New York's 8 Oldest Cities

New York’s 8 Oldest Cities

New York State is a colorful mosaic of landscapes and cultures, home to cities steeped in history. These ancient urban centers have weathered the ages, bearing witness to centuries of change while safeguarding their heritage through remarkable architecture, cultural landmarks, and captivating stories.

Join us on an expedition into history’s pages, as we delve into the captivating past of New York’s ten oldest cities. Each of these places boasts a unique allure that continues to enchant both locals and visitors.

8. Buffalo – Founded in 1789

Buffalo - Founded in 1789Photo Source

Buffalo, resting on the eastern shores of Lake Erie, was founded back in 1789. Over time, it transformed into a bustling hub of industry and transportation, thriving on activities such as grain milling and steel production.

Did You Know?

Architect extraordinaire Frank Lloyd Wright gifted the world the Darwin D. Martin House Complex, an architectural masterpiece that draws admirers from every corner of the globe.

7. Troy – Founded in 1787

Troy - Founded in 1787Photo Source

Nestled on the eastern banks of the Hudson River, Troy was established in 1787 and swiftly emerged as a thriving center for manufacturing and trade during the 19th century. Its reputation as the “Collar City” arose from its innovative production of detachable shirt collars.

Did You Know?

Troy proudly houses Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), one of the oldest technological universities in the English-speaking world.

6. Oswego – Founded in 1722

Oswego - Founded in 1722Photo Source

Perched along the eastern edge of Lake Ontario, Oswego’s roots trace back to 1722 when it began as Fort Oswego, a trading post during the French and Indian War. Today, Oswego embraces its maritime heritage, offering breathtaking lakeside views.

Did You Know?

Fort Ontario, originally built in the 18th century and later reconstructed, played a pivotal role in safeguarding the region during various military conflicts.

5. Newburgh – Founded in 1709

Newburgh - Founded in 1709Photo Source

Sitting gracefully by the Hudson River, Newburgh’s history extends to 1709. As one of the state’s oldest cities, it played a crucial role in the American Revolution and proudly showcases a wealth of historic architecture.

Did You Know?

The Hasbrouck House, once George Washington’s Revolutionary War headquarters, now stands as a National Historic Site in Newburgh.

4. Schenectady – Founded in 1661

Schenectady - Founded in 1661Photo Source

Schenectady, located near the convergence of the Mohawk and Hudson Rivers, dates its origins to 1661. Founded by Dutch settlers, it emerged as an industrial powerhouse in the 19th century, featuring industries such as locomotive manufacturing and electric power.

Did You Know?

During World War II, Schenectady gained significance as the home of the General Electric plant, a crucial producer of components for military equipment.

3. Kingston – Founded in 1652

Kingston - Founded in 1652Photo Source

Nestled within the Hudson Valley, Kingston was founded in 1652 as the inaugural capital of New York State. This ancient city holds a special place in American history, with its Stockade District boasting well-preserved stone buildings from the 17th century.

Did You Know?

In 1777, British forces occupied Kingston during the Revolutionary War, leaving a mark through the infamous “Burning of Kingston,” one of the most impactful events of the era.

2. Brooklyn – Founded in 1634

Brooklyn - Founded in 1634Photo Source

Brooklyn, now one of New York City’s five boroughs, was established in 1634 by Dutch settlers as the village of Breuckelen. Over centuries, it evolved into a vibrant cultural haven, celebrated for its diverse neighborhoods, iconic landmarks, and thriving arts scene.

Did You Know?

The iconic Brooklyn Bridge, completed in 1883, elegantly connects Brooklyn to Manhattan, reigning as the world’s longest suspension bridge upon its completion.

1. Albany – Founded in 1614

Albany - Founded in 1614Photo Source

Albany, the state’s capital, stands as New York’s oldest continuously chartered city. Tracing its origins back to 1614 when Dutch traders settled here, its strategic location along the Hudson River made it a vital trading post during the colonial era. Today, Albany presents an enticing blend of historical sites, including the New York State Capitol, Empire State Plaza, and the Albany Institute of History & Art.

Did You Know?

Throughout the American Revolutionary War, Albany played a pivotal role as a supply and logistics hub for the Continental Army, etching its place in the chronicles of American history.


The ten oldest cities in New York serve as living witnesses to the state’s captivating history, from colonial times to the Industrial Revolution and beyond. Each city unravels a story of resilience, metamorphosis, and cultural inheritance that continues to charm both residents and travelers. 

As these cities embrace their centuries-old legacies, they invite explorers to step into the past, discover hidden gems, and immerse themselves in the timeless allure of these iconic destinations.

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