What is New York known for?
New York is famous for New York City and its many famous landmarks. These landmarks include the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and Central Park. A large and extremely diverse population makes New York famous as well. Besides the vibrant city of New York, the state of New York is known for its countryside and smaller cities.
New York. The words conjure images of massive skyscrapers and world-famous landmarks. Few cities can match the fame of New York City, but what about the rest of the state?
Though often overshadowed by the fame of “The Big Apple,” there’s a ton to discover about the state of New York. In this article, we’ll take a look at what makes New York, both the city and the state, a remarkable place.
- 22 Things New York is Known For
- 1. New York City
- 2. The Statue of Liberty
- 3. The Empire State Building
- 4. One World Trade Center
- 5. Central Park
- 6. The Rockefeller Center
- 7. New York Cuisine
- 8. Broadway Shows
- 9. Wall Street
- 10. Fifth Avenue
- 11. United Nations Headquarters
- 12. Mass Transportation
- 13. The Brooklyn Bridge
- 14. A Diverse Population
- 15. The New York Accent
- 16. Professional Baseball Teams
- 17. The Empire State
- 18. Upstate New York
- 19. Albany, New York
- 20. Niagara Falls
- 21. The Great Lakes
- 22. Buffalo, New York
- FAQs About Famous New York Things
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22 Things New York is Known For
1. New York City
By a long shot, New York is among America’s most famous cities. It is also the country’s most densely populated city. Nearly 8.5 million people live in the five boroughs that make up New York City, making it the most highly populated city in America also.
Manhattan, with its legion of towering skyscrapers, is the most densely populated borough. More of New York’s residents live in Brooklyn than in Manhattan but are spread further out there.
New York’s nickname, “The Big Apple,” comes from a newspaper column in the 1920s. New York sports journalist John J. Fitzgerald used the term to refer to the prize for winning local horse races. In the 1930s, jazz musicians began to refer to New York as the Big Apple. Over time, the term caught on and grew organically–like an apple.
2. The Statue of Liberty
On Liberty Island in New York Harbor stands one of the most famous symbols of America–the Statue of Liberty. The 151’ copper statue stands atop a pillar holding a torch and a copy of the Declaration of Independence. “Lady Liberty,” as the statue is called, was designed by French sculptor Frederic Bartholdi; its framework was built by Gustave Eiffel, the same man responsible for the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
3. The Empire State Building
The next most famous landmark in New York stands on the island of Manhattan. This skyscraper was the world’s tallest building from its completion in 1931 until 1971.
It still makes up a prominent part of the Manhattan skyline today. The Empire State Building also played a significant role in media, frequently appearing in television and movies, King Kong being the most famous.
4. One World Trade Center
Five years after the tragic events on September 11th, 2001, work began on a replacement for the Twin Towers. Now one tower stands on the site, taller than the original two. They stood at 1,368’, but the new tower measures 1776,’ a nod to the patriotism that fueled the rebuilding of the World Trade Center.
A three-story observation deck spans floors 100-102, making it the highest observation deck in New York. At the bottom, the Oculus shopping center offers a variety of designer stores and premier dining options. One can also find a memorial where the two original towers once stood.
5. Central Park
New York’s largest urban park provides a little green amid all the concrete, steel, and glass. Completed in 1876, it became a model for other urban parks across the world.
One can walk the paths here, visit the Central Park Zoo, or attend a performance of Shakespeare in the Park. In addition to the works of The Bard, Central Park also played many roles in the world of film. As an article on NetCredit.com relates, it’s the most filmed location in the world, appearing in 532 different movies.
6. The Rockefeller Center
The Rockefeller Center consists of 19 buildings covering an area of 22 acres of mid-Manhattan. It’s best known for its ice rink, where a huge Christmas tree is placed every December. Another noteworthy attraction at the center is the Top of the Rock Observation Deck, which commands a sweeping view of Central Park and the New York Skyline.
7. New York Cuisine
New York is famous for its pizza, too. New York-style pizza has a thin crust, as opposed to the pizza from Chicago, Illinois which is known for “deep-dish” pizza. Slices are wide and wedge-shaped and, traditionally, the only toppings were tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese.
For a lighter snack, try a New York-style bagel. In contrast to other bagels, these rings of dough are boiled before baking. This makes the outside crispy while leaving the inside soft and chewy.
Traditional toppings on a New York bagel include poppy seeds, sesame seeds, dried onions, and “everything” seasoning. Adding cream cheese and salmon lox makes for an especially tasty New York-style treat.
8. Broadway Shows
There is a specific street called Broadway, but the term usually refers to the wider theater district in New York. The original Broadway Theater is one of the few “Broadway” theaters actually on Broadway Street. Regardless of exact locations, the theaters present performances of classic plays like The Sound of Music or more modern hits like The Lion King.
9. Wall Street
If Broadway became synonymous with theater, this street in Lower Manhattan became synonymous with wealth and economics. Here one finds the New York Stock Exchange as well as the headquarters of several banks and insurance companies.
The eight blocks that make up Wall Street don’t take up much physical room, but the business transacted there forms a major pillar of the local and national economies.
10. Fifth Avenue
Running through the very heart of the city is the famous Fifth Avenue. In the Midtown Manhattan section of this road sits Times Square, well-known for its New Year’s Eve party. One also finds the prestigious Metropolitan Museum of Art on this street and a wide array of other notable landmarks.
