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New York (Listeni/nuː ˈjɔrk/; locally IPA: [nɪu ˈjɔək]) is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. New York is the 27th most extensive, the 3rd most populous, and the 7th most densely populated of the 50 United States. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east. The state has a maritime border with Rhode Island east of Long Island, as well as an international border with the Canadian provinces of Ontario to the west and north, and Quebec to the north. The state of New York is often referred to as New York State to distinguish it from New York City.
New York City, with a population of over 8.1 million, is the most populous city in the United States. Alone, it makes up over 40 percent of the population of New York state. It is known for its status as a center for finance and culture and for its status as the largest gateway for immigration to the United States. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, New York City is also a destination of choice for many foreign visitors. Both the state and city were named for the 17th century Duke of York, James Stuart, future James II and VII of England and Scotland.
New York was inhabited by various tribes of Algonquian and Iroquoian speaking Native American tribes at the time Dutch settlers moved into the region in the early 17th century. In 1609, the region was first claimed by Henry Hudson for the Dutch. Fort Nassau was built near the site of the present-day capital of Albany in 1614. The Dutch soon also settled New Amsterdam and parts of the Hudson River Valley, establishing the colony of New Netherland. The British took over the colony by annexation in 1664.
The borders of the British colony, the Province of New York, were roughly similar to those of the present-day state. About one third of all the battles of the Revolutionary War took place in New York. The state constitution was enacted in 1777. New York became the 11th state to ratify the United States Constitution, on July 26, 1788.
See also: Province of New York
Henry Hudson's 1609 voyage marked the beginning of the European involvement with that 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. After his return word of his findings quickly spread and Dutch merchants began to explore the coast in search for profitable fur trade. During the 17th century, Dutch trading posts established for the trade of pelts from the Lenape, Iroquois and other indigenous peoples expanded into 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 once again in 1673 during the Third Anglo-Dutch War (1672–1674) and renamed New Orange, but returned to the English under the terms of the Treaty of Westminster a year later.
New York in 1777
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. The Stamp Act Congress met in the city on October 19 of that year: a gathering of representatives from across the Thirteen Colonies that 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, including the right to representative government.
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 endorsed the Declaration of Independence on July 9, 1776. The New York state constitution was framed by a convention which assembled at White Plains, New York on July 10, 1776, and after repeated adjournments and changes of location, terminated its labors at Kingston, New York on Sunday evening, April 20, 1777, when the 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.
The first major battle of the American Revolutionary War after independence was declared—and the largest battle of the entire war—was fought in New York at the Battle of Long Island (a.k.a. Battle of Brooklyn) in August 1776. British victory made New York City their military and political base of operations in North America for the duration of the conflict, and consequently the center of attention for General George Washington's intelligence network.
British general John Burgoyne surrenders at Saratoga in 1777.
The notorious British prison ships of Wallabout Bay saw more American combatants die of intentional neglect than were killed in combat in every battle of the war, combined.
The first of two major British armies were captured by the Continental Army at the Battle of Saratoga in 1777, influencing France to ally with the revolutionaries.
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 Oneidas and their dependents the Tuscaroras allied themselves to the Americans. The Sullivan Expedition of 1778 and 1779 destroyed nearly 50 Iroquois villages and adjacent croplands, forcing many refugees to British-held Niagara. As allies of the British, the Iroquois were resettled in Canada after the war. 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 are the subject of modern-day claims by the individual tribes. More than 5 million acres (20,000 km2) of former Iroquois territory was put up for sale in the years after the Revolutionary War, leading to rapid development in upstate New York. 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 afterwards celebrated as Evacuation Day.
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.
The creation of the Erie Canal led to rapid industrialization in New York.
Transportation in western New York was difficult before canals were built in the early part of the 19th century. The Hudson and Mohawk Rivers could be navigated only as far as Central New York. While the St. Lawrence River could be navigated to Lake Ontario, the way westward to the other Great Lakes was blocked by Niagara Falls, and so the only route to western New York was over land.
Governor DeWitt Clinton strongly advocated building a canal to connect the Hudson River with Lake Erie, and thus all of the Great Lakes. Work commenced in 1817, and the Erie Canal was finished in 1825. It was considered an engineering marvel. Packet boats traveled up and down the canal with sightseers and visitors on board. The canal 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.
During the American Civil War, New York provided more than 370,000 soldiers to the Union armies. Over 53,000 New Yorkers died in service, roughly 1 of every 7 who served.
