List of New York state symbols

The location of the state of New York in the United States of America

This is a list of symbols of the state of New York in the United States. The majority of the state symbols are officially listed in the New York Consolidated Laws in Article 6, Sections 70 through 87.[1] The symbols are recognized by these laws and were signed into law by the governor of New York.

The oldest symbols, the state flag and the state arms, were adopted in 1778, and the most recent additions to the list, the snapping turtle and lilac bush, were added in 2006. The origin of the state motto dates back to 1784. During a tour of the state's harbors, waterways, and fertile interior, George Washington referred to New York as the "Seat of Empire". The term "The Big Apple" was coined by jazz musicians of the 1930s who used the slang expression "apple" when referring to any city.

The state insect took nine years to become official. In 1980, fifth grader Kristina Savoca sent a letter - along with a petition bearing 152 signatures - to New York State Assemblyman Robert C. Wertz, urging him to introduce legislation designating the lady beetle as the official state insect. The proposal languished for a number of years, passing in the Assembly but not being considered in the Senate. Approval finally came in 1989, after Cornell University entomologists suggested that Wertz propose the nine-spotted lady beetle (Coccinella novemnotata, sometimes abbreviated to C-9) as the state insect because it was a native lady beetle.

Type Symbol Year Image
Flag Flag of New York 1778[2]
Seal Seal of New York 1778[2]
Coat of arms The Coat of Arms of New York
Motto Excelsior (Ever upward) 1784[3]
Nickname The Empire State 1784[3]
Slogan "I Love New York" (official) 1977[4]


Type Symbol Year Image
Butterfly Red-spotted purple/white admiral
Limenitis arthemis
Bird Eastern bluebird
Sialia sialis
Mammal Beaver
Castor canadensis
Reptile Snapping turtle
Chelydra serpentina
Freshwater fish Brook trout
Salvelinus fontinalis
Salt water fish Striped bass
Morone saxatilis
Insect Nine-spotted ladybug
Coccinella novemnotata
Tree Sugar maple
Acer saccharum
Bush Lilac bush
Syringa vulgaris
Flower Rose 1955[14]


Type Symbol Year Image
Gemstone Garnet 1969[15]
Fossil Sea scorpion
Eurypterus remipes
Shell Scallop
Argopecten irradians


Type Symbol Year Image
Beverage Milk 1981[11]
Fruit Apple 1976[17]
Muffin Apple muffin 1987[11]

See also


  1. "New York State Information". 2004-08-18. Retrieved 2008-10-15.
  2. 1 2 "New York State Flag and Great Seal of the State of New York". New York State Library. 2008-03-31. Retrieved 2008-10-15.
  3. 1 2 "New York State Symbols". New York State Department of Economic Development. 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-15.
  4. "I (love) NY". New York State Library. 2007-03-21. Retrieved 2008-10-15.
  5. Archived April 4, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  6. "New York State Bird – Eastern Bluebird". New York State Library. 2002-07-01. Retrieved 2008-10-15.
  7. "New York State Animal – Beaver". New York State Library. 2001-01-29. Retrieved 2008-10-15.
  8. 1 2 "More New York State Emblems: State Beverage, Muffin, Shell, Insect". New York State Library. 2000-12-22. Archived from the original on October 8, 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-15.
  9. "New York State Reptile". State Symbols USA. Retrieved 2008-10-15.
  10. 1 2 "State symbols and emblems". Net State. 2008-03-29. Retrieved 2008-10-15.
  11. 1 2 3 4 "New York State Symbols". New York State Department of Economic Development. 2007. Retrieved 2008-10-15.
  12. "New York State Tree – Sugar Maple". New York State Library. 1997-06-16. Retrieved 2008-10-15.
  13. "New York State Bush". State Symbols USA. Retrieved 2008-10-15.
  14. "New York State Flower – Rose". New York State Library. 1997-06-16. Retrieved 2008-10-15.
  15. "New York State Gem- Garnet". New York State Library. 1997-06-16. Retrieved 2008-10-15.
  16. "New York State Fossil – Eurypterus Remipes". New York State Library. 1997-06-16. Retrieved 2008-10-15.
  17. "New York State Fruit – Apple". New York State Library. 1997-06-16. Retrieved 2008-10-15.
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