STATE OF NEW YORK, USA

Geography:

New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. 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 north and west, and Quebec to the north. The state of New York is often referred to as New York State to distinguish it from the city of New York.

New York City, with a population of over 8.1 million, is the most populous city in the United States. It is known for its status as a financial, cultural, transportation, and manufacturing center, and for its history as a gateway for immigration to the United States. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, it is also a destination of choice for many foreign visitors. Both the state and city were named for the 17th century Duke of York, James Stuart, future James II and VII of England and Scotland.

New York covers 54,556 square miles (141,300 km2) and ranks as the 27th largest state by size. The Great Appalachian Valley dominates eastern New York, while Lake Champlain is the chief northern feature of the valley, which also includes the Hudson River flowing southward to the Atlantic Ocean. The rugged Adirondack Mountains, with vast tracts of wilderness, lie west of the valley.

Most of the southern part of the state is on the Allegheny Plateau, which rises from the southeast to the Catskill Mountains. The western section of the state is drained by the Allegheny River and rivers of the Susquehanna and Delaware systems. The Delaware River Basin Compact, signed in 1961 by New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and the federal government, regulates the utilization of water of the Delaware system. The highest elevation in New York is Mount Marcy in the Adirondacks.

New York's borders touch (clockwise from the west) two Great Lakes (Erie and Ontario, which are connected by the Niagara River); the provinces of Ontario and Quebec in Canada; Lake Champlain; three New England states (Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut); the Atlantic Ocean, and two Mid-Atlantic States, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. In addition, Rhode Island shares a water border with New York. New York is the only state that touches both the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean, and is the second-largest of the original Thirteen Colonies.

In contrast with New York City's urban atmosphere, the vast majority of the state is dominated by farms, forests, rivers, mountains, and lakes. New York's Adirondack Park is the largest state park in the United States. It is larger than the Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Glacier and Olympic National Parks combined. New York established the first state park in the United States at Niagara Falls in 1885. Niagara Falls, on the Niagara River as it flows from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario, is a popular attraction.

The Hudson River begins at Lake Tear of the Clouds and flows south through the eastern part of the state without draining Lakes George or Champlain. Lake George empties at its north end into Lake Champlain, whose northern end extends into Canada, where it drains into the Richelieu and then the St. Lawrence Rivers. Four of New York City's five boroughs are on three islands at the mouth of the Hudson River: Manhattan Island; Staten Island; and Long Island, which contains Brooklyn and Queens on its western end.

Upstate and downstate are often used informally to distinguish New York City or its greater metropolitan area from the rest of New York state. The placement of a boundary between the two is a matter of great contention. Unofficial and loosely defined regions of Upstate New York include the Southern Tier, which often includes the counties along the border with Pennsylvania, and the North Country, which can mean anything from the strip along the Canadian border to everything north of the Mohawk River.

New York has many state parks and two major forest preserves. Adirondack Park, roughly the size of the state of Vermont and the largest state park in the United States, was established in 1892 and given state constitutional protection to remain "forever wild" in 1894. The thinking that led to the creation of the Park first appeared in George Perkins Marsh's Man and Nature, published in 1864. Marsh argued that deforestation could lead to desertification; referring to the clearing of once-lush lands surrounding the Mediterranean, he asserted "the operation of causes set in action by man has brought the face of the earth to a desolation almost as complete as that of the moon."

The Catskill Park was protected in legislation passed in 1885, which declared that its land was to be conserved and never put up for sale or lease. Consisting of 700,000 acres (2,800 km2) of land, the park is a habitat for bobcats, minks and fishers. There are some 400 black bears living in the region. The state operates numerous campgrounds and there are over 300 miles (480 km) of multi-use trails in the Park.

The Montauk Point State Park boasts the 1797 Montauk Lighthouse, commissioned under President George Washington, which is a major tourist attraction on the easternmost tip of Long Island. Hither Hills park offers camping and is a popular destination with surfcasting sport fishermen.

There are 62 cities in New York. The largest city in the state and the most populous city in the United States is New York City, which comprises five counties, the Bronx, New York (Manhattan), Queens, Kings (Brooklyn), and Richmond (Staten Island). New York City is home to more than two-fifths of the state's population. The smallest city is Sherrill, New York, located just west of the Town of Vernon in Oneida County. Albany is the state capital, and the Town of Hempstead is the civil township with the largest population. If it were a city, it would be the second largest in the state with over 700,000 residents.

