New York Cities

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Many times you hear the expressions, upstate New York and downstate New York.  Downstate is basically New York City and the immediate surrounding area. Downstate also includes Long Island. The rest of the state is called Upstate New York! We will look at major cities in both upstate and downstate New York!

Upstate Cities


As you can see from the above map, upstate New York’s three big cities are far apart.  The largest city in the western part of the state is Buffalo.  The largest city in central New York is Syracuse.  The largest city in the eastern part of the city is Albany, which remember is the state capital.


 Let us first explore the city of Buffalo. Buffalo is located on Lake Erie.  It is easy to drive there via the New York State Thruway.


The largest city in central New York is Syracuse, also located on the Thruway and on a lake.  Onondaga Lake is not nearly as big as Lake Erie though!  Syracuse is sometimes called the crossroads of New York State because it is where the north-south route 81 crosses the east-west route, the Thruway.


The biggest eastern upstate New York State City is its capital, Albany. Albany is also found on the New York State Thruway, and it is also at a large intersection.  It sits where the Northway (Rt. 87) meets the Thruway.  Albany does not sit on a lake, but it does sit on the Hudson River.

Downstate City

Of course there is only one downstate city, New York City itself, which is the largest city in the United States!  Actually NYC is made up of five smaller sections, called boroughs. The boroughs are Brooklyn (Kings), the Bronx, Manhattan, Staten Island (Richmond), and Queens.


 This is a picture of the Brooklyn Bridge which connects the two boroughs of Brooklyn and Manhattan.






Name of City




western NY



central NY



eastern NY


New York City