of New York, including the Long Island Ducks, and the Brooklyn Cyclones, downstate, and the Rochester Red Wings, the Binghamton Rumble Ponies, the Syracuse Mets, the Auburn Doubledays, the Batavia Muckdogs, the Hudson Valley Renegades and the Buffalo Bisons upstate. New York is home to three National Hockey League franchises: the New York Rangers in Manhattan, the New York Islanders in Brooklyn and Nassau County in Long Island, and the Buffalo Sabres in Buffalo. New York has two National Basketball Association teams, the New York Knicks in Manhattan, and the Brooklyn Nets in Brooklyn. New York is the home of a Major League Soccer franchise, New York City FC, currently playing in the Bronx. Although the New York Red Bulls represent the New York City metropolitan area, they play in Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey.

New York hosted the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid. The 1980 Games are known for the USA–USSR ice hockey match 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 against Finland. Along with St. Moritz, Switzerland and Innsbruck, Austria, Lake Placid is one of the three cities to have hosted the Winter Olympic Games twice. New York City bid for the 2012 Summer Olympics but lost to London.

Several U.S. national sports halls of fame are or have been situated in New York. The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is located in Cooperstown, Otsego County. The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, Saratoga County, honors achievements in the sport of thoroughbred horse racing. The physical facility of the National Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta, also in Otsego County, closed in 2010, although the organization itself has continued inductions. The annual United States Open Tennis Championships is one of the world's four Grand Slam tennis tournaments and is held at the National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows–Corona Park in the New York City borough of Queens. [285]

New York state is also home to many intercollegiate division 1 sports programs. The State University of New York's flagship University at Buffalo are the Buffalo Bulls. Syracuse University's intercollegiate teams are the Syracuse Orange.

New York: Physiographic Regions

The eastern part of New York state is dominated by the Great Appalachian Valley, while the northern part of the state includes Lake Champlain. This part also features the Hudson River. The western part of the valley features the Adirondack Mountains.

There are 13 Physiographic Provinces located in New York:

  1. Adirondack Mountains
  2. Catskill Mountains
  3. Allegheny Plateau - Glaciated
  4. Allegheny Plateau - Unglaciated
  5. Tug Hill Plateau
  6. Hudson Highlands
  7. Manhattan Prong
  8. Taconic Mountains
  9. Hudson-Mohawk Lowlands
  10. Mohawk Lowlands
  11. St. Lawrence - Champlain Lowlands
  12. Erie and Ontario Lowlands
  13. Atlantic Coastal Plain

Adirondack Mountain

The Adirondacks are located in the northern part of the state. They are the highest and most rugged mountains. They are located between Lake Champlain in the east and Lake Ontario in the west.

Most of the Adirondacks region consists of an ancient dome of Precambrian rock, similar geologically to the Canadian Shield, but also includes the Tug Hill Upland, which is more similar geologically to the Allegheny Plateau. Landforms include high Appalachian peaks (roughly 90 peaks surpass 1000 m), as well as a broad zone of lower mountains and foothills ranging down to 120 m in elevation. The area is dominated by a combination of maple-beech-birch and red spruce-balsam fir forest, but also includes numerous glacial lakes and bogs, as well as alpine communities. Roughly 2.2 million ha. are covered with forest today, with nearly half of this area consisting of state-owned Forest Preserve and most of the remainder in private industrial timberland. The most pervasive human influence on the natural landscape has been through commercial timber harvest and production, resulting in early removal of dominant white pine, hemlock, and old-growth spruce, and a gradual shift towards greater dominance by northern hardwoods. Although total acreage and volume of the Adirondack forests have increased steadily since 1900, harvest and removal of timber also has increased by nearly 90% since 1968. Harvest today is primarily by means of selective cutting of single trees therefore age structure and species composition of the forest will continue to be affected without creating additional areas of early seasonal vegetation.

