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Boroughs of New York City

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  1. Manhattan (New York County)
  2. Brooklyn (Kings County)
  3. Queens (Queens County)
  4. The Bronx (Bronx County)
  5. Staten Island (Richmond County)
Note: JFK and LGA airports are both located in Queens (marked by brown).

The boroughs of New York City are the five major governmental districts that compose New York City. The boroughs are the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island. Each borough is coextensive with a respective county of the State of New York: The Bronx is Bronx County, Brooklyn is Kings County, Manhattan is New York County, Queens is Queens County, and Staten Island is Richmond County.

All five boroughs came into existence with the creation of modern New York City in 1898, when New York County (then including the Bronx), Kings County, Richmond County, and part of Queens County were consolidated within one municipal government under a new city charter. All former municipalities within the newly consolidated city were dissolved.

New York City was originally confined to Manhattan Island and the smaller surrounding islands that formed New York County. As the city grew northward, it began annexing areas on the mainland, absorbing territory from Westchester County into New York County in 1874 (West Bronx) and 1895 (East Bronx). During the 1898 consolidation, this territory was organized as the Borough of the Bronx, though still part of New York County. In 1914, Bronx County was split off from New York County so that each borough was then coterminous with a county.

When the western part of Queens County was consolidated with New York City in 1898, that area became the Borough of Queens. In 1899, the remaining eastern section of Queens County was split off to form Nassau County on Long Island, thereafter making the borough and county of Queens coextensive with each other.


The term borough was adopted in 1898 to describe a form of governmental administration for each of the five fundamental constituent parts of the newly consolidated city. Under the 1898 City Charter adopted by the New York State Legislature, a borough is a municipal corporation that is created when a county is merged with populated areas within it.[1] The limited powers of the boroughs are inferior to the authority of the government of New York City, contrasting significantly with the powers of boroughs as that term is used in Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, where a borough is an independent level of government, as well as with borough forms used in other states and in Greater London.[2]


Jurisdiction Population Land area Density of population GDP
Borough County Census
sq. mile
sq. km
(2022 US$) 2
1,472,654 42.2 109.2 34,920 13,482 $43.7
2,736,074 69.4 179.7 39,438 15,227 $107.3
New York
1,694,251 22.7 58.7 74,781 28,872 $781.0
2,405,464 108.7 281.6 22,125 8,542 $103.3
495,747 57.5 149.0 8,618 3,327 $17.5
8,804,190 300.5 778.2 29,303 11,314 $1,052.8
20,201,249 47,123.6 122,049.5 429 166 $1,763.5
Sources:[3][4][5][6] and see individual borough articles.

New York City is often referred to collectively as the five boroughs, which can unambiguously refer to the city proper as a whole, avoiding confusion with any particular borough or with the Greater New York metropolitan area. The term is also used by politicians to counter a frequent focus on Manhattan and thereby to place all five boroughs on equal footing. In the same vein, the term outer boroughs refers to all of the boroughs excluding Manhattan, even though the geographic center of the city is along the Brooklyn–Queens border.

The current five boroughs of Greater New York as they appeared in 1814. The Bronx was part of Westchester County, Queens County included modern Nassau County, Kings County had six towns, one of which was Brooklyn, and New York City is shown by hatching in lower Manhattan.


All five boroughs were created in 1898 during consolidation, when the city's modern boundaries were established.

The Bronx originally included parts of New York County outside of Manhattan that had previously been ceded by neighboring Westchester County in two stages; in 1874 (southern Yonkers, and the towns of Kingsbridge, West Farms, and Morrisania) and then following a referendum in 1894 (towns of Westchester, Williamsbridge, and the southern portion of Eastchester).[7] Ultimately in 1914, the present-day separate Bronx County became the most recent county to be created in the State of New York.[8]

The borough of Queens consists of what formerly was only the western part of a then-larger Queens County. In 1899, the three eastern towns of Queens County that had not joined the city the year before—the towns of Hempstead, North Hempstead, and Oyster Bay—formally seceded from Queens County to form the new Nassau County.[9]

The borough of Staten Island, coextensive with Richmond County, was officially the borough of Richmond until the name was changed in 1975 to reflect its common appellation, while leaving the name of the county unchanged.[10]

Description of the boroughs[edit]

There are hundreds of distinct neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs of New York City, many with a definable history and character to call their own.