Main article: Ellis Island
Castle Garden when it operated as New York's first immigrant depot. Over 8 million immigrants passed through these doors.
Ellis Island in 1905
Ellis Island immigration footage.ogg
Scenes at the Immigration Depot and a nearby dock on Ellis Island
New York City was the main immigration port of entry into the United States from the early 19th century until the middle of the 20th century. In the United States, although immigration acts had been passed, there was no formal routine for implementing immigration policy on a national level until the federal government assumed direct jurisdiction in 1890. Prior to this time the matter was delegated to the individual states then via contract between the states with the federal govennment. Most immigrants to New York would disembark at the bustling docks along the Hudson and East Rivers, in what is today Downtown Manhattan. On May 4, 1847 the New York State Legislature created the Board of Commissioners of Immigration to regulate immigration.
The first permanent immigration depot in New York was established in 1855 at Castle Garden; a converted War of 1812 era fort located at the Battery at the tip of Manhattan, which is today in Battery Park. The first immigrants to arrive at the new depot were onboard three ships that had just been released from quarantine.Castle garden would serve as New York's immigrant depot until it closed on April 18, 1890 when the federal government assumed control over immigration. During that period of time more than 8 million immigrants passed through its doors (two out of every three U.S. immigrants).
When the federal government assumed control over immigration it established the Bureau of Immigration which chose the three-acre Ellis Island in Upper New York Harbor. The island; already a federal possession had served as an ammunition depot. It was chosen due it's relative isolation as an island yet it was still in close proximity to New York City and the rail lines of Jersey City, New Jersey, via a short ferry ride. The island needed improvements including expansion via land reclamation, prior to being used, so the federal government operated a temporary depot at the Barge Office at the Battery.
Ellis Island opened on January 1, 1892, and operated as an central immigration center until the National Origins Act was passed in 1924, then the only immigrants to pass through there were displaced persons or war refugees. The island ceased all immigration processing on November 12, 1954 when the last person detained on the island, a Norwegian seaman named Arne Peterssen who had overstayed his shore leave was released. He left on the 10:15 a.m. Manhattan-bound ferry to return to his ship.
More than 12 million immigrants had passed through Ellis Island, between 1892 and 1954 and today, over 100 million Americans can trace their ancestry to the immigrants, who first arrived in America through Castle Clinton and Ellis Island, before settling throughout the United States.
Ellis Island was the subject of a contentious and long-running border dispute between New York State and the State of New Jersey over within whose borders the island lies. The issue was settled in 1998 by the U.S. Supreme Court which ruled that the original 3.3 acre 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.
Today the island is still owned by the Federal government, it was added to the National Park system in May 1965 by President Lyndon B. Johnson, and is part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument. Ellis Island was opened to the public as a museum of immigration in 1990.
Main article: Geography of New York
New York terrain.
Map of the Hudson and Mohawk rivers.
New York covers 54,556 square miles (141,300 km2) and ranks as the 27th largest state by size. The Great Appalachian Valley dominates eastern New York, while Lake Champlain is the chief northern feature of the valley, which also includes the Hudson River flowing southward to the Atlantic Ocean. The rugged Adirondack Mountains, with vast tracts of wilderness, lie west of the valley.
Most of the southern part of the state is on the Allegheny Plateau, which rises from the southeast to the Catskill Mountains. The western section of the state is drained by the Allegheny River and rivers of the Susquehanna and Delaware systems. The Delaware River Basin Compact, signed in 1961 by New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and the federal government, regulates the utilization of water of the Delaware system. The highest elevation in New York is Mount Marcy in the Adirondacks.
New York's borders touch (clockwise from the west) two Great Lakes (Erie and Ontario, which are connected by the Niagara River); the provinces of Ontario and Quebec in Canada; Lake Champlain; three New England states (Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut); the Atlantic Ocean, and two Mid-Atlantic States, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. In addition, Rhode Island shares a water border with New York. New York is the only state that touches both the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean, and is the second-largest of the original Thirteen Colonies.
In contrast with New York City's urban atmosphere, the vast majority of the state is dominated by farms, forests, rivers, mountains, and lakes. New York's Adirondack Park is the largest state park in the United States. It is larger than the Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Glacier and Olympic National Parks combined. New York established the first state park in the United States at Niagara Falls in 1885. Niagara Falls, on the Niagara River as it flows from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario, is a popular attraction.