Catskill Mountains

The Catskills rise considerably higher than the neighboring parts of the upland. Summit elevations exceed 2000 ft. and some peaks are over 4000 ft. The mountainous character of the Catskills is due to the action of glaciation and streams carving deep valleys in the flat-lying

The eastern boundary of the province is very evident with its high scarp facing the Hudson River

Allegheny Plateau - Glaciated

The glaciated Allegheny Plateau, which includes about one-third of the State, is the most extensive province in the State. On the east, the plateau is separated from the Hudson-Mohawk lowlands by the Helderberg escarpment and, to the south, grades into the Catskill Mountains. A series of escarpments form the boundary between the plateau and the lowlands to the north. The province continues beyond the southern boundary of the State with the exception of the small unglaciated portion of the plateau in the southwest. It is the northeastern part of the great Appalachian Plateau which lies along the western side of the Appalachian Mountains and extends southward into Tennessee. This upland is underlain by great thicknesses of sedimentary rocks which lie almost horizontal, except for a slight dip to the southwest and a kind of sagging in the middle of the Finger Lakes District. Severe dissection by both water and ice erosion has given the upland a somewhat rugged relief. It varies in elevation from 500 to 600 ft. in the north to more than 2,000 ft. in the south. The plateau is thought to represent ancient erosion surfaces and gives a rather flat-topped appearance when viewed from a distance

Allegheny Plateau - Unglaciated

This small segment of the plateau, between the arc of the Allegheny River and the southern border of the State, is a rugged area with steep-sided valleys and high upland areas. Maximum relief is about 1,000 ft. The central mass of the province displays the normal erosion of water-cut features rather than the ice erosion features of the rest of the plateau in New York State. The fringes of the province on the east, north, and west do display features of glaciation and glacial deposition.

Tug Hill Plateau

A wild bleak upland which is truly plateau-like in the "text book" sense. It is an outlier of the Appalachians, entirely separated from this and other provinces. The plateau drops off from flat swampy heights of 1800 ft. - 2000 ft. to the Hudson Mohawk Lowland on the south and to the Erie and Ontario Lowland and the Lower Black River on the west and north. On the east the boundary is a steep scarp face but the steepness disappears on the other side. Relief on the plateau surface is gentle except where easterly-flowing streams have cut "gulf" in the scarp resulting in a series of distinct terraces as it descends 100 ft. (as down a staircase) to the Black River Valley.

Hudson Highlands

This province, extending across the Hudson River in a northeast-southwest direction, covers southern Orange and northern Rockland Counties and the area from southern Dutchess County southward across Putnam County and into Westchester County. It is a rugged, mountainous upland. Maximum relief is about 1,600 ft. where the Hudson River estuary dissects the province (Mt. Beacon, Storm King Mountain, Bear Mountain).

Manhattan Prong

The Piedmont in New York State is a belt of worn-down complex mountains now almost reduced to a plain and lying between the coastal plain and the Highlands. It includes a portion of Staten Island, all of Manhattan Island, a small portion of western Long Island and most of Westchester County. The entire Piedmont area north of New York City is a peneplain comprising a series of nearly parallel ridges and valleys. The ridges and valleys trend north-north-east and south-southwest, giving the entire area a gently fluted surface of moderate relief. The maximum relief is 800 ft. in the north, while in New York City the relief is moderately low.

Taconic Mountains

The uplands of western New England (Green Mountains, Taconics, Berkshires) have an extension southwesterly into New York State. East of the Hudson River along the State line is an upland area trending in a generally north-south direction with but few valleys. Elevations in the mountainous area range from 600 to 2,800 ft. A striking component of this province is the Rensselaer Plateau. Roughly 9 miles wide and 20 miles long, this relatively flat surface has elevation of 1,500 to 1,800 ft. It is not entirely flat but relief is expressed in rather broad swells and long slopes.

A series of rugged and rocky ridges which trend generally north-northeast summit levels 1000 -- 2000 ft. above sea, and 500 - 1500 ft. above the narrow valleys separating them. Rocks include limestones, sandstones and slates, altered and broken by the folding and faulting which have characterized the long geologic history of these mountain stumps. There are numerous small lakes and picturesque stream valleys in the Taconics. On the west, these mountains merge into flat or gently rolling plateaus which drop off toward the inner lowland of the Hudson

Hudson-Mohawk Lowlands

This lowland is bounded everywhere by uplands, except for two small portions. It extends almost the entire north-south length of eastern New York. In general, except for the three ridges in the south, the low relief is caused by the glacial deposits. In the south, the lowland contains three ridges surrounded by lowland these are Schunemunk, Shawangunk and Marlboro Mountains. West of the Hudson, the valleys of the Wallkill River and Roundout Creek form most of the lowlands, while east of the Hudson, the Fishkill and Wappinger's Creek valleys form the rest of the lowlands.