Chinatown in Manhattan, the most densely populated borough of New York City, with a higher density than any individual American city


A view down a street with rowhouses in brown, white, and various shades of red
Landmark nineteenth-century brownstones in the Greenpoint Historic District of Brooklyn, New York City's most populous borough


The Unisphere in Queens, the most ethnically diverse urban area in the world[31][32]

The Bronx[edit]

The Bronx, the northernmost borough of New York City and the only borough situated primarily on the United States mainland
  • The Bronx (co-extensive with Bronx County) is New York City's northernmost borough and is the only New York City borough that is part of the United States mainland (excluding some islands that are part of the borough). It is the location of Yankee Stadium, the baseball stadium of the New York Yankees, and home to Co-op City, the largest cooperatively owned housing complex in the United States.[34] It is also home to the Bronx Zoo, the world's largest metropolitan zoo,[35] which covers 265 acres (107 ha) and houses over 6,000 animals.[36] Directly to the zoo's north is the New York Botanical Garden, a botanical garden and National Historic Landmark. Pelham Bay Park is the largest park in New York City, at 2,772 acres (1,122 ha).[27]

Staten Island[edit]

Borough Hall in the St. George neighborhood of Staten Island, the most suburban borough of New York City
  • Staten Island (co-extensive with Richmond County) is generally the most suburban in character of the five boroughs. Staten Island is connected to Brooklyn by the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge and to Manhattan by way of the Staten Island Ferry, a free commuter ferry and popular tourist attraction which provides unobstructed views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and Lower Manhattan. In central Staten Island, the Staten Island Greenbelt spans approximately 2,500 acres (10 km2), including 28 miles (45 km) of walking trails and one of the last undisturbed forests in the city.[37] Designated in 1984 to protect the island's natural lands, the Greenbelt comprises seven city parks.


The percentage of New York City population residing in each borough (from bottom to top): 1. Manhattan, 2. Brooklyn, 3. Queens, 4. The Bronx, and 5. Staten Island. Populations before 1898 are for the areas now enclosed in the present boroughs.

Since 1914, each of New York City's five boroughs has been coextensive with a county of New York State – unlike most U.S. cities, which lie within a single county or extend partially into another county, constitute a county in themselves, or are completely separate and independent of any county.

Each borough is represented by a borough president. Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island each have a Borough Hall with limited administrative functions. The Manhattan Borough President's office is situated in the Manhattan Municipal Building. The Bronx Borough President's office used to be in its own Bronx Borough Hall but has been in the Bronx County Courthouse for decades. Since the abolition of the Board of Estimate in 1990 (due to a 1989 ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court[38]), the borough presidents have minimal executive powers, and there is no legislative function within a borough. Executive functions in New York City are the responsibility of the Mayor of New York City, while legislative functions reside with the New York City Council. The borough presidents primarily act as spokesmen, advocates, and ceremonial leaders for their boroughs, have budgets from which they can allocate relatively modest sums of money to community organizations and projects, and appoint the members of the 59 largely advisory community boards in the city's various neighborhoods. The Brooklyn and Queens borough presidents also appoint trustees to the local public library systems in those boroughs.

