53rd Senate District
George H. Winner, Jr.
George H. Winner, Jr.
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The Empire State: Test Your New York State IQ The Empire State: Test Your New York State IQ

State Motto
Excelsior meaning ever upward. In 1784, during a tour of the state’s harbors, waterways and fertile interior, George Washington referred to New York as the “Seat of Empire.” Since then, New Yorkers have worked ambitiously to live up to the state's motto and to make “The Empire State” the national leader it is today.

State Flag
The device of arms of the state flag was adopted in 1778, and the present flag is a modern version of a Revolutionary War flag. It is dark blue with the State Coat of Arms in the center. The Coat of Arms shows Liberty and Justice standing on either side of a shield upon which is emblazoned the sun rising behind a range of mountains. A three-masted, square-rigged ship and a Hudson River sloop signify commerce. Beneath the shield is the state motto. The original flag is at the Albany Institute of History and Art.

State Fruit
were introduced in the 1600s by European settlers who brought seeds to New York. Dried apples were a staple for colonists, and hard apple cider was a popular drink.

State Tree
The sugar maple
yields a sweet sap for syrup and sugar in the spring; its heavy crown of leaves turns brilliant colors in autumn. The wood makes fine furniture and burns well in woodstoves and fireplaces.

State Flower
The rose, wild or cultivated, in all its variety and color, was made the state flower in 1955. Ever popular, it was at the top of a school children’s poll of favorite flowers in 1891.

State Shell
The Bay Scallop
is our state shell and comes in a variety of colors with about 17 to 20 ribs. The Bay Scallop lives in shallow waters, usually where eel grass is present, and can live up to 20 months.

State Muffin
The apple muffin was created for the Bear Road Elementary School children in North Syracuse, who were instrumental in making it the official state muffin.

State Bird
The once-prolific, red-breasted bluebird has been making a comeback from low numbers in the 1950s. Many people provide special nesting boxes along fence rows for bluebirds.

State Fish
Found in hundreds of lakes and ponds in the Adirondack Mountains and scattered in cool, clear streams throughout the state, native brook trout, called brookies or speckles, provide fine angling and the best of eating.

State Animal
To provide beaver pelts to European markets, fur traders settled in the early 1600s near the present capital at Albany to trade with Indians. Adult beavers are three to four feet long and weigh 40 to 50 pounds.

State Gem
The wine-red garnet, which is an eye appealing gem as well as a prized industrial abrasive, is the state gem.

State Fossil
During the Silurian Age (over 400 million years ago), Eurypterus Remipes, an extinct relative of the modern king crab and sea scorpion, crawled along the bottom of the shallow, brackish sea that extended from Buffalo to Schenectady and south to Poughkeepsie, roughly along the route of the New York State Thruway.

State Beverage
Milk contains vital nutrients that keep us healthy, and it is an important element for helping to develop strong bones and teeth. There are also many products that we all enjoy derived from milk including ice cream, butter, yogurt and cheese.

State Insect
Lady beetles
, also known as ladybird beetles or ladybugs, are beneficial insects which help control many pests that can destroy crops.

State Song
"I Love New York” Words and music by Steve Karmen
I love New York. (repeat three times) There isn’t another like it. No matter where you go. And nobody can compare it. It’s win and place and show. New York is special. New York is diff’rent ‘cause there’s no place else on earth quite like New York and that’s why I love New York. (repeat three times)

     Five days after the Declaration of Independence, the people of New York met in convention in Kingston to vote their support and form their own state government. Although their state was the scene of nearly a third of the battles fought in the American Revolution, and their major port and city was occupied, New Yorkers still managed to supply large quantities of food, clothing, lead and iron to General Washington, as well as to serve valiantly in the Continental Army. New Yorkers saw the christening of the American flag when the Stars and Stripes was first flown in battle at the defense of Ft. Stanwix in Rome.

     The Colony of New York became a state on April 20, 1777, with the adoption of its first constitution -- 12 years before the Federal Constitution. After the adoption of the Federal Constitution, New York City was chosen to be the nation’s first capital and was the site of the inauguration of George Washington as President on April 30, 1789.