A central lowland portion consists of a valley on both sides of the Hudson River extending to near Whitehall.

The northern portion is narrow and intermittent along the shore of Lake Champlain and then widens westward south of Plattsburgh. The western boundary with the St. Lawrence Lowland in the north is the drainage divide where waters flow to the St. Lawrence River instead of to Lake Champlain.

Mohawk Lowlands

The Mohawk Lowland includes the river valleys of the Mohawk and Black Rivers and also the broad band between the crystalline rocks of the Adirondack Mountains and the resistant escarpments of the Tug Hill and Glaciated Allegheny Plateau uplands. is region is about 10 to 30 miles in width. The Mohawk River rises at an altitude of about 1,800 ft. and flows west, south and then east to join the Hudson only a few feet above sea level. The Mohawk and Black River valleys are separated by a divide of unconsolidated glacial moraine.

St. Lawrence - Champlain Lowlands

The St. Lawrence-Champlain lowlands can be found on the shores of Lake Ontario and running northeast along the St. Lawrence River and the Canadian border

The St. Lawrence Lowland is a smooth plain that borders the Adirondack Mountains and extends northerly beyond the Canadian border. On the south, the border is defined as the line where the crystalline rocks of the mountains are overlapped by the younger sedimentary rocks. The eastern boundary is the drainage divide where water begins to flow to Lake Champlain. The western edge may be arbitrarily taken as where the geologic age of the surface sedimentary rocks change from Cambrian to Ordovician north of Watertown.

The entire area is a low plain. Much of the area near the St. Lawrence River is a flat to billowy lake plain that has been smoothed by proglacial lake or marine waters. Local relief rarely exceeds 75 ft. In a few places, rock ridges occur. Numerous drumlins or drumlin-like hills furnish much of the local relief

Erie and Ontario Lowlands

These are the plains which border the Great Lakes. They abut the Glaciated Allegheny Plateau to the south, and to their greatest extent, Tug Hill on the east. The Ontario lowlands are an area of generally subdued topography, except for the Niagara escarpment and the swarms of drumlins south of Lake Ontario. The Erie portion slopes rather uniformly from the Portage escarpment northwestward to the shore of Lake Erie. The generally low relief is provided by a series of proglacial lake beach ridges.

Atlantic Coastal Plain

This area lies in the southeast part of New York. The Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain extends from the Atlantic Ocean, south of Long Island, to the Fall Line, where the hilly Piedmont begins. It is arbitrarily separated from the South Atlantic Coastal Plain at the Virginia-North Carolina border (with the exception of the Great Dismal Swamp in the southeast corner of Virginia, which is grouped in the southern area). The area was formed by shifting sea levels and alluvial deposition from rivers draining mountains to the west. Water continues to be a dominant feature of the landscape, creating forested wetlands and salt marsh and shaping barrier island and bay complexes. Upland forests on the remaining land graded in composition from pine dominated areas on the outer Coastal Plain (nearer the coast) to hardwood forests on the inner Coastal Plain. This was the site of the first successful English settlement in North America, and the natural landscape has been altered by European culture for nearly four centuries. The current human population approaches 11 million and is expected to continue to expand into the future, placing ever-increasing demands on the region's natural resources.

Native American Tribes of New York

The Abenaki
Abenaki is actually a geographical and linguistic (rather than political) grouping. Before contact with Europeans, individual tribes were the usual level of political organization. Occasionally, several tribes would unite under a powerful sachem (chief) for purposes of war, but the Abenaki were noteworthy for their general lack of central authority. Even at the tribal level, the authority of their sachems was limited, and important decisions, such as war and peace, usually required a meeting of all adults.

In many ways, the lack of a central government served the Abenaki well. In times of war, they could abandon their villages, separate into small bands, and regroup in a distant refuge beyond the reach of their enemies. It was a strategy that confounded repeated efforts by both the Iroquois and English to conquer them. Largely invisible over the years, the Abenaki have remained in their homeland by living in scattered, small bands. The Abenaki Confederacy didn’t even exist until after 1670, and then only in response to continuous wars with the Iroquois and the English colonists.

