Posted by: Fran Westbrook, Regional English Language Officer
Bright lights…big city. That’s the first thing that comes to many people’s minds when they hear the words “New York.” New York City, the most populous city in the United States, is an important metropolis—but New York is more than just the city: it is also an important state.
New York State is the third-most populous state (after California and Texas) in the U.S. The original inhabitants of New York State were Native Americans, mostly from the Algonquian and Iroquois tribes. The first known European settler active in this region was Henry Hudson, who claimed the territory for the Dutch East India Company in1609. New York was then annexed by the British in 1664. The original European settlements in New York State were in the area known as the Hudson Valley. This region was the setting for Washington Irving’s famous stories, including “The Headless Horseman” and “Rip Van Winkle.” Other famous New Yorkers include abolitionist Frederick Douglass, women’s rights activist Susan B. Anthony, inventor George Eastman, and virologist Jonas Salk. New York was and is home to a host of writers, actors, actresses, composers, musicians, and choreographers, due in part to the vibrant art scene in New York City.
New Yorkers played important roles in the American Revolution. The Sons of Liberty were founded in New York, and New York endorsed the Declaration of Independence. Some say up to one-third of the battles of the Revolutionary War were fought in New York State. New York was the eleventh state to ratify the United States Constitution in 1788.
New York State is home to many U.S. landmarks and natural attractions. We all know the famous New York City monuments: the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, and Ellis Island. But New York boasts attractions outside of the big city. Niagara Falls is located in Western New York State, as are the Finger Lakes. Adirondack Park, located in the Adirondack Mountains, is the largest state park in the U.S. The Thousand Islands region of New York is a beautiful area of islands (more than one thousand, actually) in the St. Lawrence River, one of the borders between the U.S. and Canada.
New York State has two professional baseball teams: the New York Mets and the New York Yankees. The Rochester Red Wings, a minor league baseball team, played the longest game in baseball history: the game was played against the Pawtucket Red Sox and lasted for 33 innings. The basketball team the New York Knicks is famous for celebrity spectators at their games. The only National Football League Team to play in New York State is the Buffalo Bills, as the New York Giants and the New York Jets actually play their games in New Jersey. New York is home to three National Hockey League teams: the Buffalo Sabres, the New York Rangers, and the New York Islanders.
As of the 2000 census, New York City is home to at least 140,000 Ukrainian Americans, and other towns and cities throughout the state also have significant Ukrainian-American communities.