New York State Names (Etymology of Names)

New York Name Origin and State Nicknames

The State of New York is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. New York is the 27th-most extensive, the third-most populous, and the seventh-most densely populated of the 50 United States. The State of New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south and by Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont to the east. The state has a maritime border with Rhode Island east of Long Island, as well as an international border with the Canadian provinces of Ontario to the west and north, and Quebec to the north.

The English took over of the area that had been called "New Netherland" in 1664, and renamed it New York to honor the Duke of York (York is a city in England).

New York Nicknames

  • Empire State
  • Excelsior State
  • Knickerbocker State
  • Gateway to the West

Origin of New York State Name

New York was named in honor of the Duke of York.

New York was named by the British to honor the the Duke of York and Albany, the brother of England's King Charles II, when New Amsterdam was taken from the Dutch in 1664. New York became the name of the state and the city.

New York Nicknames

Big Apple is the nickname of New York City.

Empire State

For its wealth and variety of resources.

But, when George Washington referred to New York state as "the seat of Empire" in 1784, he set the seed for the state's long-term nickname which appeared in around 1820 - the Empire State. It is this which appears on state license plates.

Another version is Legend has it that when Henry Hudson sailed into what is now New York Harbor, he was so taken by the beauty and majesty of the area that he proclaimed 'This is the new Empire'


State motto. New York's motto means "ever upward."

Knickerbocker State

This nickname comes from the breeches worn by early Dutch settlers in New York.

Gateway to the West

It has also sometimes been known as the Gateway to the West.

New York Slogans

Consolidated Laws of New York, STL - State, Article 6, Section 88.
STL - State
? 88. State slogan. "I Love New York" shall be the official state slogan.

New York Postal Code

  • NY

New York Resident's Name

  • New Yorker - Official (recommended by US GPO)
State Names
State Names & Nicknames

The Etymologies of US State Names