June 25, 2012

New York – “the Empire State”

New York map


Just the Facts….

bird – bluebird
flower – rose
tree – sugar maple
capital – Albany
union – 11th on July 26, 1788
population – almost 20 million





The Basics 

The Dutch originally settled New York – its first name was “New Netherland”!  Once the British took over the colony, it was renamed “New York” in honor of the Duke of York, who eventually became King George of England.   New York saw a lot of action in the Revolutionary War – about one-third of all the battles were fought on New York soil.

New York is home to two main mountain regions – the Adirondacks in the northeast, and the Catskills and Kittatinny Mountain Ridge in the south (which are part of the Appalachian Highlands).  A big huge valley runs between the two upland regions, which has fertile soil and many lakes and rivers. Western New York is part of the Great Lakes Plain, which is one of the snowiest places in America.


Its Claim to Fame

New York City – the Big Apple!  New York City is at the center of American culture and finance.  It is also an important international city.  For example, the United Nations is headquartered in the City.  New York City was also the biggest point of entry for immigrants.  Most people who came to America in search of a new life stopped first on Ellis Island.  Over 12 million immigrants went through Ellis Island!  There are 8 million people in New York City alone – that is more people than the population of some states!

The Statue of Liberty stands proudly in New York Harbor, welcoming all who come to America’s shore.   It was a gift from the people of France to the people of America.  The Statue was designed to commemorate America’s 100th birthday by expressing the ideals that were important to both people – freedom, liberty, and peace.  The Statue of Liberty was the largest structure in New York City at the time.  It was a collaboration of art, architecture, and engineering -  August Bartholdi (a French sculptor) designed the outside of the Statue; Gustav Eiffel (a French engineer) designed the inside structure of the Statue; and Richard Hunt (an American architect) designed the pedestal on which the Statue sits.

Niagara Falls is the largest waterfall in America.  It is located where the Niagara River flows from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario and is part of the border between America and Canada.  It was formed when the glaciers melted and excess water from the Great Lakes made its way to the Atlantic Ocean.  There are two main waterfalls at Niagara – the American Falls and the Canadian Horseshoe Falls.  At its peak, over 150,000 gallons of water flow over the American falls per second (600,000 gallons over the Horseshoe Falls)!  Believe it or not, geologists consider Niagara Falls to be relatively “young” – only about 12,000 years old.


What Makes it Tick

Wall Street.  New York City is the center of finance in America.  And, the center of finance in New York City is Wall Street.  Wall Street is an actual street in lower Manhatten.  Its name came from the fact that it went along the northern wall of New Amsterdam, which was the first settlement on the very tip of Manhattan.  George Washington was inaugurated as the first President of the United States in the federal building that was located on Wall Street.  And, the New York Stock Exchange was started about the same time.

The Erie Canal runs between the Hudson River and Lake Erie, in effect connecting New England with the Great Lakes.  The completion of the Erie Canal in 1825 was a major milestone because it allowed people and goods to travel beyond the Appalachian Mountains.  For the first time, farmers and mills outside of New England could ship their products to New York City.  It also became the major route for people moving west to places like Ohio, Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin.


If You Visited

If you visited New York, you might go into the City to see a play on Broadway.  But, don’t be surprised if the theater is not actually on Broadway Street!  “Broadway” is a term used for the theater district in New York City, which has about 40 professional theaters.  Broadway is the birthplace of the “musical,” which tells a story through song and dance.  Modern Broadway was born when the lightbulb was invented – street lights made it safer to travel home after dark.  As a result, more people came to the theater, the number of theaters increased, and performances could run later into the night.

Or, you might spend a weekend in the nation’s largest state park – Adirondack Park.  The Adirondack Park covers over 6 million acres – which is bigger than Yellowstone, Yosemite, Glacier and Grand Canyon Parks combined.  Although some of it is privately owned, state law protects all of it.  There are many golf courses and resorts located within the park, as well as thousands of lakes and streams.  Lake Placid is a town within the Park that hosted the Winter Olympics in 1980!


Want to Know More? 

Do you live in New York? Or, maybe you have visited New York?  We want to hear from you!!  Post a comment at the end of this page.

  • What is your very favorite thing about New York?
  • What is your favorite thing to eat?
  • What is your favorite thing to do?
  • What other special or unique facts do you want to share about your home state?


Do you have any photos of New York to share? Email them to: info@grandtourkids.com. Or, post them to our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/GrandTourKids

Our tour includes just a few things that are interesting and special about New York.  Visit these websites to learn more: