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How New York Got Its Name

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All are associated with a city or town name within New York States’ southern tier region. Sometimes a town or city’s name is as simple as paying tribute to a previous founder or a prominent landowner. Town and city names tell a shared history of a community, with every name telling a story.


Many who live in a city have never doubted their town’s name origins. They say that their city got its name from a stream they built on. Their Western New York City has some mystery and intriguing theories as to where Buffalo’s name comes from. Gotham, the city that never sleeps, the empire of states, and The Big Apple are a few names used to describe the City of New York.

New York, The City That Never Sleeps,

New York, NY, the most populous city in the US, has been given a number of nicknames, including The City That Never Sleeps, The Empire of States, and Gotham — but the biggest and best-known is probably The Big Apple. Now you know how the Big Apple got its name, find out how to talk like a New Yorker, too.


Named after the Duke of York, this is where Earth’s most iconic city – New York – is born. The name of the city gives away a story about who controlled the land first, from Native Americans, Dutch, and then the English. This mix of Dutch and English colonization is present not just in its renaming, but in the names of New York’s five equally iconic neighborhoods. The names of five of these boroughs date back to Dutch and English colonists.

Much of the area that is now the city was part of the Netherlands New Netherland at the beginning of the seventeenth century, but the English annexed Dutch names when they took over the government in 1664, establishing the new counties. During this period, New York was just an outlying island known by Native American tribes as Manna-hata, and settlements on that island and on the Point Peninsula complex formed five nations in the Iroquois League, who would later form a powerful confederacy during the 15th century, controlling territory across all of modern-day New York, down to Pennsylvania, and across the Great Lakes.

Later called the Native Americans, a number of different tribes, nations, and chiefdoms controlled a number of different areas within New York. When the Dutch settled in what is today called New York City in 1656, calling it New Amsterdam, the Dutch gave the places their Dutch names.


New York culture was also shaped by figures from Maria Tullkheeff, an Osage born in Oklahoma, who became this continent’s first prima ballerina, to La India, a Queen of Latino radio born in the Bronx, whose name hails from her Native Puerto Rican heritage.

Situated on one of the world’s largest natural harbors, with water covering 36.4% of its surface area, New York City is composed of five boroughs, each of which is coextensive with a respective county of the state of New York. The five boroughs—Brooklyn (Kings County), Queens (Queens County), Manhattan (New York County), the Bronx (Bronx County), and Staten Island (Richmond County)—were created when local governments were consolidated into a single municipal entity in 1898.

The city and its metropolitan area constitute the premier gateway for legal immigration to the United States. As many as 800 languages are spoken in New York, making it the most linguistically diverse city in the world. New York is home to more than 3.2 million residents born outside the United States, the largest foreign-born population of any city in the world as of 2016.

As of 2018, the New York metropolitan area is estimated to produce a gross metropolitan product (GMP) of nearly $1.8 trillion, ranking it first in the United States. If the New York metropolitan area were a sovereign state, it would have the eighth-largest economy in the world. New York is home to the highest number of billionaires of any city in the world.

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