Being coextensive with an individual county, each borough also elects a district attorney, as does every other county of New York State. While the district attorneys of Manhattan and Brooklyn are popularly referred to as "Manhattan D.A. Cyrus Vance, Jr.", or "Brooklyn D.A. Kenneth P. Thompson" by the media, they are technically and legally the district attorneys of New York County and Kings County, respectively. The same goes for Staten Island. There is no such distinction made for the district attorneys of the other two counties, Queens and the Bronx, since these boroughs share the respective counties' names. Because the five district attorneys are, technically speaking, state officials (since the counties are considered to be arms of the state government), rather than officials of the city government, they are not subject to the term limitations that govern other New York City officials such as the mayor, the New York City Public Advocate, members of the city council, or the borough presidents. Some civil court judges also are elected on a borough-wide basis, although they generally are eligible to serve throughout the city.

In some document collections the boroughs used to be designated with a one-letter abbreviation: K for Brooklyn, M for Manhattan, Q for Queens, R for Staten Island (Richmond County), and X for the Bronx.[39]

Sixth borough[edit]

The term "sixth borough" is used to describe any of a number of places that have been metaphorically called a part of New York City because of their geographic location, demographics (they include large numbers of former New Yorkers), special affiliation, or cosmopolitan character. They have included adjacent cities and counties in the New York metropolitan area as well as in other states, U.S. territories, and foreign countries.[40][41][42] In 2011, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg referred to the city's waterfront and waterways as a composite sixth borough during presentations of planned rehabilitation projects along the city's shoreline,[43][44][45][46][47][48] including Governor's Island in the Upper New York Bay.[49] The Hudson Waterfront, in the U.S. state of New Jersey, lies opposite Manhattan on the Hudson River, and during the Dutch colonial era, it was under the jurisdiction of New Amsterdam and known as Bergen. Jersey City and Hoboken, in New Jersey's Hudson County, are sometimes referred to as the sixth borough, given their proximity and connections by rapid transit PATH trains to the city.[50][51][52][53] Fort Lee, in Bergen County, opposite Upper Manhattan and connected by the George Washington Bridge, has also been called the sixth borough. Yonkers, New York is often referred to as the sixth borough as well. [54][55][56][57]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Charter for the Greater New York, and Acts Supplementary Thereto, as Adopted by the State Legislature, p. 10. Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 1898. Accessed September 21, 2016.
  2. ^ Bacharach, Jacqueline; and Barrales, Ruben. Growth Within Bounds, p. 197. California Commission on Local Governance for the 21st Century, DIANE Publishing, 2000. ISBN 9780756706319. Accessed September 21, 2016.
  3. ^ "A Story Map: 2020 Census Demographic Data Map Viewer". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 12, 2021.
  4. ^ "QuickFacts New York County, New York; Richmond County, New York; Kings County, New York; Queens County, New York; Bronx County, New York; New York city, New York". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 13, 2023.
  5. ^ "NYC Population: Current and Projected Populations". NYC.gov. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
  6. ^ "Gross Domestic Product by County and Metropolitan Area, 2022" (PDF). Bureau of Economic Analysis.
  7. ^ "American Shores: The Bronx and Westchester" Archived January 19, 2024, at the Wayback Machine, New York Public Library. Accessed January 18, 2024. "The area of Westchester County west of the Bronx River, made up of the towns of Morrisania, West Farms, and Kingsbridge, was annexed to the City of New York in 1874. The eastern part, made up of the town of Westchester and part of the town of Eastchester, was annexed in 1895."
  8. ^ "Birth of a Borough" Archived October 10, 2022, at the Wayback Machine, A Walk Through the Bronx. Accessed January 3, 2024. "After consolidation in 1898, the twenty-third and twenty-fourth wards became the borough of the Bronx, which with Manhattan remained part of New York County (the other boroughs were already separate counties).... It was not until 1912, however, that the state legislature established the County of the Bronx as the sixty-second county in the state, effective January 1, 1914."