The southern tip of New York State—New York City, its suburbs including Long Island, the southern portion of the Hudson Valley, and most of northern New Jersey—can be considered to form the central core of the Northeast megalopolis", a super-city stretching from the northern suburbs of Boston south to the Virginia suburbs of Washington D.C..

History:

During the 17th century, Dutch trading posts established for the trade of pelts from the Lenape, Iroquois and other indigenous peoples expanded into the colony of New Netherland. The first of these trading posts were Fort Nassau (1614, near present-day Albany); Fort Orange (1624, on the Hudson River just south of the current city of Albany and created to replace Fort Nassau), developing into settlement Beverwijck (1647), and into what became Albany; Fort Amsterdam (1625, to develop into the town New Amsterdam which is present-day New York City); and Esopus, (1653, now Kingston). The success of the patroonship of Rensselaerswyck (1630), which surrounded Albany and lasted until the mid 19th century, was also a key factor in the early success of the colony. The British captured the colony during the Second Anglo-Dutch War and governed it as the Province of New York.

The Sons of Liberty were organized in New York City during the 1760s, largely in response to the oppressive Stamp Act passed by the British Parliament in 1765. The Stamp Act Congress met in the city on October 19 of that year: a gathering of representatives from across the Thirteen Colonies that set the stage for the Continental Congress to follow. The Stamp Act Congress resulted in the Declaration of Rights and Grievances, which was the first written expression by representatives of the Americans of many of the rights and complaints later expressed in the United States Declaration of Independence, including the right to representative government.

The Capture of Fort Ticonderoga provided the cannon and gunpowder necessary to force a British withdrawal from the Siege of Boston in 1775. New York endorsed the Declaration of Independence on July 9, 1776. The New York state constitution was framed by a convention which assembled at White Plains, New York on July 10, 1776, and after repeated adjournments and changes of location, terminated its labors at Kingston, New York on Sunday evening, April 20, 1777, when the new constitution drafted by John Jay was adopted with but one dissenting vote. It was not submitted to the people for ratification. On July 30, 1777, George Clinton was inaugurated as the first Governor of New York at Kingston.

The first major battle of the American Revolutionary War after independence was declared—and the largest battle of the entire war—was fought in New York at the Battle of Long Island (a.k.a Battle of Brooklyn) in August of 1776. British victory made New York City their military and political base of operations in North America for the duration of the conflict, and consequently the center of attention for General George Washington's intelligence network.

The notorious British prison ships of Wallabout Bay saw more American combatants die of intentional neglect than were killed in combat in every battle of the war, combined. The first of two major British armies were captured by the Continental Army at the Battle of Saratoga in 1777, influencing France to ally with the revolutionaries.

In an attempt to retain their sovereignty and remain an independent nation positioned between the new United States and British North America, four of the Iroquois nations fought on the side of the British; only the Oneidas and their dependents the Tuscaroras allied themselves to the Americans. The Sullivan Expedition of 1778 and 1779 destroyed nearly 50 Iroquois villages and adjacent croplands, forcing many refugees to British-held Niagara. As allies of the British, the Iroquois were resettled in Canada after the war. In the treaty settlement, the British ceded most Indian lands to the new United States. Because New York made treaty with the Iroquois without getting Congressional approval, some of the land purchases are the subject of modern-day claims by the individual tribes. More than 5 million acres (20,000 km2) of former Iroquois territory was put up for sale in the years after the Revolutionary War, leading to rapid development in upstate New York. As per the Treaty of Paris, the last vestige of British authority in the former Thirteen Colonies—their troops in New York City—departed in 1783, which was long afterwards celebrated as Evacuation Day.

Following heated debate, which included the publication of the now quintessential constitutional interpretation—the Federalist Papers—as a series of installments in New York City newspapers, New York was the 11th state to ratify the United States Constitution, on July 26, 1788.

Transportation in western New York was difficult before canals were built in the early part of the 19th century. The Hudson and Mohawk Rivers could be navigated only as far as Central New York. While the St. Lawrence River could be navigated to Lake Ontario, the way westward to the other Great Lakes was blocked by Niagara Falls, and so the only route to western New York was over land.

