What County is New York City In?
July 7, 2023 | 5 minute read | the RENT BETTA team
Everyone has heard of New York City, and most people know it has 5 boroughs.
But what county is New York City in?
And how are counties different from boroughs in NYC?
New York City is composed of 5 boroughs, with each borough also its own county. Manhattan is in New York County, Brooklyn is in Kings County, Queens is in Queens County, the Bronx is in Bronx County, and Staten Island is 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, divide further into counties and towns. These are geographic rather than population subdivisions, think ever smaller boxes on a map when zooming in.
But New York City also uses the borough system, a relic from Medieval England, where important towns were granted some self-governance by the monarchy and designated boroughs.
NYC's English roots and use of the borough system left political cartographers of New York State with a dilemma - how to combine the boroughs of NYC with counties used elsewhere throughout the State?
The Boroughs of NYC are also Counties
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 about $24 (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 may be 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 trade routes between the English and Dutch empires, victorious England gained control over present-day NYC in 1664 and renamed it New York, as King Charles II of England gifted the lands to his broker, the Duke of York.
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 throw back a few after a long day at the office, planning the birth of a nation.
Maybe not much has changed in NYC.
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 the country's largest city.
Which County is Brooklyn in?
The borough of Brooklyn is in 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 the other boroughs, in 1898.
1876 Manhattan, with the beginnings of the Brooklyn Bridge at right. The bridge was completed in 1883.
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, single-family detached houses. Apartment buildings in Queens often have larger and more spacious floorplans than those in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and rents are cheaper.
Which County is the Bronx in?
The borough of the Bronx is in Bronx County.
The Bronx's Grand Concourse, unique for its abundance of Art Deco architecture
Named for Jonas Bronck, a Swedish émigré who accumulated 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 connect 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 pretty familiar, right?
Italian Explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano actually 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, and many Italian-American families went on to settle on the Island, with over 1/3rd of the population having Italian origin.
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 seized 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.