The Cayuga
The Cayuga Nation, or the People of the Great Swamp , was one of the five original constituents of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois), a confederacy of Indians in New York. The Cayuga homeland lay in the Finger Lakes region along Cayuga Lake, between their league neighbors, the Onondaga and the Seneca. Political relations between the Cayuga, the British, and the Americans during the American Revolution were complicated, with Cayugas fighting on both sides.

General George Washington appointed two generals to lead the Sullivan Expedition , a military campaign designed to unseat the Iroquois Confederacy. The campaign devastated the Cayuga homeland, destroying major Cayuga villages. Survivors fled to other Iroquois tribes, or to Upper Canada, where some were granted land by the British in recognition of their loyalty to the Crown.

The Delaware
Originally in 1600, the Delaware River Valley from Cape Henlopen north to include the west side of the lower Hudson Valley in southern New York. The Delaware were not migratory and appear to have occupied their homeland for thousands of years before the coming of the Europeans. During the next three centuries, white settlement forced the Delaware to relocate at least twenty times.

In 1600, the Delaware may have numbered as many as 20,000, but several wars and at least 14 separate epidemics reduced their population to around 4,000 by 1700 – the worst drops occurring between 1655 and 1670. Since the Delaware afterwards absorbed peoples from several other Algonquin-speaking tribes, this figure remained fairly constant until 1775. By 1845, it had fallen to combined total of about 2,000 in both the United States and Canada.

The Erie
With French contact limited to one brief meeting, very little is known for certain about the Erie except they were important, and they were there. The Dutch and Swedes also heard about them through their trade with the Susquehannock, but never actually met the Erie. All information about their social and political organization has come from early Jesuit accounts of what they had been told by the Huron.

The Mahican
The original Mahican homeland was the Hudson River Valley from the Catskill Mountains north to the southern end of Lake Champlain. Bounded by the Schoharie River in the west, it extended east to the crest of the Berkshire Mountains in western Massachusetts from northwest Connecticut north to the Green Mountains in southern Vermont.

Some estimates of the Mahican population in 1600 range as high as 35,000. However, when limited to the core tribes of the Mahican Confederacy near Albany, it was somewhere around 8,000. By 1672 this had fallen to around 1,000. At the low point in 1796, 300 were living with the Oneida and Brotherton in upstate New York.

Not the Mohegan
It is common for the Mohegan of the Thames River in eastern Connecticut to be confused with the Mahican from the middle Hudson Valley in New York (a distance of about a hundred miles). James Fenimore Cooper was confused when he wrote Last of the Mohicans in 1826. He merged all the tribal names into Mohican .Since Cooper lived in New York and the location of his tale was the upper Hudson Valley, it can be presumed that he meant Mahican.

His book made the Mahican famous. Unfortunately, he also made them extinct in many minds. This error has persisted, and Americans today might be surprised to learn that the Mahican are very much alive and living in Wisconsin under the name, Stockbridge Indians.

The Mohawk
Meaning People of the Flint , the Mohawk were an indigenous people of North America originally from the Mohawk Valley in upstate New York to southern Quebec and eastern Ontario. Their traditional homeland stretches southward of the Mohawk River, eastward to the Green Mountains of Vermont, westward to its border with the Oneida Nation’s traditional homeland territory, and northward to the St Lawrence River.

As original members of the Iroquois League, the Mohawk were known as the Keepers of the Eastern Door who guarded the Iroquois Confederation against invasion from that direction. After the fall of New Netherland to the English in 1664, the Mohawks in New York became allies of the Kingdom of England. During the 1690s, they underwent a period of Christianization, during which many were baptized with English surnames, while others were given complete English names.

The Oneida
Meaning People of the Upright Stone , the Oneida were one of the five founding nations of the Iroquois Confederacy in upstate New York. Originally the Oneida inhabited the area that later became central New York, particularly around Oneida Lake and Oneida County. In the early 17th century, when the Europeans first encountered them, the Oneida held nearly six million acres of land and were among the most powerful forces in New York.

Following the Revolutionary War, the Oneida began losing land, the largest forfeiture coming in 1788 with the Treaty of Fort Schuyler in which the Oneida Nation believed they had leased five million acres to the state of New York. These New York Treaties were never authorized by the federal government as required by the Indian Trade and Intercourse Acts of 1790 and 1793, however, so they were never validated. The Oneida are still pursuing the rights and recovery of this land.