Governor DeWitt Clinton strongly advocated building a canal to connect the Hudson River with Lake Erie, and thus all the Great Lakes. Work commenced in 1817, and the Erie Canal was finished in 1825. It was considered an engineering marvel. Packet boats traveled up and down the canal with sightseers and visitors on board. The canal opened up vast areas of New York to commerce and settlement. It enabled Great Lakes port cities such as Buffalo and Rochester to grow and prosper. It also connected the burgeoning agricultural production of the Midwest and shipping on the Great Lakes, with the port of New York City. Improving transportation, it enabled additional population migration to territories west of New York.

Ellis Island was the main facility for immigrants, entering the United States in the late 19th century to the mid 20th century. The facility operated from January 1, 1892, until November 12, 1954. It is owned by the Federal government and is now part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument, under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service. It is situated in New York Harbor, between two states and cities, Jersey City, New Jersey and New York City, New York.

More than 12 million immigrants passed through Ellis Island, between 1892 and 1954. After 1924, when the National Origins Act was passed, the only immigrants to pass through there were displaced persons or war refugees. Today, over 100 million Americans can trace their ancestry to the immigrants, who first arrived in America through the island, before dispersing to points all over the country. Ellis Island was the subject of a border dispute between New York State and New Jersey.

The Statue of Liberty was a gift from France to the United States to mark the Centennial of the American Declaration of Independence. The idea of giving a colossal representation of republican virtues to a "sister" republic, across the sea, served as a focus for the republican cause against other politicians. The Statue of Liberty was dedicated in New York Harbor on October 28, 1886.

Liberty Island closed on September 11, 2001; the island reopened in December, the monument reopened on August 3, 2004, but the statue remained closed until the summer of 2009. The National Park Service claims that the statue is not shut because of a terrorist threat, but principally because of a long list of fire regulation contraventions, including inadequate evacuation procedures. The museum and ten-story pedestal are open for visitors, but are only accessible if visitors have a "Monument Access Pass", which is a reservation that visitors must make in advance of their visit and pick up before boarding the ferry. There are a maximum of 3000 passes available each day, with a total of 15,000 visitors to the island daily. The interior of the statue remains closed, although a glass ceiling in the pedestal allows for views of Gustave Eiffel's iron framework of Lady Liberty.

Government:

Under its present constitution (adopted in 1938), New York is governed by the same three branches that govern all fifty states of the United States: the executive branch, consisting of the Governor of New York and the other independently elected constitutional officers; the legislative branch, consisting of the bicameral New York State Legislature (senate and assembly); and the judicial branch, consisting of the state's highest court, the New York Court of Appeals, and lower courts. The state has two U.S. senators, 29 members in the United States House of Representatives, and 31 electoral votes in national presidential elections (a drop from its 47 votes during the 1940s).

New York's capital is Albany. The state's subordinate political units are its 62 counties. Other officially incorporated governmental units are towns, cities, and villages. New York has more than 4,200 local governments that take one of these forms. About 52% of all revenue raised by local governments in the state is raised solely by the government of New York City, which is the largest municipal government in the United States, whereas New York City houses only 42% of the state population.

The state has a strong imbalance of payments with the federal government. New York State receives 82 cents in services for every $1 it sends in taxes to the federal government in Washington. The state ranks near the bottom, in 42nd place, in federal spending per tax dollar.

Many of New York's public services are carried out by public benefit corporations, frequently called authorities or development corporations. Well known public benefit corporations in New York include the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which oversees New York City's public transportation system, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, a bi-state transportation infrastructure agency. New York's legal system is explicitly based upon English common Law.

As of the 2000 census and the redistricting for the 2002 elections, the state has 29 members in the United States House of Representatives, and two U.S. senators. Two seats in the House will be lost in 2013 due to a decline in the state's rate of population growth. New York has 31 electoral votes in national presidential elections (a drop from its 47 votes during the 1940s).

New York is represented by Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand in the United States Senate and has 29 representatives to the United States House of Representatives, behind California's 53 congressional districts and Texas' 32 congressional districts.

Capital punishment was reintroduced in 1995 under the Pataki administration but the statute was declared unconstitutional in 2004, when the New York Court of Appeals ruled in People v. LaValle that it violated the state constitution. The remaining death sentence was commuted by the court to life imprisonment in 2007, in People v. John Taylor, and the death row was disestablished in 2008, under executive order from Governor Paterson. No execution has taken place in New York since 1963. Legislative efforts to amend the statute have failed, and death sentences are no longer sought at the state level, though certain crimes that fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government are subject to the federal death penalty.

