What County is New York City in?
February 21, 2023 | 3 minute read | the RENT BETTA team
Everyone has heard of New York City, and most people are familiar with its 5 boroughs.
But what county is New York City in? And how are the counties different from the boroughs?
NYC is composed of 5 boroughs, with each borough also its own county. Manhattan is in New York County, Brooklyn in Kings County, Queens in Queens County, the Bronx in Bronx County, and Staten Island in Richmond County. The counties and boroughs of New York City are coterminous.
The U.S. is divided into 50 states, and many states, including New York State, divide into counties and towns. These are more geographic than population subdivisions, think ever smaller boxes on a map.
But New York City also uses the borough system, a relic of Medieval England, where important towns were granted some self-governance by the monarchy and designated boroughs.
In addition to NYC, London and Montreal also use the borough system, so you'll hear it elsewhere on the globe.
This left the political cartographers of New York State with a dilemma - how to combine the boroughs of NYC with counties used elsewhere throughout the State?
Simple. They made each borough of NYC its own county. The borders of each county and borough in NYC are the same, or coterminous.
The Boroughs of NYC are also Counties
Staten Island - Richmond County
Which County is Manhattan in?
The borough of Manhattan is in New York County.
Originally inhabited by the Lenape and called Manahatta, meaning "hilly island", in 1626 the Dutch paid $24 (technically, 60 guilders) for the island and named their settlement in the modern-day Financial District "New Amsterdam."
That $24 may be worth closer to $2,000 today, but stands as the low water mark on NYC real estate prices.
Rents have been going up ever since.
During the Second Anglo-Dutch War, fought over control of global trade routes between the English and Dutch empires, England gained control over the area of present-day NYC in 1664 and renamed it New York, as King Charles II of England gave the lands to his broker, the Duke of York.
From 1785-1790, New York City was the first capital of the United States, and George Washington was sworn in as the first President in Federal Hall on Wall Street. Check out the Stock Exchange on Wall St & Broad St, and you can't miss Federal Hall, with George Washington presiding regally above its steps.
Federal Hall, right across from the New York Stock Exchange on Wall St & Broad St
You can still grab a beer at the (rebuilt) Fraunces Tavern a few blocks over on Pearl Street, where the Founding Fathers were known to down a few after a hard day planning the birth of a nation.
The U.S. capital later moved to Philadelphia in 1790 before settling in Washington, DC in 1800.
Today, New York City, dominated by the borough of Manhattan, is the de facto corporate capital of the United States, its financial hub, a major cultural center, and its largest city.
Which County is Brooklyn in?
The borough of Brooklyn is Kings County.
Originally a Dutch settlement named Breukelen after a town in the Netherlands (now dwarfed by modern-day Brooklyn), the borough grew rapidly during the late 1800s with the completion of the Brooklyn Bridge making it a commuter town for Manhattan. It was consolidated into New York City, along with other boroughs, in 1898.
1876 Manhattan, with the beginnings of the Brooklyn Bridge at right. The bridge was completed in 1883.
Today, Brooklyn is known for hip communities, an independent vibe, and popular neighborhoods of Williamsburg, Bushwick, and the Manhattanized Downtown Brooklyn.
Which County is Queens in?
The borough of Queens is in Queens County.
Queens was first settled by the Dutch, who started outposts in Flushing (1645), Elmhurst (1652), and Jamaica (1655). Like the rest of New York City, it was captured by the English in 1664 and consolidated within greater New York City in 1898.
Queens Boulevard in 1920
Today, it is known for a more suburban and family feel than the other boroughs of New York City, with more standalone, detached houses. Apartment buildings in Queens are typically larger and more spacious than those in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and rents are cheaper. The areas of Astoria, Long Island City, and Sunnyside attract many young renters looking for more space and a fun place to live.
Which County is the Bronx in?
The borough of the Bronx is in Bronx County.
The Grand Concourse in the Bronx
Named for Jonas Bronck, a Swedish émigré who accumulated around 500 acres of farmland there in the early 1600s, the Bronx now house the New York Yankees, the 5 mile Grand Concourse with its unique Art Deco architecture, and the Joker Stairs at West 167th St.
The Joker Stairs connecting Shakespeare and Anderson avenues at West 167th in the Bronx
Which County is Staten Island in?
The borough of Staten Island is in Richmond County.
The Dutch first established a permanent settlement there in 1661, naming it Staaten Eylandt. Sounds familiar, right?
But Italian Explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano beat the Dutch in reaching the island by over a century, sailing through the Narrows, the thinnest strip of water between Brooklyn and Staten Island, in 1524. The Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge was aptly named after him at its completion in the 1960s.
The Verrazano-Narrows bridge connects Brooklyn with Staten Island over the Narrows
The name for Richmond County comes from Charles Lennox, First Duke of Richmond, a son of King Charles II of England, as the land was also taken from the Dutch during the Second Anglo-Dutch War.
Today, Staten Island has a markedly suburban and family feel compared to the rest of New York City. The Staten Island ferry from lower Manhattan is wonderfully free, and a great way to see New York Harbor and the Statue of Liberty after touring Wall Street and the Financial District.
New York City is unique in that it has both boroughs and counties, but they both use the same borders. Manhattan is New York County, Brooklyn is Kings County, Queens is Queens County, the Bronx are Bronx County, and Staten Island is Richmond County.