We've just re-launched our New York Travel section here at Travel Highways and History and also have some excellent detail on the very interesting History of New York, which for you movie buffs was not nearly as tied up in the violent gang related bloodbaths depicted in Francis Ford Coppola's film "Gangs of New York". Although there were gangs around the Five Points area, the level of malice and organization in the film appear to be historically.... exaggerated to say the least. Here's a better historical background of the Five Points.
For most travelers the words "New York" conjure images of one of the world's largest and busiest cities. Wall Street massive wealth starkly contrasted with the poverty of other areas, the Statue of Liberty, Manhattan, Brooklyn Bridge, and much more.
However New York is much more than a city. The State of New York is fairly large by East Coast standards and offers a diverse landscape of ocean, mountains, and farmland. Long Island contains long stretches of sandy beaches. The Adirondack mountains in Northern New York are one of the USA's most pristine wilderness areas, set aside long ago as a natural preserve. The Catskills are not as rugged as the Adirondacks and are known more for the resorts catering to New York's early elite as for their natural beauty. Farming is bigger in New York than most realize, with many dairy farms, an active apple orchard industry, and farming Sugar Maple trees for the sap that is boiled down to make Maple Syrup. As a child who grew up in Northern New York one of my very fondest memories was heading out to the forest to watch the grizzled old men collect sap in buckets hanging from the sugar maples. The sap was the consistency of sugar water but was then boiled in large, open vats and stirred gently until it became a thick amber syrup. I still remember the taste of the warm samples, scooped out of the vat into tiny paper cups for the "tourists".