  9. ^ Williams, Keith. "How Queens Became New York City's Largest Borough" Archived September 8, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, Curbed, October 20, 2015. Accessed September 21, 2016. "On April 28, 1898, the state Legislature approved the creation of a new county, which some in the eastern half of the former Queens County had wanted for nearly 60 years."
  10. ^ Kaufman, Michael T. "Council Weighs Making 'Staten Island' Official" Archived October 12, 2017, at the Wayback Machine, The New York Times, August 28, 1974. Accessed September 21, 2016. "Yesterday a committee of the City Council sought to right matters with a resolution that, if adopted by the full Council and approved by the Mayor, would have the borough's name officially changed to Staten Island.... The resolution only affects the name of the borough. The county would remain Richmond, in the way that the borough of Manhattan is the county of New York, and Brooklyn is the county of Kings."
  11. ^ Jen Carlson (May 21, 2012). "Do You Refer To Manhattan As "The City"?". Gothamist. Archived from the original on October 25, 2016. Retrieved August 23, 2017.
  12. ^ Purdum, Todd S. "Political memo; An Embattled City Hall Moves to Brooklyn" Archived May 1, 2019, at the Wayback Machine, The New York Times, February 22, 1992. Accessed August 23, 2017. ""Leaders in all of them fear that recent changes in the City Charter that shifted power from the borough presidents to the City Council have diminished government's recognition of the sense of identity that leads people to say they live in the Bronx, and to describe visiting Manhattan as 'going to the city.'"
  13. ^ Mann, Camille; Valera, Stephanie. "10 Most Crowded Islands in the World". The Weather Channel. Archived from the original on April 9, 2016. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
  14. ^ Barry, Dan. "A Nation challenged: in New York; New York Carries On, but Test of Its Grit Has Just Begun" Archived March 24, 2020, at the Wayback Machine, The New York Times, October 11, 2001. Accessed November 20, 2016. "A roaring void has been created in the financial center of the world."
  15. ^ Sorrentino, Christopher (September 16, 2007). "When He Was Seventeen". The New York Times. Archived from the original on April 17, 2009. Retrieved December 22, 2007. "In 1980 there were still the remains of the various downtown revolutions that had reinvigorated New York's music and art scenes and kept Manhattan in the position it had occupied since the 1940s as the cultural center of the world."
  16. ^ Bumiller, Elisabeth (October 8, 1995). "The Pope's visit: the cardinal; As Pope's Important Ally, Cardinal Shines High in Hierarchy". The New York Times. Archived from the original on January 20, 2012. Retrieved December 18, 2007. "As the Archbishop of the media and cultural center of the United States, Cardinal O'Connor has extraordinary power among Catholic prelates."
  17. ^ Michael P. Ventura (April 6, 2010). "Manhattan May Be the Media Capital of the World, But Not For iPad Users". DNAinfo. Archived from the original on August 4, 2017. Retrieved June 11, 2017.
  18. ^ Dawn Ennis (May 24, 2017). "ABC will broadcast New York's pride parade live for the first time". LGBTQ Nation. Archived from the original on July 28, 2017. Retrieved June 4, 2017.
  19. ^ New York City Administrative Code Section 2-202 Division into boroughs and boundaries thereof – Division Into Boroughs And Boundaries Thereof. Archived January 4, 2018, at the Wayback Machine, Justia. Accessed January 18, 2024. "The borough of Manhattan shall consist of the territory known as New York county, which shall contain all that part of the city and state, including that portion of land commonly known as Marble Hill and included within the county of New York and borough of Manhattan for all purposes pursuant to chapter nine hundred thirty-nine of the laws of nineteen hundred eighty-four and further including the islands called Manhattan Island, Governor's Island, Bedloe's Island, Ellis Island, Franklin D. Roosevelt Island, Randall's Island and Oyster Island..."
