State of New York

New York is a state in the northeastern United States, and is the 27th-most extensive, fourth-most populous, and seventh-most densely populated U.S. state.

Albany City

Albany, the capital of New York and the seat of Albany County, sits on the western bank of the Hudson River, just south of its junction with the Mohawk. The city actually began as Fort Orange, a Dutch fur trading post established in 1624. As settlers from Holland, Norway, Denmark, Germany, and Scotland flocked to the New Amsterdam Territory, Fort Orange grew into a sizable village and was renamed Beverwyck. In 1664, the Dutch surrendered the territory to the English, and King Charles granted a huge tract to his brother James, the Duke of York and Albany. Thus, New Amsterdam became New York and Beverwyck became Albany. The city was granted its charter by Governor Thomas Dongan in 1686.

The Albany Plan of Union was a proposal drafted by Benjamin Franklin and other colonial leaders in 1754. This early attempt at unification was never adopted by Parliament, but was instrumental in the drafting of the Articles of Confederation and is seen by many as a precursor to the United States Constitution. In 1797, the state capital of New York was moved from Albany to Kingston. The State Capitol building, inspired partially by the design of the Hôtel de Ville in Paris, was designed and constructed by three different teams of architects over a 30 year period and finally completed in 1899.

Brooklyn City

“I live in Brooklyn. By choice. Those ignorant of its allures are entitled to wonder why.” – Truman Capote, A House on the Heights

Brooklyn, the most populous of New York City’s five boroughs, also occupies the entirety of Kings County. An independent city until its consolidation into New York in 1898, Brooklyn still maintains its air of independence and has a distinct character that sets it apart from the rest of New York City. As immigrants have flocked to borough over the years, their various cultures have fused together to create a unique Brooklyn flavor and, many would say, a distinctive Brooklyn accent. Expressions such as “Fugheddaboudit” and “Oy vey!” are quintessentially Brooklyn, and now even adorn the various traffic signs posted along the borough line. Embracing its diverse culture, Brooklyn now proudly proclaims to be “Home to Everyone from Everywhere.”

Buffalo City

Buffalo is the second-largest city in New York (after New York City), and the seat of Erie County. A commercial and industrial center since the 19th century, Buffalo is also a hub of transportation. Situated on the eastern end of Lake Erie, the city serves as an inland port with access to grain and other raw materials from the Midwest. The Welland Ship Canal and St. Lawrence Seaway provide a shipping outlet to the Atlantic Ocean, and the Erie Canal connects Buffalo to the rest of the New York State Canal System. The city is also a major railroad center, with fifteen freight depots and the Buffalo Central Terminal, a massive Art Deco station that provides passenger service.

The area was first settled by the French, who built Fort Niagara at the mouth of Buffalo Creek in 1758. The fort fell during the French and Indian War to the British, who took control of the region in 1763. The land was purchased by Dutch investors, who began selling parcels in 1801 through the Holland Land Company. An agent of the Holland Land Company, Joseph Ellicot, designed the city (modeling it after Washington D.C.) and christened it New Amsterdam. The settlers who flocked to the area chose to call the burgeoning city Buffalo Creek instead, later shortening it to Buffalo.

Rochester City

Located on the Genesee River, near Lake Ontario, Rochester is the third-largest city in New York and the seat of Monroe County. Originally a mill site, the township of “Rochesterville” was founded in 1817 by Colonel Nathaniel Rochester and his two partners. In 1823, with the completion of the Erie Canal, the city became a major trade center and shortened its name to “Rochester.” Because of its strategic location on the Genesee, numerous flour mills were constructed in the city, earning it the nickname “Flour City.” William A. Reynolds also started the seed business that would eventually blossom into the Ellwanger & Barry Nursery Co., so it was only natural that Rochester would also be referred to as “Flower City.”

Rochester has long been a progressive city, with a history of social activism. The city had a large population of freed slaves, including Frederick Douglass, who printed his paper The North Starthere. Susan B. Anthony was also from Rochester, and it was thanks to her efforts that the University of Rochester began admitting women in 1900. The Susan B. Anthony House still stands on Madison Street, featuring tours and exhibits from the women’s suffrage movement.

Syracuse City

The first settlers in the Syracuse area were a group of French Jesuits, soldiers, and furriers who arrived sometime in 1656 to set up a mission. At the invitation of the Onondaga Nation, the French established the Ste. Marie de Gannentaha mission on the northeast shore of Onondaga Lake. The mission lasted less than two years, however, due to intimations from the neighboring Mohawk Nation that the French visitors would suffer a horrible fate if they remained among the Onondaga. The settlers abandoned the mission in the middle of a cold, March night in 1658.

A trading post was established on the site following the Revolutionary War, but it was the discovery of salt in the swamps in 1784 that brought more settlers flocking to the area. Salt production became a major staple of the community, which was dubbed “Salt Port.” The settlement went through several name changes over the next few decades, including Bogardus Corners, South Salina, and Corinth. When the village applied for a post office in 1824, the U.S. Postal Service rejected the name Corinth because there was already a post office by that name in New York. Inspired by the salt industry in Syracuse, Italy, the village adopted that name as their own.