In the last few decades, New York State has generally supported candidates belonging to the Democratic Party in national elections. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama won New York State by 25 percentage points in 2008, a bigger margin than John Kerry in 2004. New York City is a major Democratic stronghold with liberal politics. Many of the state's other urban areas, such as Albany, Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse are also Democratic. Rural upstate New York, however, is generally more conservative than the cities and tends to favor Republicans. Heavily populated Suburban areas such as Westchester County and Long Island have swung between the major parties over the past 25 years, but more often than not support Democrats.

Same-sex marriages in New York were legalized on June 24, 2011 and were authorized to take place beginning 30 days thereafter. New York City is the most important source of political fund-raising in the United States for both major parties. Four of the top five zip codes in the nation for political contributions are in Manhattan. The top zip code, 10021 on the Upper East Side, generated the most money for the 2000 presidential campaigns of both George W. Bush and Al Gore.

Education:

The University of the State of New York oversees all public primary, middle-level, and secondary education in the state, while the New York City Department of Education manages the public school system in New York City. In 1894, reflecting general racial discrimination, the state passed a law that allowed communities to set up schools for children of African-American descent. In 1900, the state passed another law requiring integrated schools.

At the college level, the statewide public university system is the State University of New York (SUNY). The City University of New York (CUNY) is the public university system of New York City. The SUNY system consists of 64 community colleges, technical colleges, undergraduate colleges and universities. The four university centers are University at Albany, Binghamton University, University at Buffalo and Stony Brook University.

In addition there are many notable private universities, including the oldest Catholic institution in the Northeast, Fordham University. New York is home to both Columbia University in New York City and Cornell University in Ithaca, making it the only state to contain more than one Ivy League school. West Point, the service academy of the U.S. Army is located just south of Newburgh, on the banks of the Hudson River. During the 2007–2008 school year, New York spent more per pupil on public education than any other state.

Religion:

Catholics comprise more than 40% of the population in New York. Protestants are 30% of the population, Jews 8.4%, Muslims 3.5%, Buddhists 1%, and 13% claim no religious affiliation. The largest Protestant denominations are the United Methodist Church with 403,362; the American Baptist Churches USA with 203,297; and the Episcopal Church with 201,797 adherents.

Sports:

New York hosted the 1980 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid, the Games known for the USA–USSR hockey game dubbed the "Miracle on Ice" in which a group of American college students and amateurs defeated the heavily favored Soviet national ice hockey team 4–3 and went on to win the gold medal against Finland. Lake Placid also hosted the 1932 Winter Olympics. Along with St. Moritz, Switzerland and Innsbruck, Austria, it is one of the three places to have twice hosted the Winter Olympic Games.

New York is the home of one National Football League team, the Buffalo Bills (based in the suburb of Orchard Park). Although the New York Giants and New York Jets represent the New York metropolitan area and were previously located in New York City, they play in New Meadowlands Stadium, located in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Meadowlands stadium will host Super Bowl XLVIII in 2014. There has been much controversy over several proposals for a new New York Jets football stadium. The owners of the New York Jets were willing to split the $1.5 billion cost of building a new football stadium over Manhattan's West Side rail yards, but the proposal never came to fruition.

New York also has two Major League Baseball teams, the New York Yankees (based in the Bronx) and the New York Mets (based in Queens). New York is home to three National Hockey League franchises: the New York Rangers in Manhattan, the New York Islanders on Long Island and the Buffalo Sabres in Buffalo. New York has a National Basketball Association team, the New York Knicks, in Manhattan. The former New York Nets from 1968 to 1977 is now titled as a New Jersey team; however, plans to relocate to New York City are in the works. There are a variety of minor league teams that can be found all through the State of New York, such as the Long Island Ducks.

Agriculture:

In terms of revenue generated, New York's top five agricultural products are dairy products, greenhouse and nursery products, apples, cattle and calves, and hay.

Livestock and livestock products account for about 2/3 of New York's agricultural income. Leading the way in this sector is the production of milk. New York is a leading producer (#3) of dairy products. Beef cattle and retired dairy cattle are also important. Other livestock products are eggs, poultry, hogs and sheep.