     A number of presidents have been closely associated with the history of New York State, including Martin Van Buren, Millard Fillmore, Chester Arthur, Grover Cleveland, Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

     Elected officers of the state government, chosen for four-year terms, are the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General and Comptroller. Legislative power of the state is vested in two houses: the Senate, consisting of 61 members, and the Assembly, consisting of 150 members.

State Seal
     The first seal of the State of New York was created in 1777. It took the place of the Crown Seal, which was used when New York was a colony. The state seal that is used today was commissioned in 1882. It was the fifth time the seal was changed. The seal appears on the state flag, on printed material authorized by the state and in state buildings and offices. The state seal is kept in the custody of the Secretary of the State.

What the Seal Means
-- The American eagle is a symbol of strength, independence and freedom. The eagle is also one of our national symbols.

Globe -- The globe points to the Atlantic Ocean and North America, showing New York’s place in the world.

Sun -- The sun, with a smiling face, is seen rising over the three mountain ranges.

Mountains -- The three mountain ranges of New York State are shown. They are the Catskill, the Adirondack and the Allegheny mountains.

Boats -- A ship and a sloop are shown about to pass each other.

River -- The river represents New York’s great waterways and shows how commerce began in the state.

Lady Liberty -- Lady Liberty, on the left, was used on the state seal almost 100 years before the Statue of Liberty was built. She represents freedom for the people of New York. Held high on a staff in her right hand is a peasant cap, representing democratic rule by the people. Her left foot is stepping on a crown, representing the rejection of royalty.

Lady Justice -- Lady Justice, on the right, is blindfolded to make sure that she does not discriminate against anyone. The scales of justice in her left hand are balanced to give equal weight to both sides of all issues. The sword in her right hand represents the swift and powerful enforcement of the law.

Excelsior -- The motto, meaning, “ever upward,” is on a ribbon below the state seal.

     The total area of New York State is 49,576 square miles (47,939 land and 1,637 inland water). The geographic center of New York State is located in Madison County, approximately 12 miles south of Oneida and 26 miles southwest of Utica. There are three mountain ranges in New York State: Adirondack, Catskill and Allegheny.

The highest point in New York State is Mount Marcy, Essex County, in the Adirondacks -- 5,344 feet above sea level.

The highest point in the Catskill Mountain area is Slide Mountain, Ulster County -- 4,180 feet above sea level.

The Hudson River is 306 miles long, and drains an area of 13,370 square miles. Its average discharge is 21,500 cubic feet per second. Lake Tear of the Clouds in Hamilton County is the highest lake in the state -- 4,320 feet above sea level -- and is considered the source of the Hudson River.

There are 6,713 natural ponds, lakes and reservoirs of one acre or more, 76 with an area of one square mile or more. There are 1,745 square miles of inland water, including some 4,000 lakes, ponds and reservoirs. Oneida Lake is the largest lake completely within the state. Other prominent lakes are the Finger Lakes, Otsego Lake, Lake George, Lake Placid and Lake Champlain, which is 107 miles long. The state has 70,000 miles of rivers and streams: 127 miles of Atlantic Ocean coastline; 9,767 miles of shoreline which includes 8,778 miles of lake shoreline; 231 miles of shorefront on Long Island Sound; 548 miles of bayfront in the Long Island area, and 83 miles of shorefront on islands near Long Island.

There are 10 natural fresh-water lakes of 10 square miles or more. The largest, Lake Champlain in Clinton and Essex counties, covers a 490-square-mile area and includes islands that total about 55 square miles.

Lake Erie borders on New York State for an airline distance of 64 miles. Its surface area in the U.S. totals 5,002 square miles.

Lake Ontario forms the northern boundary of New York State for an airline distance of 146 miles, and the area in the U.S. is 3,033 square miles.

At the site of the Falls, the Niagara River spills 40 million gallons of water 180 feet downward each minute across a ragged ledge nearly two-thirds of a mile wide.

The New York State Barge Canal System is the longest internal waterway system in any state (800 miles or 1,280 kilometers) carrying over two million tons per year.

New York State has 62 counties, 62 cities, 931 towns and 557 villages.

Taughannock Falls in the Finger Lakes region is the highest falls at 215 feet.

New York is a world capital with the headquarters of the United Nations in New York City.

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