Is This Weird Name Habit Unique to New York?
Maybe I have too much time on my hands, but a recent thought has been keeping me up late at night. It all has to do with one specific way we all refer to our home state.
This might get a little weird, but I can't let myself be the only one with this knowledge in my brain. Tell me if this is nuts, but I think New York is in some rarified air.
"New York" vs "New York State"
Here's what I'm talking about: I can't stop focusing on how and when the word "state" is used in tandem with "New York". While everyone uses "state" in certain titles ("The Connecticut State Department of Education", "The New Jersey State Lottery"), New York seems to be one of the only places to use "state" as part of its proper name ("she has the highest IQ in New York State", "One World Trade Center is the tallest building in New York State"). There's only one other offender I can think of...
Washington state seems to be New York's only cohort in claiming "state" as part of its name. While an article titled "The Ten Best Airbnbs in Idaho State" would sound awkwardly-worded, the same title with New York or Washington in place of Idaho easily rolls off the tongue. I think I know why, too.
The Reason Behind "New York State"
New York is one of the few places in the country to have a major city that shares the same name as the state, and it can get annoying. As long as I can remember, whenever I told someone I was from "New York", they'd immediately ask me how traffic was and what it was like to take the subway. "No", I'd sigh, "upstate New York". One way to tell the two apart is by adding "state" to the end of New York's name. Washington has a (almost) similar problem.
The great state of Washington seems to need "state" added to their name to keep people from confusing them with our nation's capital, Washington D.C. Even though they're thousands of miles away from each other (and D.C isn't even a state), I can remember more than a few occasions where the designation was necessary ("Where are you hiking in Washington, the Lincoln Memorial?"). But are there any others?
Kansas passes the test of having a city named after the state, but I'm not sure it passes the "sentence test" ("He was the best fisherman in Kansas state" just sounds like we're talking about the famous D1 college). New York and Washington may be a rare breed.
This might be the silliest point I've ever tried to make, but as something that I've just accepted over the last few decades, I felt like it warranted a discussion. It might not be Niagara Falls or the Statue of Liberty, but let's add it to the already-long list of ways New York is one of the most unique states in the union.