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Beaches in New York

Coney Island Beach

Home to the famous Mermaid Parade (every June) this beach is a "must-see." The Original Nathan's hotdog stand is located just off the boardwalk. There are also freak shows and carnival rides nearby when you get tired of relaxing in the sand.

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Rockaway Beach

It's no surprise that Rockaway Beach attracts over 1 million visitors each year -- the beach is beautiful, with clean, soft stretches of sand, waves and welcomes everyone from families to surfers. The most popular stretch of beach runs from the mid-80s to the mid-100s, where the services are the most concentrated. Head east or west if you want a quieter stretch of sand.

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Jones Beach State Park

Offers fine surf bathing along 6.5 miles of ocean beach. Swimming, surf fishing, boat basin, migratory bird watching. Beach has a two mile boardwalk and a "Castles in the Sand" photo collection. 18-hole "pitch putt" golf course. Theodore Roosevelt Nature Center in the west end provides environmental interpretation, nature walks and evening lectures.

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Info on New York

Primary draws are the Statue of Liberty, Niagara Falls, New York City, Broadway shows, scenic drives, the Finger Lakes, Fire Island National Seashore, horseracing, the Adirondacks, great food, the Thousand Islands, the Catskills, U.S. history, the Hudson River Valley and cultural attractions.
New York City residents may believe the world ends at the edge of their five boroughs but they sure are keen on beating a trail to Upstate vacation spots because they are such great places to unwind.
The mountains of the Catskills and Adirondacks provide cool greenery to those weary of hot concrete. Saratoga Springs offers restorative spas and a place where high society and high culture can settle down beside the rich dirt of the racetrack. And the tranquil waters of Finger Lakes present the perfect vista to contemplate over a glass of New York wine.
Not every corner of Upstate is intended as relaxation therapy, though. You can go downhill skiing on the state's many slopes or exercise your learning skills at museums and historic sites. And then there is seeing Niagara Falls from every available vantage point.
New York is a remarkably mountainous state. The Appalachian Mountains, which include the Catskills, run across the south-eastern part of the state; the Adirondacks lie in the north-east and the Alleghenies extend out of Pennsylvania into south-western New York. Several major rivers drain the state, including the Hudson, Mohawk and St. Lawrence, and Lake Erie and Lake Ontario form much of the state's western boundary.
Facts At A Glance
Capital: Albany.
Population: 18,136,081.
Size: 47,365 sq miles/122,670 sq km.
Economy: Industry, finance, agriculture, tourism, mining.
Time Zone: Eastern; GMT -5 Daylight Saving Time is observed April- October.
When To Go
There are reasons to visit New York State in every season. Deciding which is the best time will depend on whether you prefer stunning foliage, big-city sights, winter sports or mountain sightseeing.
In summer, visitors will encounter pleasantly warm-to-hot temperatures on summer forays to the Catskill, Adirondack or Finger Lakes areas. Temperatures in the upper 70sF/25C to mid-80sF/29C are common in all but the higher elevations. Nights are cool in the interior Upstate. Lows can dip to 40F/4C, so take along something warm.
Fall is the prettiest season all over the state. The foliage is in full glory and New York City has lost its high temperatures and stifling humidity. Temperatures of 60-72F/15-22C.
Winter snowfall can be very heavy in the snowbelt along Lakes Erie and Ontario - one spot has an annual average of 225in/572cm. The Adirondacks get less but there's always plenty of snow for skiing and snow mobiling. The state as a whole averages over 40in/102cm per year. Temperatures can be bitter but are generally in the low teens to mid-20sF/-12 to -4C.
Spring near Lake Ontario and Lake Erie can be cool and cloudy but average state temperatures are in the 30s-60sF/1-20C in April and May.
Every kind of food imaginable can be found in New York State, especially in New York City. The city has hundreds of affordable ethnic restaurants, from Jewish delis to eateries in Chinatown and Little Italy. It also has some of the most highly regarded, innovative, fashionable and expensive restaurants in the world.
While traveling the state, be sure to sample some home cooking - fresh-baked breads and rolls, fish and seafood, steaks and corned beef. Also save room for some of the state's abundant harvest - McIntosh apples, Long Island potatoes, cabbage, cauliflower, corn, celery, cherries, grapes, peas, snap beans, sweet corn and maple syrup.
New York cheeses can also be quite good. New Yorkers lay claim to a number of food inventions, such as pie a la mode at the Hotel Cambridge in Cambridge, the potato chip, Thousand Island dressing and Buffalo wings - that spicy combination of chicken wings and blue-cheese dip first created at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo.