The Hudson River begins at Lake Tear of the Clouds and flows south through the eastern part of the state without draining Lakes George or Champlain. Lake George empties at its north end into Lake Champlain, whose northern end extends into Canada, where it drains into the Richelieu and then the St. Lawrence Rivers. Four of New York City's five boroughs are on three islands at the mouth of the Hudson River: Manhattan Island; Staten Island; and Long Island, which contains Brooklyn and Queens on its western end.
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. Unofficial and loosely defined regions of Upstate New York include the Southern Tier, which often includes the counties along the border with Pennsylvania, and the North Country, which can mean anything from the strip along the Canadian border to everything north of the Mohawk River.
Main article: Climate of New York
Lake-effect snow is a major contributor to snowfall totals in western New York.
In general, New York has a humid continental climate, though under the Köppen climate classification, New York City has a humid subtropical climate. 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.
The winters are long and cold in the Plateau Divisions 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 (Southern Plateau). The summer climate is cool in the Adirondacks, Catskills and higher elevations of the Southern Plateau.
The New York City/Long Island area and lower portions of the Hudson Valley have rather warm summers by comparison, with some periods of high, uncomfortable humidity. The remainder of New York State enjoys pleasantly warm summers, marred by only occasional, brief intervals of sultry conditions. Summer daytime temperatures usually range from the upper 70s to mid 80s °F (25 to 30 °C), over much of the state.
New York ranks 46th among the 50 states in the amount of greenhouse gases generated per person. This relative efficiency is primarily due to the state's higher rate of mass transit use.
See also: List of New York state parks and New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation
Two major parks in the state are the Adirondack Park and Catskill Park.
Chimney Bluffs State Park on the shores of Lake Ontario in Wayne County.
New York has many state parks and two major forest preserves. Adirondack Park, roughly the size of the state of Vermont and the largest state park in the United States, was established in 1892 and given state constitutional protection to remain "forever wild" in 1894. The thinking that led to the creation of the Park first appeared in George Perkins Marsh's Man and Nature, published in 1864. Marsh argued that deforestation could lead to desertification; referring to the clearing of once-lush lands surrounding the Mediterranean, he asserted "the operation of causes set in action by man has brought the face of the earth to a desolation almost as complete as that of the moon."
The Catskill Park was protected in legislation passed in 1885, which declared that its land was to be conserved and never put up for sale or lease. Consisting of 700,000 acres (2,800 km2) of land, the park is a habitat for bobcats, minks and fishers. There are some 400 black bears living in the region. The state operates numerous campgrounds and there are over 300 miles (480 km) of multi-use trails in the Park.
The Montauk Point State Park boasts the 1797 Montauk Lighthouse, commissioned under President George Washington, which is a major tourist attraction on the easternmost tip of Long Island. Hither Hills park offers camping and is a popular destination with surfcasting sport fishermen.
Statue of Liberty
African Burial Ground National Monument
General Shuyler's house at Saratoga National Historical Park.
The State of New York is well represented in the National Park System with 22 national parks which received 16,349,381 visitors in 2011. In addition there are 4 National Heritage Areas, 27 National Natural Landmarks, 262 National Historic Landmarks and 5,379 listings on the National Register of Historic Places.
Statue of Liberty National Monument includes Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. The statue designed by Frédéric Bartholdi, was a gift from France to the United States to mark the Centennial of the American Declaration of Independence and was dedicated in New York Harbor on October 28, 1886. It has since become one of the most iconic representations of the United States and the concept of democracy and freedom.
African Burial Ground National Monument in Lower Manhattan (New York City) 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. The site's excavation and study was called "the most important historic urban archeological project in the United States.
Niagara Falls National Heritage Area was designated by 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 and includes Niagara Falls State Park and Colonial Niagara Historic District.
Fire Island National Seashore is a United States National Seashore that protects a 26-mile (42 km) section of Fire Island, an approximately 30-mile (48 km) long barrier island separated from Long Island by the Great South Bay. The island is part of New York State's Suffolk County.
Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site preserves the Springwood estate in Hyde Park, New York, United States of America. Springwood was the birthplace, lifelong home, and burial place of the 32nd President of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The National Historic Site was established in 1945.
Saratoga National Historic Park preserves the site of the Battles of Saratoga, the first significant American military victory of the American Revolutionary War. Here in 1777, American forces met, defeated, and forced a major British army to surrender, an event which led France to recognize the independence of the United States, and enter the war as a decisive military ally of the struggling Americans.
New York population distribution map
The United States Census Bureau estimates that the population of New York was 19,465,197 on July 1, 2011, a 0.45% increase since the 2010 United States Census. In spite of the open land in the state, New York's population is very urban, with 92% of residents living in an urban area.