  20. ^ Gray, Christopher. "Streetscapes: Spuyten Duyvil Swing Bridge; Restoring a Link In the City's Lifeline" Archived January 16, 2020, at the Wayback Machine. The New York Times, March 6, 1988. Accessed January 18, 2024. "At some point, the wooden bridge was replaced by an iron one, certainly by 1895 when the Spuyten Duyvil Creek and the Harlem River were widened and joined as the Harlem River Ship Canal, linking the East and Hudson Rivers."
  21. ^ Jackson, Nancy Beth. "If You're Thinking of Living In/Marble Hill; Tiny Slice of Manhattan on the Mainland" Archived March 28, 2019, at the Wayback Machine, The New York Times, January 26, 2003. Accessed January 18, 2024. "The building of the Harlem River Ship Canal turned the hill into an island in 1895, but when Spuyten Duyvel Creek on the west was filled in before World War I, the 51 acres became firmly attached to the mainland and the Bronx."
  22. ^ Chambers, Marcia. "Judge's Ruling Revives Dispute On Marble Hill" Archived January 8, 2024, at the Wayback Machine, The New York Times, May 16, 1984. Accessed January 8, 2024. "After a painstaking legal and historical analysis, Justice Peter J. McQuillan said rather, that Marble Hill lies in both. 'The conclusion is irresistible,' he said in a 36-page opinion, that Marble Hill is situated in the Borough of Manhattan, but is not part of New York County. By statute, he said, 'it is in Bronx County.' Contrary to what the Legislature may have thought when it redefined boundary lines for Manhattan in 1938 and again in 1940, it 'dealt only with boroughs and not counties,' the judge wrote. In short, the boundaries of New York County and Manhattan are not the same, he said."
  23. ^ "Bill Would Clarify Marble Hill's Status" Archived February 4, 2024, at the Wayback Machine, The New York Times, June 27, 1984. Accessed January 8, 2024. "The Assembly voted tonight to move the Marble Hill section of the Borough of Manhattan into New York County, thereby correcting a 46-year old mistake.... A dispute over Marble Hill followed, but the matter was mostly put to rest in 1938, when the boundaries of the Borough of Manhattan were shifted to include Marble Hill.... Tonight the Assembly voted 140 to 4 and joined the Senate in moving to change that, and the measure now goes to the Governor. It would be retroactive to Jan. 1, 1938."
  24. ^ Montesano v New York City Hous. Auth. Archived January 8, 2024, at the Wayback Machine, Justia, as corrected through March 19, 2008. Accessed January 8, 2024. "Less than 10 weeks after the Boyd decision, the Legislature eliminated any doubt that the Borough of Manhattan and New York County were conterminous in this respect by specifically including Marble Hill in both the Borough of Manhattan and New York County, 'for all purposes,' retroactive to 1938 (L 1984, ch 939). The official map of the City of New York now shows that Marble Hill is located in New York County."
  25. ^ Macchiarola, Frank J. "The Two New Yorks" Archived January 19, 2024, at the Wayback Machine, City Journal, Spring 1993. Accessed January 18, 2024. "I believe, however, that the most critical distinction is one that is seldom discussed and that cuts across lines of both race and class, separating New Yorkers on the basis of their political and social culture. The distinction is between what are in fact two 'boroughs,' Manhattan and outer borough New York. Both include people of all ethnic groups and various economic conditions."
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  35. ^ "Bronx Zoo Animals & Exhibits". Wildlife Conservation Society. Archived from the original on January 14, 2015. Retrieved March 20, 2016.
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  37. ^ "Staten Island Greenbelt | New York-New Jersey Trail Conference". Nynjtc.org. Archived from the original on April 29, 2021. Retrieved October 28, 2010.
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  39. ^ Births reported in the city of New York, AncestryLibrary.com, 1958, retrieved June 21, 2021
  40. ^ Popik, Barry (January 24, 2006). "Sixth Borough (Yonkers, Scarsdale, Fort Lee, Jersey City, Hoboken, Nassau County, Rockland County)". Big Apple. Archived from the original on April 6, 2013. Retrieved May 1, 2013.
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  47. ^ "Sixth Borough Stories from New York's Waterfront". Columbia School of Journalism. 2011. Archived from the original on April 23, 2013. Retrieved May 1, 2013. The sixth borough. That's what Mayor Bloomberg calls the 578 miles of shore land that encircle the five boroughs of New York City.
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