Every second, 200,000 cu ft/6,000 cubic metres of water rush over the lip of Niagara Falls. One of the earliest Niagara Falls stunts occurred in 1827 when a ship full of live animals was sent over the falls.
The original toll on the Brooklyn Bridge was a nickel per cow.
Westchester County, 40miles/65km north of Manhattan, is proving popular with Hollywood stars and other celebrities. Many have bought estates there.
Niagara Falls has become a matrimonial center, with more than 700 weddings performed since 1993. The waiting period for a license is only 24 hours so a couple can get hitched on Sunday and be back at work on Monday.
Catskill Mountains watershed supplies New York City with 90 per cent of drinking water.
The beauty of the Hudson River Valley inspired the Hudson River school of landscape painters in the 19th century. A large collection of these pastoral scenes by Thomas Cole, Asher Durand and others hangs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Visitors can also tour the homes or studios of Frederick Church in Hudson, Thomas Cole in Catskill and Jasper Cropsey in Hastings-on-Hudson.
Odd New York State place-names include Chili Center, Bliss, Protection, Retsof (read it backward), Lawyersville, Ampersand Lake, Shinhopple, Lackawack and Short Tract.
Harriet Tubman was a heroine in smuggling slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad. She smuggled 300 out of the South and into Canada. Her home in Auburn has been preserved in her honor.
Palmyra is the birthplace of Mormonism, the site where an angel is said to have given Joseph Smith the engraved gold plates that became the Book of Mormon.
The town of Elmira is said to be named after the young daughter of one of the townÕs first families. Little Elmira Teall didn't do anything extraordinary. Everyone in town was so used to hearing her mother calling for her, they decided to name the town in her honor.
Holland is home to a Wild West village, complete with shootouts, hayrides & square dances.
An important trade item made by Native Americans living on Long Island was wampum, a form of currency made from clam and whelk shells.
L. Frank Baum, author of the Wizard of Oz, was born in Chittenango. Today there's a yellow-brick sidewalk through the center of town.
Uncle Sam is buried in Troy at Oakwood Cemetery. The illustrated personification of the U.S. was modeled on a real person, a meat packer named Sam Wilson who supplied beef to the U.S. Military Academy in the War of 1812. The crates he delivered were marked U.S. Beef, which came to be interpreted as Uncle Sam's Beef. Cartoonists picked up on the foot soldiers' joke.
The X-ray tube was invented in Schenectady.
In Ballston Spa, you can visit the National Bottle Museum.
Historic Overview
The first European to visit New York was Giovanni de Verrazano, who explored parts of the East Coast for France. He sailed into New York Bay in 1524 but the region remained unsettled for almost another century.
In the interim, the state continued to be inhabited by a number of Native American tribes. Algonquian-speaking groups (Narragansett, Shinnecock, Montauk, Delaware) lived near the ocean and along the Hudson River Valley.
The Iroquois Confederacy, including the Cayuga, Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Seneca and Tuscarora tribes, occupied interior New York. They lived in villages made up of a timbered longhouse, usually 200ft/60m, communal gardens and large storage facilities. They survived on fishing, hunting and horticulture.
Both Henry Hudson and Samuel de Champlain arrived in what is now New York in 1609 and the first European settlement was established at Albany in 1614.
The Dutch colonized Manhattan Island (Fort Amsterdam) in 1626 and made one of the most famous land purchases - or swindles - of all time. They bought Manhattan from the Delaware tribe for just 60 guilders' worth of trade goods.
But the Dutch hold on it was far from permanent. A countering British claim to the property in 1664 led to it falling into English hands. In fact, most of New York moved back and forth between British and Dutch control until 1674, when the Dutch gave up its colony for good in exchange for uncontested control of a what is now the South American country of Suriname.
Upstate New York was the site of many major battles in the French and Indian War which ultimately weakened the Iroquois Confederacy, as well as in the Revolutionary War.
With the building of the Erie Canal (1825) and the state's rapid industrialization, New York quickly became an economic powerhouse.
The Civil War slowed that growth significantly - New Yorkers were strongly in favor of abolishing slavery and contributed heavily to the war effort with both people and resources. In post-war years, New York City was vulnerable to corruption but it was also very much the front door to the Land of Opportunity. Immigrants from all over Europe flooded into the city, spreading through the state and the nation.
As commerce and the population swelled, the nation's largest city began to take on the look it has today, with towering skyscrapers and crowded streets. Throughout the 20th century it has been the pacesetter for urban America.


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