One of the thirteen original colonies, New York became the eleventh state in our country in 1788. The Empire State—so named as a nod to the state’s wealth and resources—is home to almost 20 million people, making it the fourth most populous state in the nation. New York City makes up more than 40% of the state’s population. Here are six things that set the state of New York apart from its 49 counterparts.
The New York City subway system is incredibly expansive. There are over 720 miles of track on which nearly two billion people travel. Only about 60% of the subway system is underground, which might surprise you. The Times Square Station is the busiest of all the stations. It serves more than 63 million people each year. The deepest spot in the system is a platform that sits 18 stories beneath the ground. The highest part of the system is a platform that stands nearly nine stories above ground. The first part of the New York City subway system opened for operation in 1904. And as a side note: did you know that on a New York City subway train, it’s not only inconsiderate to put your feet in a seat? Doing so can get you arrested!
A Wizard of Oz-inspired city
In the village of Chittenango in Madison County, New York, there are nods to the famous work of L. Frank Baum—The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Baum was born in Chittenango on May 15, 1856, and every year, the village holds a three-day festival called “Oz-Stravaganza!” The festival celebrates the life and works of the author. It also includes a Munchkin Parade. There are even yellow-brick sidewalks in the town, and several businesses have Oz-themed names. They include Auntie Em’s Place, Over the Rainbow Crafts, Emerald City Grille, Emerald City Bowling, Tin Man Construction Company, the Yellow Brick Road Casino, Oz Cream, among others.
Rochester – the birthplace of many things
The city of Rochester, New York is known as the Flour City and the Flower City. A potpourri of different things were created or born here. Rochester is the birthplace of Jell-O brand gelatin, French’s Mustard and marshmallows. Who knew? It’s also the birthplace of such items as baby shoes, the mail chute, bloomers, and gold teeth!
Adirondack Park is located in Hamilton County, New York. And though it’s a state park, it encompasses some 6 million acres, making it larger than Yosemite National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Glacier National Park, Olympic National Park and the Grand Canyon combined! The park was created in 1892 by the State of New York. Within its borders, there are 3,000 lakes and ponds, 30,000 miles of streams and rivers and 2,000 miles of hiking trails. It’s the perfect place for kayaking, canoeing, hiking and for viewing fall foliage. Mount Marcy is the highest peak in the park at 5,343 feet. It’s also the highest point in New York. For more information about the park, visit www.visitadirondacks.com.
Niagara Falls is a city in New York on the Niagara River. The falls straddle the Canadian border to the north. At Niagara Falls State Park, the Observation Tower juts out over Niagara Gorge and allows visitors a view of all three falls. There are guided hikes and walks available to visitors as well. You can also descend nearly 18 stories down into Niagara Gorge and stand on Hurricane Deck—this location allows you to get up close and personal to the falls. You can even have dinner at the Top of the Falls Restaurant on Goat Island, which features American cuisine, floor-to-ceiling windows and panoramic views of Horseshoe Falls. To inquire about the restaurant, call (716) 278-0340. And for more information on the state park, visit www.niagarafallsstatepark.com.
National September 11 Memorial and Museum
Perhaps nothing sets New York State apart from the other 49 states more than the events of September 11, 2001. On that day, after the terrorist attacks carried out against our country, almost 3,000 Americans had lost their lives. As a tribute to those who lost their lives and to those who gave their lives to save others, the National September 11 Memorial and Museum was erected on Greenwich Street in New York City where the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center once stood. The museum’s permanent collection includes over 11,000 artifacts, more than 300 moving images and over 40,000 printed and digital photos. The museum gives visitors an in-depth look at the events of 9/11, a look at its impact on the American people and on government policy and a look at those who lost their lives in the attacks.
The museum is open daily from Sunday to Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and on Fridays and Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Tickets are available for purchase up to six months in advance. Ticket prices range from $15 to $24 for museum admission and from $35 to $44 for admission and museum tour. Children ages 6 and under are free, but still require a ticket. For more information, visit www.911memorial.org.