New York is a slowly growing state with a large rate of domestic migration to other states. In 2000 and 2005, more people moved from New York to Florida than from any one state to another. However, New York State is one of the leading destinations for international immigration and thus has the second largest immigrant population in the country of the American states, at 4.2 million as of 2008. Although Upstate New York receives considerable immigration, most of the state's immigrants settle in and around New York City, due to its more vibrant economy and cosmopolitan culture.
The center of population of New York is located in Orange County, in the town of Deerpark. New York City and its eight suburban counties (excluding those in New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania) have a combined population of 13,209,006 people, or 68.42% of the state's population.
Racial and ancestral makeup
New York population ethnicity map
The Manhattan Chinatown.
Little Italy, New York City, circa 1900.
According to the US Census Bureau, the 2010 racial makeup of New York State was as follows:
White – 65.7%
Hispanic or Latino (of any race) – 17.6%
Black or African American – 15.9%
Asian – 7.3% (3.0% Chinese, 1.6% Indian, 0.7% Korean, 0.5% Filipino, 0.3% Pakistani, 0.3% Bangladeshi, 0.2% Japanese, 0.1% Vietnamese)
Two or more races – 3.0%
Native American/American Indian – 0.6%
The major ancestry groups in New York State are African American (15.8%), Italian (14.4%), Irish (12.9%), German (11.1%) and English (6%). According to a 2010 estimate, 21.7% of the population is foreign-born.
The state's most populous ethnic group, non-Hispanic white, has declined from 94.6% in 1940 to 58.3% in 2010. As of 2011, 55.6% of New York's population younger than age 1 were minorities.
New York is home to the largest African-American population and the second largest Asian-American population in the United States. In addition it is home to the largest Puerto Rican, Dominican and Jamaican American populations in the continental United States. The New York City neighborhood of Harlem has historically been a major cultural capital for African-Americans of sub-Saharan descent, and Bedford Stuyvesant is the largest such population in the United States.
Queens, also in New York City, is home to the state's largest Asian-American population, and is also the most diverse county in the United States. The second highest volume of Asian-Americans is in Manhattan's Chinatown. The neighborhood of Flushing in Queens is also a prime center of Chinese and Korean populations, as well as businesses owned by and catering to its' Asian-American community. Queens is home to the largest Andean population (Colombian, Ecuadorian, Peruvian and Bolivian) population in the United States.
In the 2000 Census, Italian Americans made up the largest ancestral group in Staten Island and Long Island, followed by Irish Americans. Albany and southeast-central New York also have populations with many of Irish-American and Italian-American descent. In Buffalo and western New York, German Americans are the largest group; in the northern tip of the state, French Canadians are. Americans of English ancestry are present throughout all of upstate New York. New York State has a higher number of Italian Americans than any other U.S. state.
6.5% of New York's population were under 5 years of age, 24.7% under 18, and 12.9% were 65 or older. Females made up 51.8% of the population.
According to the 2000 U.S. Census, 13.61% of the population aged 5 and over speak Spanish at home, while 2.04% speak Chinese (including Cantonese and Mandarin), 1.65% Italian, and 1.23% Russian.
Catholics comprise more than 40% of the population in New York. Protestants are 30% of the population, Jews 8.4%, Muslims 3.5%, Buddhists 1%, and 13% claim no religious affiliation. The largest Protestant denominations are the United Methodist Church with 403,362; the American Baptist Churches USA with 203,297; and the Episcopal Church with 201,797 adherents.
Main article: Economy of New York
New York quarter, reverse side, 2001.jpg
The New York Stock Exchange, the world's largest stock exchange by total market capitalization of its listed companies.
Midtown Manhattan in New York City, the largest central business district in the United States
A dairy farm in Brunswick
New York's gross state product in 2010 was $1.16 trillion, ranking third in size behind the larger states of California and Texas. If New York were an independent nation, it would rank as the 16th largest economy in the world behind Turkey. Its 2007 per capita personal income was $46,364, placing it sixth in the nation behind Maryland, and eighth in the world behind Ireland. New York's agricultural outputs are dairy products, cattle and other livestock, vegetables, nursery stock, and apples. Its industrial outputs are printing and publishing, scientific instruments, electric equipment, machinery, chemical products, and tourism.
A recent review by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found 13 states, including several of the nation's largest, face budget shortfalls for FY2009. New York faces a deficit that could be as large as $4.3 billion.