The Metoac
Before 1600, the Metoac lived in peace and relative isolation on Long Island, and prospered from the wampum they manufactured and traded to other tribes. Although they were probably envied by some of their neighbors, there was, as their lack of fortified villages and central authority plainly suggests, no serious threat to their security. Their population was probably around 10,000.

Spread across an island more than 120 miles in length, Metoac is a geographic, rather than political, grouping of the tribes of Long Island. They were an agricultural people, who supplemented their diet with fishing and hunting. Although they lived in villages, there was regular seasonal movement in a fixed pattern to take advantage of the resources. Villages were generally small and rarely fortified until they were living under constant threat after 1630.

It was the Metoac’s grave misfortune to occupy the northern shore of Long Island, which was the source of the best wampum in the Northeast. Each summer, the Metoac harvested clam shells from the waters of Long Island Sound that they painstakingly fashioned into small beads. Strung together in long strands, they were called wampompeag – shortened by the English colonists into the more familiar form of wampum. A peaceful people cursed with a very valuable resource, the Metoac proved easy prey for more powerful and aggressive tribes.

The Onondaga
The Onondaga, or the People of the Hills , are one of the original five constituent nations of the Iroquois Confederacy. Their traditional homeland is in and around Onondaga County, New York. Being centrally located, they were the Keepers of the Fire in the figurative longhouse, with the Cayuga and Seneca to their west and the Oneida and Mohawk to their east. For this reason, the League of the Iroquois historically met at the Iroquois government’s capital at Onondaga, as the traditional chiefs still do today.

In the American Revolutionary War, the Onondaga were at first officially neutral, although individual Onondaga warriors were involved in at least one raid on American settlements. After an American attack on their main village on April 20, 1779, the Onondaga later sided with the majority of the League and fought against the United States in alliance with the British. Thereafter, many Onondaga followed Joseph Brant to Six Nations, Ontario after the United States was accorded independence.

The Poospatuck/Unkechaug
The Poosepatuck tribe is one of the most misunderstood Algonquian groups in southeastern New England. The Poospatuck initially constituted one of numerous Amerindian autonomous villages linked by kinship to a confederacy that stretched across Long Island and southern New England.

Recognized as the Unkechaug Nation by the state of New York, the Poospatuck are synonymous with the fifty-two-acre reservation they occupy on Long Island, in the northeast portion of the town of Mastic in Suffolk County, the sole remainder of 175 acres designated for the Unkechaug by the deed of July 2, 1700, that allocated acreage so that Unkechaug settlements would be surrounded by Euro-American land claims, thereby deliberately preventing Unkechaug unity.

The Unkechaug, the People from beyond the Hill , didn’t practice a migratory lifestyle, nor were they regionally displaced or relocated outside Long Island by the arrival of European settlers. A Dutchman, Issack de Rasiers, observed the indigenous planting system that heaped up molehills sowed with grains, fertilized by fish, and irrigated by redirecting natural waterways, and thought the use of the land provided for the native families well beyond their subsistence. European merchants who interacted with the Unkechaug were envious of the natural resources around which their native villages had been built.

The Seneca
The Seneca are a group of indigenous people native to North America. They are the westernmost nation within the Six Nations or Iroquois League. The Seneca nation’s own name is Onödowága’ , meaning People of the Mountains . They became known as the Keepers of the Western Door because they settled and lived the farthest west of all the nations within the Iroquois Confederation.

The Seneca traditionally lived in New York, between the Genesee River and Canandaigua Lake, and were by far the most populous of the Iroquois Nations, with the ability to raise over ten thousand warriors by the seventeenth century.
Seneca people lived in villages and towns. Archaeological records indicate that some of these villages were surrounded by palisades to protect them from attack.

Other tribal Nations viewed the Unkechaug and eastern Long Island Indians as desirable trading partners because of their access to the ocean and shells, and their skill in producing wampum. The Unkechaug were effective in structuring intertribal trade and using their resources to strike agreements with larger and more powerful tribes.

New York Railroads In "The Empire State"

New York's rail operations are immensely rich in history and diversity (for instance, its railroads predate the Baltimore & Ohio's chartering by a year and is only behind Pennsylvania in the most route miles prior to 1840), and continues to be a vital link in the chain today.