New York is a leading fruit and vegetable producer in the eastern part of the country. Vegetable farms produce cabbages, cucumbers, green peas, onions, snap beans, squash, sweet corn and tomatoes. The state's leading fruit crops are apples, followed by grapes. New York is a leading (#2) apple producing state. Other important fruit crops are cherries and peaches. The big field crops are hay and corn, used as feed for New York's livestock. The important greenhouse products of the state are flowers. Other agricultural products are maple syrup, oats, potatoes, soybeans and wheat.

Manufacturing:

Manufacturers add value to raw products by creating manufactured items. For example, cotton cloth becomes more valuable than a boll of cotton through manufacturing processes.

New York is a leading manufacturing state producing a variety of goods from pharmaceuticals to machinery to computer chips. Ranking first is the manufacture of chemicals (Pharmaceuticals, photographic chemicals, film and paper), though the popularity of digital photography is taking its toll. Other important chemical products are industrial chemicals, soaps, paint, plastics and agricultural pesticides and fertilizer.

Second, behind production of chemicals, is the manufacture of machinery including industrial equipment, photographic and photocopying equipment and refrigeration equipment.

Computer and electronic products rank third in the manufacturing industry. The important products in this sector are computer components and microchips, communications equipment, surveillance equipment and navigation equipment.

Mining:

New York's most valuable mined products are stone (limestone crushed for road construction), salt and sand and gravel. New York is the only state that produces wollastonite, used in heat-resistent ceramics and as filler for paints. New York ranks among the leading producers of garnets and zinc in the country. Other mined products include clays, lead, natural gas, peat, silver and talc.

Economy:

New York's gross state product in 2010 was $1.16 trillion, ranking third in size behind the larger states of California and Texas. If New York were an independent nation, it would rank as the 16th largest economy in the world behind Turkey. Its 2007 per capita personal income was $46,364, placing it sixth in the nation behind Maryland, and eighth in the world behind Ireland. New York's agricultural outputs are dairy products, cattle and other livestock, vegetables, nursery stock, and apples. Its industrial outputs are printing and publishing, scientific instruments, electric equipment, machinery, chemical products, and tourism.

A recent review by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found 13 states, including several of the nation's largest, face budget shortfalls for FY2009. New York faces a deficit that could be as large as $4.3 billion. New York exports a wide variety of goods such as foodstuffs, commodities, minerals, computers and electronics, cut diamonds, and automobile parts. In 2007, the state exported a total of $71.1 billion worth of goods, with the five largest foreign export markets being Canada ($15 billion), United Kingdom ($6 billion), Switzerland ($5.9 billion), Israel ($4.9 billion), and Hong Kong ($3.4 billion). New York's largest imports are oil, gold, aluminum, natural gas, electricity, rough diamonds, and lumber.

Canada is a very important economic partner for the state. 21% of the state's total worldwide exports went to Canada in 2007. Tourism from the north is also a large part of the economy. Canadians spent US$487 million in 2004 while visiting the state. New York City is the leading center of banking, finance and communication in the United States and is the location of the New York Stock Exchange, the largest stock exchange in the world by dollar volume. Many of the world's largest corporations are based in the city.

The state also has a large manufacturing sector that includes printing and the production of garments, furs, railroad equipment and bus line vehicles. Many of these industries are concentrated in upstate regions. Albany and the Hudson Valley are major centers of nanotechnology and microchip manufacturing, while the Rochester area is important in photographic equipment and imaging.

New York is a major agricultural producer, ranking among the top five states for agricultural products such as dairy, apples, cherries, cabbage, potatoes, onions, maple syrup and many others. The state is the largest producer of cabbage in the U.S. The state has about a quarter of its land in farms and produced US$3.4 billion in agricultural products in 2001. The south shore of Lake Ontario provides the right mix of soils and microclimate for many apple, cherry, plum, pear and peach orchards. Apples are also grown in the Hudson Valley and near Lake Champlain.

New York is the nation's third-largest grape-producing state, behind California, and second-largest wine producer by volume. The south shore of Lake Erie and the southern Finger Lakes hillsides have many vineyards. In addition, the North Fork of Long Island developed vineyards, production and visitors' facilities in the last three decades of the 20th century. In 2004, New York's wine and grape industry brought US$6 billion into the state economy.

