New York City was originally settled by the Dutch in 1624 and was known as New Amsterdam until it was captured by the English in 1664 and renamed New York.
In 1785, New York City became the first capital of the United States under the new Constitution before it was moved to Philadelphia and eventually to Washington, D.C.
The Seneca Falls Convention, held in 1848 in Seneca Falls, New York, marked the beginning of the women’s suffrage movement in the United States.
The New York Draft Riots, which took place in 1863 during the Civil War, were the largest civil insurrection in American history, sparked by opposition to conscription.
In 1911, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City resulted in the deaths of 146 garment workers, leading to significant labor reforms and safety regulations.
The Empire State Building in New York City was the tallest building in the world until the completion of the North Tower of the World Trade Center in 1970.
The Empire State Building, completed in 1931, was constructed in just over a year and became an iconic symbol of New York City and the United States. During WWII, a US bomber pilot lost his way in cloudy conditions, smashing into the 78th floor of the Empire State Building. Unlike the World Trade Center, the building did not collapse. The damage was totally repaired.
The abolitionist movement gained momentum in New York State in the 19th century, and it became a critical hub for the Underground Railroad, helping enslaved individuals escape to freedom.
The construction of the Statue of Liberty, a gift from France, was completed in France in 1884, and it was then disassembled and shipped to New York City where it was reassembled on Liberty Island.
The Great Blizzard of 1888 paralyzed New York City and the surrounding area with record-breaking snowfall and strong winds, resulting in significant loss of life and economic disruption.
The Catskill Mountains in upstate New York were a popular destination for vacationers, entertainers and artists in the 19th and 20th centuries, inspiring the Hudson River School of landscape painting.
The Finger Lakes region in upstate New York, with a population of around 4 million people, and known for its wine production, particularly Rieslings and other cool-climate varietals, is named after the long, narrow lakes that resemble fingers on a hand.
The Adirondack Park in northern New York is the largest publicly protected area in the contiguous United States.
The Woodstock Music Festival, one of the most iconic music events in history, took place in Bethel, New York, in 1969.
The first American pizzeria, Lombardi’s, opened in New York City in 1905 and is still operating today.
New York State has hosted the Olympic Games four times: twice in Lake Placid (1932 and 1980) and twice in New York City (1904 and 1932).
The world’s first commercial-scale electric power plant, the Pearl Street Station, began operation in New York City in 1882.
New York State is home to numerous prestigious universities, including Columbia University, Cornell University, and New York University.
New York State has more ski resorts than any other state in the United States, making it a popular destination for winter sports enthusiasts.
In 1859, Central Park in New York City had a “Vinegar Hill” – a small, isolated mound of rock that was made entirely of discarded vinegar barrels.
The town of Phelps, New York, holds an annual “Sauerkraut Weekend” festival to celebrate its history as a major sauerkraut producer.
In the town of Cairo, New York, there is a building known as the “World’s Smallest Church,” which can only accommodate a congregation of about 8 people.
The town of Medina, New York, is home to the “Floating Bridge,” which is a bridge built on a pontoon system, allowing it to rise and fall with changes in water levels.
The Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, New York, is home to the world’s largest collection of glass art, spanning over 3,500 years of history.
New York State has a town named “Sodom,” located in the Finger Lakes region. Its name has sparked various theories about its origin.
The village of Lake George, New York, hosts an annual “Winter Carnival” featuring events like an outhouse race, ice diving, and a chili cook-off.
The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York, houses the National Toy Hall of Fame, where iconic toys like Barbie and LEGO have been inducted.
In the town of Saratoga Springs, New York, you can find the “Spam Museum of Saratoga Springs,” dedicated to the canned meat product.
The world’s largest kaleidoscope can be found in Mount Tremper, New York. It is housed in a silo and offers a mesmerizing visual experience.
New York State has a town named “Chili,” which is often subject to jokes and puns related to the spicy food. The town name is pronounced like “Chy ly” but also “Che lee.”
TThe town of Geneseo, New York, holds an annual “Dog Parade” where participants dress up their dogs in creative costumes and march through the streets.
The town of Sackets Harbor, New York, hosts an annual “Civil War Weekend” featuring reenactments, historical tours, and cannon firings.
Silly Laws Still on the Books in New York State
It is illegal to take a lion to the movies.
You cannot allow a donkey to sleep in your bathtub.
It is illegal to jump off a building more than 50 feet tall.
It is illegal to greet someone by putting one’s thumb to the nose and wiggling the fingers.
It is illegal to keep a bear as a pet.
It is illegal to honk someone else’s car horn.
If you intend to dry your laundry on a clothesline, you must first obtain a permit.
It is illegal to frown at a police officer.
No more than three unrelated people can share an apartment.
Do not pee on pigeons unless you’re OK with breaking the law.
It is illegal to wear a bulletproof vest while committing a crime.
It is illegal to eat peanuts and walk backward on the sidewalks of Rochester, New York.
It is illegal to wear slippers in public restrooms.
It is illegal to ride an elevator with more than four people and a dog.
It is illegal to throw a ball at a person’s head for fun in a city park.
It is illegal to walk around on Sundays with an ice cream cone in your pocket on Sundays.
You cannot legally change the color of a rabbit’s fur.
It is illegal to perform a puppet show without a state license.
It is illegal to keep more than two dildos in a house.
It is illegal to dye a duckling blue and offer it for sale, unless more than six are for sale at once.
It is illegal to give a dog a lighted cigar.