One of the original 13 colonies, New York is rich in history. The Dutch originally called the region New Netherland. New Amsterdam, which was established on Manhattan Island, later became New York City.
The state is named for the Duke of York and Albany, who later became King James II. It is believed that George Washington nicknamed New York the "Empire State" because he believed it would become the "seat of the empire." New York is also nicknamed the "Excelsior State." "Excelsior" is a Latin word meaning "ever upward." The abbreviation for New York is NY. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Thomas Dewey, and Nelson Rockefeller were all governors of the state.
New York is the third most populous state after California and Texas. That makes it the most populous state in the Northeast. It is a Middle Atlantic state bordered by Canada to the north; Lake Ontario and Lake Erie to the northwest and west; Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont to the East; and Pennsylvania to the south. The Hudson River, named for explorer Henry Hudson, separates New York and New Jersey.
Albany, nicknamed the "Cradle of the Union" because it is where Ben Franklin presented his proposal to unite the colonies, is New York's capital. New York City remains one of the world's largest cities and the nation's leading financial center. It's the biggest city in New York and also the biggest city in the United States. Tourists experience diverse culture and are entertained at the city's numerous theatres, museums, and musical organizations. Other cities in the state include Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse.
Although there is much to see, New York has many problems. Dangerous chemicals turned the Love Canal neighborhood of Niagara Falls into a toxic waste dump. New York City, like many other big cities, has many social problems, including racial conflict, poverty, crime, and drug addiction. However, these problems are magnified because New York City is one of the biggest and most visited cities in the world.
The state's famous landscape is made up of fertile river valleys, flourishing hills, high mountains, and beautiful lakes. Mount Marcy (5,344 feet), one of the summits of the Adirondack Mountains that make up one quarter of New York's land, is the highest point in the state.
As one of the cultural centers of the Western World, New York attracts more tourists than perhaps any other city in the country. It is also the largest printing and publishing center in the country. In Manhattan, one can catch a Broadway play in the theater district.
Its history is as dynamic as its cultural life. About one-third of the Revolutionary War's battles were fought in New York, and eventually served as the first capital of the United States from 1785 to 1790. George Washington was sworn in as the first President of the United States in New York.
Visitors also enjoy climbing to the top of The Statue of Liberty. Lady Liberty stands in one of New York's harbors and has welcomed millions of immigrants to the United States. Some recreate the experience by taking a ferry to Ellis Island, where many immigrants first stepped on American soil.
Niagara Falls was the most popular place for honeymooners before Walt Disney World opened in 1971. Many famous comedians, including Sid Caesar, got their start at the Catskill Mountain resort area, a place where many tourists go to get away from city life.