The state has 30,000 acres (120 km2) of vineyards, 212 wineries, and produced 200 million bottles of wine in 2004. A moderately sized saltwater commercial fishery is located along the Atlantic side of Long Island. The principal catches by value are clams, lobsters, squid, and flounder. These areas of the economy have been increasing as environmental protection has led to an increase in ocean wildlife. As of January 2010, the state's unemployment rate was 8.8%.

Transportation:

New York has one of the most extensive and one of the oldest transportation infrastructures in the country. Engineering difficulties because of the terrain of the state and the unique issues of the city brought on by urban crowding have had to be overcome since the state was young. Population expansion of the state generally followed the path of the early waterways, first the Hudson River and then the Erie Canal. Today, railroad lines and the New York State Thruway follow the same general route. The New York State Department of Transportation is often criticized for how they maintain the roads of the state in certain areas and for the fact that the tolls collected along the roadway have long passed their original purpose. Until 2006, tolls were collected on the Thruway within The City of Buffalo. They were dropped late in 2006 during the campaign for Governor (both candidates called for their removal).

In addition to New York City's famous mass transit subway, four suburban commuter railroad systems enter and leave the city: the Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Railroad, Port Authority Trans-Hudson, and five of New Jersey Transit's rail lines. Many other cities have urban and regional public transportation. In Buffalo, the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority runs the Buffalo Metro Rail light-rail system; in Rochester, the Rochester Subway operated from 1927 until 1956 but has fallen into disuse.

The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (NYSDMV or DMV) is the governmental agency responsible for registering and inspecting automobiles and other motor vehicles as well as licensing drivers in the State of New York. As of 2008, the NYSDMV has 11,284,546 drivers licenses on file and 10,697,644 vehicle registrations in force. All gasoline powered vehicles registered in New York State must get an emissions inspection every 12 months. Diesel powered vehicles with a Gross Weight Rating over 8 500 lb that are registered in the NY Metropolitan Area must get an annual emissions inspection. All vehicles registered in NYS must get an annual safety inspection.

Portions of the transportation system are intermodal, allowing travelers to easily switch from one mode of transportation to another. One of the most notable examples is AirTrain JFK which allows rail passengers to travel directly to terminals at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

In May 2009 the New York City Department of Transportation under the control of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan banned cars from Times Square. The move designed to reduce pollution and pedestrian accidents looks likely to be implemented permantly, and will last at least until the end of the year.

Weather:

In general, New York has a humid continental climate, though under the Köppen climate classification, New York City has a humid subtropical climate. Weather in New York is heavily influenced by two continental air masses: a warm, humid one from the southwest and a cold, dry one from the northwest.

The winters are long and cold in the Plateau Divisions of the state. In the majority of winter seasons, a temperature of −13 °F (−25 °C) or lower can be expected in the northern highlands (Northern Plateau) and 5 °F (−15 °C) or colder in the southwestern and east-central highlands (Southern Plateau). The summer climate is cool in the Adirondacks, Catskills and higher elevations of the Southern Plateau.

The New York City/Long Island area and lower portions of the Hudson Valley have rather warm summers by comparison, with some periods of high, uncomfortable humidity. The remainder of New York State enjoys pleasantly warm summers, marred by only occasional, brief intervals of sultry conditions. Summer daytime temperatures usually range from the upper 70s to mid 80s °F (25 to 30 °C), over much of the state.

New York ranks 46th among the 50 states in the amount of greenhouse gases generated per person. This relative efficiency is primarily due to the state's higher rate of mass transit use.

Visiting in New York:

If you are planning to visit in New York, winter is the most difficult driving season. Not only do you have snow and ice to deal with, but there are fewer hours of daylight as well. Before winter weather arrives, make sure your vehicle is in good condition, especially the tires. Make sure you've got good snow tires, and put them on early. Try not to get caught without them in the first snowfall. Never combine radial and non-radial tires on the same vehicle. On front-wheel drive cars, it's best to put snow tires or "all-season" tires on all four wheels, not just the front.

