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New York State Symbols


Welcome to New York! Some of New York’s symbols are too closely associated with New York City, which is one of the creepiest cities on the planet. Take the nickname Empire State—please. And what do you think about New York’s official hymn, “Ode to Israel”? Doesn’t that seem a little weird, if not racist? (Continued below)

New York State Flag
Nicknames & Slogans
Nicknames The Empire State, Excelsior State, Knickerbocker State  
Slogan I Love New York 2009
Symbols of State
Motto Excelsior 1778
Song I Love New York 2009
Flower rose (Rosa) 1955
Tree sugar maple (Acer saccharum) 1956
Fruit apple (Malus) 1976
Bush lilac (Syringa vulgaris) 2006
Bird eastern bluebird (Sialia sialis) 1970
Animal beaver (Castor canadensis) 1975
Dog service dog 2015
Reptile common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina) 2006
Freshwater Fish brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) 1975
Marine or Saltwater Fish striped bass (Morone saxatilis) 2006
Insect nine-spotted ladybug (Coccinella novemnotata) 1989
Butterfly red-spotted purple or white admiral (Limenitis arthemis) 2008
Shell bay scallop (Argopecten irradians) 1988
Gem wine-red garnet 1969
Fossil † sea scorpion (Eurypterus remipes) 1984
Soil Honeoye (unofficial) Unofficial
Cultural Symbols
Food apple muffin 1987
Snack yogurt 2014
Beverage milk Redundant Symbol 1981
Sport baseball 2021
Hymn Here Rests in Honored Glory (aka Ode to Israel) 2018

However, if we get away from the Big Apple, we can find some more wholesome symbols, including the rose, sugar maple, and beaver. Like neighboring New Jersey, New York is represented by both the brook trout and striped bass, two of the most popular state fishes. Come to think of it, the sugar maple is the most popular state tree, while the beaver also represents distant Oregon (The Beaver State) as well as Canada.

More unique is New York’s state fossil, the sea scorpion. Only New York is represented by the common snapping turtle and bay scallop, though I’m not sure why snapping turtles are particularly associated with a state on the East Coast. Snapping turtles are a familiar sight in my native South Dakota.

New York shares its official butterfly, the beautiful red-spotted purple or white admiral, with Quebec. I don’t find New York’s state sport nearly as exciting, even if it is shrouded in conspiracy. Can you guess what it is?

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If you think state flags and flowers are nothing more than trivia, guess again. A thorough exploration of the more than 1,500 items adopted as state symbols embraces geography, history, and psychology.

You have found the best state symbols website, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg. The introduction above is adapted from Geobop’s State Symbols and My State Symbols Book, by far the biggest and most detailed state symbols references ever. You can learn still more about the symbols of the 50 states in the books Flag Quest and Grading the States. (Learn more about them here.)

After you spend some time exploring your favorite state’s symbols, you can come back here and tell us what you think about them.

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