New York exports a wide variety of goods such as foodstuffs, commodities, minerals, computers and electronics, cut diamonds, and automobile parts. 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), 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, furs, railroad equipment and bus line vehicles. Many of these industries are concentrated in upstate regions. Albany and the Hudson Valley are major centers of nanotechnology and microchip manufacturing, while the Rochester area is important in photographic equipment and imaging.
New York is a major agricultural producer, ranking among the top five states for agricultural products such as dairy, apples, cherries, cabbage, potatoes, onions, maple syrup and many others. The state is the largest producer of cabbage in the U.S. The state has about a quarter of its land in farms and produced US$3.4 billion in agricultural products in 2001. The south shore of Lake Ontario provides the right mix of soils and microclimate for many apple, cherry, plum, pear and peach orchards. Apples are also grown in the Hudson Valley and near Lake Champlain.
New York is the nation's third-largest grape-producing state, behind California, and second-largest wine producer by volume. The south shore of Lake Erie and the southern Finger Lakes hillsides have many vineyards. In addition, the North Fork of Long Island developed vineyards, production and visitors' facilities in the last three decades of the 20th century. In 2004, New York's wine and grape industry brought US$6 billion into the state economy.
The state has 30,000 acres (120 km2) of vineyards, 212 wineries, and produced 200 million bottles of wine in 2004. A moderately sized saltwater commercial fishery is located along the Atlantic side of Long Island. The principal catches by value are clams, lobsters, squid, and flounder. These areas of the economy have been increasing as environmental protection has led to an increase in ocean wildlife.
As of January 2010, the state's unemployment rate was 8.8%.
Canada is a very important economic partner for the state. 21% of the state's total worldwide exports went to Canada in 2007. Tourism from the north is also a large part of the economy. Canadians spent US$487 million in 2004 while visiting the state.
New York City is the leading center of banking, finance and communication in the United States and is the location of the New York Stock Exchange, the largest stock exchange in the world by dollar volume. Many of the world's largest corporations are based in the city.
Main article: Transportation in New York
New York State Thruway
The Thaddeus Kosciusko Bridge carries I-87 over the Mohawk River
The New York City Subway serves more than 5 million rides on a given weekday
New York has one of the most extensive and one of the oldest transportation infrastructures in the country. Engineering difficulties because of the terrain of the state and the unique issues of the city brought on by urban crowding have had to be overcome since the state was young. Population expansion of the state generally followed the path of the early waterways, first the Hudson River and then the Erie Canal. Today, railroad lines and the New York State Thruway follow the same general route. The New York State Department of Transportation is often criticized for how they maintain the roads of the state in certain areas and for the fact that the tolls collected along the roadway have long passed their original purpose. Until 2006, tolls were collected on the Thruway within The City of Buffalo. They were dropped late in 2006 during the campaign for Governor (both candidates called for their removal).
In addition to New York City's famous mass transit subway, 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. Many other cities 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 has fallen into disuse.
License plate introduced on April 1, 2010 for vehicles registered in New York State.
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, the NYSDMV has 11,284,546 drivers licenses on file and 10,697,644 vehicle registrations in force. All gasoline powered vehicles registered in New York State must get an emissions inspection every 12 months. Diesel powered vehicles with a Gross Weight Rating over 8 500 lb that are registered in the NY Metropolitan Area must get an annual emissions inspection. All vehicles registered in NYS must get an annual safety inspection.
Portions of the transportation system are intermodal, allowing travelers to easily switch from one mode of transportation to another. One of the most notable examples is AirTrain JFK which allows rail passengers to travel directly to terminals at John F. Kennedy International Airport.
In May 2009, the New York City Department of Transportation under the control of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan banned cars from Times Square in a move designed to improve traffic flow and reduce pollution and pedestrian accidents. On February 11, 2010, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that the pedestrian plazas would remain permanent.
Politics and government
Main article: Government of New York
The New York State Capitol building in Albany.
Under its present constitution (adopted in 1938), New York is governed by the same three branches that govern all fifty states of the United States: the executive branch, consisting of the Governor of New York and the other independently elected constitutional officers; the legislative branch, consisting of the bicameral New York State Legislature (senate and assembly); and the judicial branch, consisting of the state's highest court, the New York Court of Appeals, and lower courts. The state has two U.S. senators, 29 members in the United States House of Representatives, and 31 electoral votes in national presidential elections (a drop from its 47 votes during the 1940s).