11. United Nations Headquarters
Another of New York City’s most famous landmarks is the Headquarters of the United Nations, overlooking the East River. Although located in New York City, the grounds of the UN headquarters are under the jurisdiction of the UN and not the United States. In exchange for various civil services (fire and police protection, for example), the United Nations signed a treaty agreeing to abide by most local and federal laws.
12. Mass Transportation
Such a huge city needs an extensive transportation system, and New York is famous for its many modes of travel. Aside from the iconic yellow cabs and city buses, one can also take the subway throughout the city. One of the most famous hubs along New York’s elaborate network of train tracks is the iconic Grand Central Terminal, usually, though mistakenly referred to as Grand Central Station.
For residents of Staten Island, the Staten Island Ferry system provides frequent commuter trips across the harbor to Manhattan. The route also provides great views of the Statue of Liberty and other famous New York City landmarks.
13. The Brooklyn Bridge
It’s a toss-up whether the Brooklyn Bridge or the Golden State Bridge is the most famous bridge in America. New York residents would, of course, defend their hometown contender. At the time of its completion in 1883, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world, spanning 1,595’, connecting Brooklyn and Manhattan.
❓ Trivia Time: Besides the Golden Gate Bridge, what is California known for?
14. A Diverse Population
New York has long been one of the major hubs of immigration to the United States. Over the years, it gained a reputation for cultural diversity. Whatever culture you’re looking for, you can find in New York. The New York Times created a handy map, charting the array of different ethnic neighborhoods in New York City
15. The New York Accent
One of New York’s immaterial trademarks is the unique accent of its residents. With so many different nationalities immigrating to New York, it rapidly became America’s most linguistically diverse city. One product of this melting pot, as well as the unique idiom of life in New York itself, brought about this unmistakable accent. The New York Times takes a fascinating and frequently amusing look at just what this linguistic phenomenon is in this linked article.
16. Professional Baseball Teams
Sports fans also recognize New York as a big name in the world of sports. The Big Apple’s most famous team, without a doubt, is the New York Yankees. Considered by many to be the best baseball team ever, the Yankees have won 27 World Series and 40 American League pennants. They have also maintained a long-standing rivalry with Boston’s Red Sox.
New York also has the New York Mets, who, while not as popular as the Yankees, still draw a loyal crowd to their games. The Mets also maintain a rivalry with the Yankees, but it lacks the fervor and history of the Yankees-Red Sox feud.
❓ Trivia Time: What is Massachusetts known for?
17. The Empire State
No one knows the exact origins of this nickname. It seems an odd choice given America’s own origin story. The earliest references to New York’s association with empire come from none other than George Washington. In 1785, in a letter to the mayor of New York City, Washington referred to New York as “the Seat of the Empire.” Maybe he was just being poetic? Whatever its origins, the name stuck.
18. Upstate New York
While the Big Apple tends to steal the spotlight, there is plenty to see elsewhere in the state. Once you get out of the city, you’ll soon notice a stark contrast. The crowded streets of the concrete jungle give way to gently rolling hills and cozy towns. Here one finds the scenic Catskill Mountains (part of the Appalachian Mountains) and the Adirondacks (which are not part of the Appalachians, despite their proximity).
❓ Trivia Time: What states do the Appalachian Mountains go through?
19. Albany, New York
New York City may be the most famous city in its state, but it is not the state capital. That dignity belongs to the town of Albany, about 2.5 hours drive north of NYC–depending on the traffic. Downtown Albany has much to offer visitors and locals.
What first catches the eye in most photos of downtown Albany are the imposing monolithic buildings of the Empire State Plaza. The state capitol building, by contrast, combines several older more-refined styles of architecture lending a classical touch to an otherwise thoroughly modern plaza.
20. Niagara Falls
This waterfall is one of the most visited tourist attractions outside New York City. The falls, and the state park around them, receive over 8 million visitors a year! This state park is also the oldest in America.
The falls also gained notoriety when some people attempted to go over them in a barrel, or other objects. Of the 19 that tried, 4 died, 6 were stopped before taking the plunge, and 9 lived to tell about it. Strict penalties are enforced to prevent would-be daredevils from trying to repeat such feats.
21. The Great Lakes
New York borders Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. The famous folk song “Fifteen Miles on the Erie Canal” describes the work of muleteers (people who drive mules) pulling barges along the canal that connected Lake Erie to the Hudson River. While the legacy of the lakes may have more to do with labor, there is also no shortage of leisure activities awaiting visitors to New York’s Great Lakes.
❓ Trivia Time: What states are the Great Lakes in?
22. Buffalo, New York
Most people know about this city on the Erie shore because of its pro football team–The Buffalo Bills. It’s also the closest major city to Niagara Falls, and, as such, serves as a great–jumping-off point–to visit the falls. (Yes, I probably deserve to be thrown over the falls for that pun). Buffalo wings originated here, going on to become a staple at every self-respecting pizza joint across the nation, regardless of what style of pizza they serve.
👉 Read Next: What Every State is Known For?
FAQs About Famous New York Things
What famous people are from New York?
Very many famous people come from New York; a short list includes such stars as Sylvester Stallone, Robert DeNiro, Tom Cruise, Jerry Seinfeld, Scarlett Johansson, and Barbara Streisand
What New York foods are famous?
Besides pizza, buffalo wings, and bagels, New York is famous for Coney Island hot dogs, New York cheesecake, and New York strip steak.
So what is New York known for?
New Yorkers take pride in their home, whether the city, the state, or both. With so many famous places, delicious dishes, and one-of-a-kind attractions It’s not hard to see why. Still not certain that New York’s a great place to visit? Fuggedaboudit! Go see firsthand what makes New York famous!