If you must drive, clear the ice and snow from your vehicle, all windows and windshield wipers. Be sure the windshield washer reservoir is adequately filled with a freeze-resistant cleaning solution. Drive slowly. Even if your vehicle has good traction in ice and snow, other drivers will be traveling cautiously. Don't disrupt the flow of traffic by driving faster than everyone else. In a rear-wheel drive vehicle, you can usually feel a loss of traction or the beginning of a skid. There may be no such warning in a front-wheel drive, however. Front-wheel drives do handle better in ice and snow, but they do not have flawless traction, and skids can occur unexpectedly. Don't let the better feel and handling of a front-wheel drive car cause you to drive faster than you should.

Despite a popular misconception, the best approach to recovering from a skid is the same for front and rear-wheel drive vehicles. If your rear wheels start to skid: Turn the steering wheel in the direction you want the front wheels to go. If your rear wheels are sliding left, steer left. If they're sliding right, steer right. If your rear wheels start sliding the other way as you recover, ease the steering wheel toward that side. You might have to steer left and right a few times to get your vehicle completely under control. If your car has an anti-lock braking system (ABS), keep your foot on the pedal. If not, pump the pedal gently, pumping more rapidly as your car slows down. Braking hard with non-anti-lock brakes will make the skid worse.

If your front wheels skid: Take your foot off the gas and shift to neutral, but don't try to steer immediately. As the wheels skid sideways, they will slow the vehicle and traction will return. As it does, steer in the direction you want to go. Then put the transmission in "drive" or release the clutch, and accelerate gently.

To avoid skids, brake carefully and gently on snow or ice. "Squeeze" your brakes in slow, steady strokes. Allow the wheels to keep rolling. If they start to lock up, ease off the brake pedal. As you slow down, you may also want to shift into a lower gear. When sleet, freezing rain or snow start to fall, remember that bridges, ramps, and overpasses are likely to freeze first. Also be aware that slippery spots may still remain after road crews have cleared the highways.

If you get stuck: Do not spin your wheels. This will only dig you in deeper. Turn your wheels from side to side a few times to push snow out of the way. Use a light touch on the gas, to ease your car out. Use a shovel to clear snow away from the wheels and the underside of the car. Pour sand, kitty litter, gravel or salt in the path of the wheels, to help get traction. Try rocking the vehicle. (Check your owner's manual first — it can damage the transmission on some vehicles.) Shift from forward to reverse, and back again. Each time you're in gear, give a light touch on the gas until the vehicle gets going.

If You Become Stranded: Do not leave your car unless you know exactly where you are, how far it is to possible help, and are certain you will improve your situation. To attract attention, light two flares and place one at each end of the car a safe distance away. Hang a brightly colored cloth from your antenna. If you are sure the car's exhaust pipe is not blocked, run the engine and heater for about 10 minutes every hour or so depending upon the amount of gas in the tank. To protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia use the woolen items and blankets to keep warm. Keep at least one window open slightly. Heavy snow and ice can seal a car shut. Eat a hard candy to keep your mouth moist.

In New York, drivers may not use a portable electronic device while operating a vehicle in motion. Portable electronic devices include hand-held cell phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), laptop computers, pagers, personal messaging devices, or electronic games. Drivers may not take, view, or transmit images; play games; or compose, send, read, view, access, browse, transmit, save, or retrieve email messages, text messages, or other electronic data.

A driver who holds an electronic device "in a conspicuous manner" while driving will be presumed to be using it. However, the driver can rebut this presumption if he or she has evidence that the device was not in use at the time. The law includes an exception for use of a portable electronic device in an emergency. Violations of the law are punishable by a fine of $150.

This is currently a "secondary enforcement" law, which means it can be enforced only if the driver has committed another moving violation. The New York legislature is currently considering a bill (Senate Bill 998) that would make texting while driving a primary enforcement law, for which officers could stop drivers even if they hadn't broken any other traffic rules.

New York also prohibits drivers from using hand-held cell phones while driving. Drivers may use hands-free devices, however. The cell phone law presumes that a driver who holds a phone near his or her ear while driving is "using" the phone. Like the texting ban, this law allows the driver to present evidence that he or she was not actually using the phone at the time.

The cell phone law includes an exception for emergency calls. The penalty for violating this provision is a fine of $100. Unlike the texting ban, this is a primary enforcement law, which means officers can pull drivers over and cite them for using a cell phone, even if the driver hasn't committed another moving violation.

If you have a plan to visit in New York City, it is advisable not to drive in New York City if possible. If you cannot avoid to drive in New York City, please drive carefully as much as you can. The following tips for driving in New York City will help you save on parking, avoid getting tickets and make driving easier and safer if you're unfamiliar with driving in New York City.