Once, famous names like the New York Central Delaware & Hudson Erie Pennsylvania New York, Ontario & Western New York, Susquehanna & Western and Rutland moved freight and passengers all across the state.

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Today, these services continue under CSX Transportation, Norfolk Southern, Canadian National, Canadian Pacific, and a numerous short lines.

Outside of New York's largest city, however, one can still find numerous small operations all across the state.  The diverse history of the state's railroads is far too deep to cover in a single article.

However, hopefully it will provide a better understanding of New York's past, and present, with the iron horse and how they have come to shape the state.  Finally, be sure and view the mileage map below detailing how much trackage the state has lost since the 1920's.  

A New York Central publicity photo featuring a new set of F3's leading equally new 40-foot boxcars at Rochester, New York on October 16, 1947.

A Brief History Of New York Railroads

New York railroads date back to 1826 when the Mohawk & Hudson (a future subsidiary of New York Central) was chartered to build a railroad between Albany and Schenectady to connect the waterways of the Hudson and Mohawk rivers.

One of the reasons for the railroad's construction was to provide for another transportation option as the Erie Canal was not yet completed).

Interestingly, the M&H was one of the few such companies to be named solely after waterways with no city or state as part of its name (the Delaware & Hudson was another, incorporated at around the same time).

More Reading.

Delaware & Hudson 4-6-2 #605 (Class P) has the "Laurentian" (New York - Albany - Montreal) at Mechanicville, New York in July, 1948. The D&H was America's oldest transportation company, which began in 1823 as the Delaware & Hudson Canal Company.

The Mohawk & Hudson was able to complete its main line in about five years, opening service to the general public on September 24, 1831 originally using horse power to pull its trains.

However, these two were certainly not the only railroads to operate within the state.  During the state's classic era of the mid-20th century a train enthusiast could enjoy a mecca of operations from east to west:

  • Car ferry operations were abundant along the Manhattan waterfront where traffic move to and from New Jersey.
  • Main lines of the Erie, Lehigh Valley, Lackawanna, and New York Central headed west towards Buffalo.
  • Famous short lines peppered the state.

One of the most unique operations was Rutland's Chatham Division, a twisting and steep route that wound its way south from Bennington, Vermont to provide a connection with the New York Central at Chatham, New York. 

The Rutland was always struggling financially but managed to finally open this corridor in 1901 to provide itself a direct connection into New York City via the NYC. 

Classic Railroads To Serve New York

The railroad envisioned the route being a more direct link between New York and Montreal while also offering an outlet for its robust dairy business.

Unfortunately, as the famous Commodore Vanderbilt predicted, it was too circuitous and languished for years until its abandonment in 1953.

A pair of beautiful Lehigh Valley PA-1's in striking Cornell Red with a passenger consist pass the Columbian Rope Company of Auburn, New York along the Auburn Branch on a summer's day in the 1950's.

Short Lines And Current Rail Service

Today, New York is still home to considerable container traffic albeit under the CSX and Norfolk Southern banners, which move the freight between New York and Chicago.

Additionally, as mentioned above, Canadian Pacific and Canadian National both also operate lines into New York via control or ownership of former US systems.

New York railroads also feature a dizzying array of smaller lines including regionals NYS&W (mentioned above), Buffalo & Pittsburgh Railroad, Pan Am Railways and Providence & Worcester along with short lines:

  • Albany Port Railroad
  • Arcade & Attica Railroad
  • B&H Rail Corporation
  • Batten Kill Railroad
  • Buffalo Southern Railroad
  • Central New York Railroad
  • Clarendon & Pittsford Railroad
  • Depew, Lancaster & Western Railroad
  • Falls Road Railroad
  • Fingers Lake Railway
  • Housatonic Railroad
  • Livonia, Avon & Lakeville Railroad
  • Lowville & Beaver River Railroad
  • Massena Terminal Railroad
  • Middletown & New Jersey Railroad
  • Wellsboro & Corning Railroad
Delaware & Hudson's pair of Baldwin "Sharks" (RF16's) exit off the Rutland Branch and onto the main line at Whitehall, New York during the 1970s.

Today, New York is home to about 3,500 miles of track, which is a far cry from the 8,400 miles during the industry's heyday era of the 1920s.

