New York, The Empire State

New York, The Empire State

by Sandra Merville Hart

New York is known as the Empire State because of its significance to the United States and the world.

New York’s early history

In 1624, Dutch settlers came to the area of Governors Island in New York. They called the whole region, which also included New Jersey, New Netherlands. 


Purchase of Manhattan Island

The Dutch settlers purchased Manhattan Island from the Lenape Indians for 60 guilders ($24) in trade goods. Farm equipment, tools, cloth, and wampum (shell beads) were goods included in the trade.

First president inaugurated in New York

In New York City, our first president, George Washington, stood on the balcony of Federal Hall and placed his hand on a Bible to take the oath of office on April 30, 1789. He wore a dark brown suit with a steel-hilted sword for the occasion.

New York becomes a state

New York became the eleventh state on July 26, 1788. The capital is Albany.


First pizza restaurant in United States

In 1895, Gennaro Lombardi came to New York City and made pizza in a bakery. He opened a restaurant to sell pizza in 1905, calling it Lombardi’s. It was the first pizza restaurant in the United States.

Other fun facts about New York

It’s estimated that nearly 40% of Americans have an ancestor who immigrated to the United States through Ellis Island in New York Harbor.

The Statue of Liberty, which stands on what’s now known as Liberty Island in New York Harbor, was a gift from France.

The state bird is the eastern bluebird.

The state flower is the rose.



“13 Originals: Founding the American Colonies,” The Time Page, 2013/01/04

Cheney, Lynne. Our 50 States: A Family Adventure Across America, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2006.

Doherty, Caitlin. “Lombardi’s Pizza Restaurant, New York City,” Interesting 2013/01/28

Gutman, Bill. The Look-It-Up Book of the 50 States, Random House, 2002.

“New York,”, 2020/05/31

“New York City,”, 2013/01/28

“U.S. Presidential Inauguarations: Firsts and Photos,” National Geographic, 2013/01/28



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