Don't Drive in New York City. Most visitors to New York City will be better served by taking a train, bus or plane into New York City. Once you're in New York City, most people find that they don't need a car, because you can easily take taxis or the subway to get where you're going. The cost of parking your car adds up quickly, especially if you'll be visiting for several days, and driving your own car around New York City rarely makes sense.

No Turn on Red. If you have still decided to drive in New York City, you should be aware that unlike nearly every other place in the U.S., you cannot make a right on red (except in the rare instances where there is a sign indicating you can).

Pay Attention to Signs. There are many major avenues where you can't make a left turn during certain hours, so keep an eye out for signs. These rules are designed to limit congestion at busy intersections, and the police will ticket you if you get caught making an illegal turn.

Watch out for Pedestrians. People are everywhere in New York City. While it might be illegal to jaywalk, people still do it, so keep your eyes out for people wherever you are driving, whether you're near a crosswalk or not.

Bring Quarters. If you ever want to park at a meter, you'll be very glad to have a (large) stash of quarters in your car with you. Some meters charge 25 cents/10 minutes, so it can add up quickly. Most ordinary parking meters around New York City will only accept quarters (though some muni-meters are starting to accept credit cards and New York City Parking Cards. In most cases if you want to get quarters from a store nearby, you're going to have to buy something -- and even then they might only be willing to give you an extra dollar or so in quarters. You can also often go to a bank or grocery store (try the customer service desk) in New York City to stock up on quarters.

Plan for Parking. It's amazing how one parking garage can charge one rate and across the street the price will be entirely different. The best way to plan for parking in New York City is to go to http://nyc.bestparking.com. You can put in the arrival and departure date and times, as well as location. The website gives many options for parking with prices. Be sure to write down the street address of the lot you pick, because there are often lots right next to each other and the prices can differ wildly.

Don't Be Tricked by Parking Garage Signs. At many parking garages they'll have a sign that says something like "$5 All Day" but in tiny print, it says "up to half an hour." Depending on where you are, you'll find that rates often "top out" after just a few hours, so parking somewhere for 3 hours costs the same as parking there for 8 hours. Don't be afraid to ask the parking attendant about rates and whether they accept credit cards for payment (some parking lots are cash-only).

Pay Attention to Street Signs. When you see an empty block, there is often a good reason that people aren't parked there. Whether it's street cleaning or a loading zone, street parking in Manhattan is at a premium, so it's rare to see many spots available and that should tip you off to pay special attention to the parking rules posted on street signs. There are even meters where you can't park for several hours a day (often during rush hour) so even parking at (& paying) a meter doesn't give you a free pass.

Stay Away from Fire Hydrants and Cross Walks. You need to stay 15 feet away from fire hydrants when you park on the street. And they will ticket (or tow you) if you're parked within 15 feet of the fire hydrant. For crosswalks, make sure your tires are located entirely outside of the crosswalk markings or you run the risk of getting a ticket.

Don't Get Towed. It's way cheaper to pay for (often overpriced) parking in a lot than to risk getting your car towed. Not only are the lots where they tow your car inconveniently located (sometimes they'll even tow your car to Brooklyn even though it's parked in Manhattan), they charge more than $100/day to "store" your car on top of whatever the ticket you got that caused you to be towed in the first place, so it gets expensive really quickly. Also, they're often not open on weekends and in the evening, so it can really mess up your plans if you've got to spend another night in New York City so you can get your car back.

Parking Tickets Happen 24/7. Whether it's the middle of the night or a Sunday afternoon, if you park illegally, you are very likely to get a ticket. If you are running late and your parking meter runs out, there's also a strong likelihood you'll get a ticket, so give yourself plenty of time on the meter and be sure to make it back to your car before your meter runs out.

Remember Where You Parked Your Car. If you park in a garage, the claim ticket should have the address of the garage on it, but if you're parked on the street, it can be tough to remember exactly where you parked after a long day in New York City. Write down the address and cross streets where you've parked, send yourself a text message or leave yourself a voice mail to help you remember where your car is parked. What should you do if you can't find your car in New York City and think it's been towed? Call 311. With your license plate, the operator can quickly check the database to let you know where your car has been towed.

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