With a loss of 58% of its rail infrastructure, New York is well above the state average of between 45%-50%. This can mostly be explained by the nature of the Northeast itself, which after World War II was simply too overpopulated with railroads.

In other words, as manufacturing centers moved either to different areas of the country or overseas and as highways, automobiles, and air travel became faster and more efficient the traffic in the region could no longer support the amount of rail lines serving it.

New York's Abandoned Railroads

If you enjoy exploring abandoned railroads, New York is one of the top eastern states along with Pennsylvania and New England.

New York has lost roughly 5,000 route miles since the 1920's and most of this has been removed since the 1960's.  New York boasted one of the country's earliest railroads, the Mohawk & Hudson of 1826.

After the iron horse blossomed from a local phenomenon into a unified national network, New York business leaders began pushing their railroads towards what was then the western gateway, Buffalo.

As a result, several famous lines reached the city including:

  • New York Central
  • Erie Railroad
  • Delaware, Lackawanna & Western
  • Lehigh Valley

Today, most of the LV's New York-Buffalo main line is abandoned along with another notable, the New York, Ontario & Western.

The NYO&W operated a circuitous route from Weehawken to Oswego on Lake Ontario.  It was perhaps described best byਊ.V. Neusser and C.E. Pearce entitled, "The NYO&W," from the August 1942 issue of Trains Magazine that stated:

"This road really starts nowhere, goes nowhere, avoids all large industrial centers, and ends nowhere."

The railroad shutdown in 1957 with most of its main line and branches subsequently abandoned.

You can also find large sections of the NYC, Pennsylvania pulled up across the state along with parts of the Baltimore & Ohio (Buffalo & Susquehanna and Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh), Erie, and DL&W. 

In the east there are sections of the Delaware & Hudson removed, notably a winding coal branch running north from Saratoga Springs

For the adventurousꂾ sure and look up the Rutland's old Chatham Division that once reached Chatham (abandoned in 1953) and New York's 1,129 miles of former electrified interurbans (largely abandoned by 1933). 

For more in-depth information about New York's rail mileage over the years please refer to the chart below.   As for passenger and commuter operations, well, just take your pick!

While famous names like the 20th Century Limitedਊnd Broadway Limitedਊre long gone, Amtrak continues to serve the Northeast Corridor (which runs directly through NYC and the southeastern corner of New York) and operate several passenger trains in, around and through New York State.

* New York's first operating railroad was the notable Mohawk & Hudson.  It opened 16 miles between  Albany, along the Hudson River, to Schenectady located along the Mohawk River.  It eventually became a part of the modern New York Central System.

Some of these services include the Lake Shore Limited between Boston-NYC-Chicago, Empire Service between NYC-Albany-Niagara, the Maple Leaf to Toronto, the Adirondack to Montreal, and the Ethan Allen Express to Rutland, Vermont.

Aside from Amtrak there is the NJ Transit, PATH and MTA services, the latter two of which are the country's busiest commuter/passenger and subway railroads. 

Railroad Museums And Attractions

If you thought that New York included plenty of freight and passenger trains, you should just see the excursion trains and railroad museums!

New York is home to nearly two-dozen museums or tourist lines, the latter of which is operated by some of the state's short line freight carriers as well.

There are far too many to name here but some include the Catskill Mountain Railroad, New York Museum of Transportation and the Empire State Railway Museum. 

It's the early Penn Central era as a former New York Central E8A has train #80, an "Empire Service" consist, easing to a stop in Hudson, New York on September 2, 1968. Roger Puta photo.

Other interesting features of New York includes the American Locomotive Company's famous Schenectady Works, NYC's regal Grand Central Terminal and the PRR's late Penn Station (the underground station still remains but the above building was demolished in the late 1960s). 

All in all the state offers about any interest you may have in the hobby of railfanning from history to main line freight railroading.

And, don't expect to see everything in one visit because that won't happen! A planned trip to focus on one or a few things you're interested in is probably the best route with future trips to see more at a later time.

In any event, with so much to see and do, you shouldn't have any trouble having a wonderful and memorable time!

Watch the video: 25 Πράγματα που πρέπει να κάνετε στον Τορόντο Ταξιδιωτικός οδηγός (August 2022).