New York's capital is Albany. The state's subordinate political units are its 62 counties. Other officially incorporated governmental units are towns, cities, and villages. New York has more than 4,200 local governments that take one of these forms. About 52% of all revenue raised by local governments in the state is raised solely by the government of New York City, which is the largest municipal government in the United States, whereas New York City houses only 42% of the state population.
The state has a strong imbalance of payments with the federal government. New York State receives 82 cents in services for every $1 it sends in taxes to the federal government in Washington. The state ranks near the bottom, in 42nd place, in federal spending per tax dollar.
Many of New York's public services are carried out by public benefit corporations, frequently called authorities or development corporations. Well known public benefit corporations in New York include the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which oversees New York City's public transportation system, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, a bi-state transportation infrastructure agency.
New York's legal system is explicitly based upon English common Law.
See also: Current United States congressional delegation from New York and New York's congressional districts
As of the 2000 census and the redistricting for the 2002 elections, the state has 29 members in the United States House of Representatives, and two U.S. senators. Two seats in the House will be lost in 2013 due to a decline in the state's rate of population growth. New York has 31 electoral votes in national presidential elections (a drop from its 47 votes during the 1940s).
New York is represented by Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand in the United States Senate and has 29 representatives to the United States House of Representatives, behind California's 53 congressional districts and Texas' 32 congressional districts.
Main article: Capital punishment in New York
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 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.
Andrew Cuomo (D) is the current Governor of New York.
Main articles: Politics of New York, Elections in New York, Political party strength in New York, and New York's congressional districts
In the last few decades, New York State has generally supported candidates belonging to the Democratic Party in national elections. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama won New York State by 25 percentage points in 2008, a bigger margin than John Kerry in 2004. New York City is a major Democratic stronghold with liberal politics. Many of the state's other urban areas, such as Albany, Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse are also Democratic. Rural upstate New York, however, is generally more conservative than the cities and tends to favor Republicans. Heavily populated Suburban areas such as Westchester County and Long Island have swung between the major parties over the past 25 years, but more often than not support Democrats.
Same-sex marriages in New York were legalized on June 24, 2011 and were authorized to take place beginning 30 days thereafter.
New York City is the most important source of political fund-raising in the United States for both major parties. Four of the top five zip codes in the nation for political contributions are in Manhattan. The top zip code, 10021 on the Upper East Side, generated the most money for the 2000 presidential campaigns of both George W. Bush and Al Gore.
Main article: Education in New York
System Administration Building of the State University of New York in Albany
The University of the State of New York oversees all public primary, middle-level, and secondary education in the state, while the New York City Department of Education manages the public school system in New York City. In 1894, reflecting general racial discrimination, the state passed a law that allowed communities to set up schools for children of African-American descent. In 1900, the state passed another law requiring integrated schools.
At the post-secondary level, the statewide public university system is the State University of New York commonly refereed to as SUNY. New York City also has its own City University of New York which is additionally funded by the city. The SUNY system consists of 64 community colleges, technical colleges, undergraduate colleges, and doctoral-granting institutions including several universities. The four SUNY university centers, offering a wide array of academic programs, are University at Albany, Binghamton University, University at Buffalo and Stony Brook University.
In addition there are many notable private universities, including the oldest Catholic institution in the Northeast, Fordham University. New York is home to both Columbia University in New York City and Cornell University in Ithaca, making it the only state to contain more than one Ivy League school. Syracuse University is located in the City of Syracuse in Central New York. West Point, the service academy of the U.S. Army is located just south of Newburgh, on the banks of the Hudson River.
During the 2007–2008 school year, New York spent more per pupil on public education than any other state.
Main article: Sports in New York
New York hosted the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid. The 1980 Games are known for the USA–USSR hockey game dubbed the "Miracle on Ice" in which a group of American college students and amateurs defeated the heavily favored Soviet national ice hockey team 4–3 and went on to win the gold medal 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 to host the 2012 Summer Olympics but lost to London.
New York is the home of one National Football League team, the Buffalo Bills (based in the suburb of Orchard Park). Although the New York Giants and New York Jets represent the New York metropolitan area and were previously located in New York City, they play in MetLife Stadium, located in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Meadowlands stadium will host Super Bowl XLVIII in 2014. There has been much controversy over several proposals for a new New York Jets football stadium. The owners of the New York Jets were willing to split the $1.5 billion cost of building a new football stadium over Manhattan's West Side rail yards, but the proposal never came to fruition.
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). New York is home to three National Hockey League franchises: the New York Rangers in Manhattan, the New York Islanders on 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. There are a variety of minor league teams that can be found all through the State of New York, such as the Long Island Ducks.