Borough (New York City)
- "Five Boroughs" redirects here. For the Mercian area of this name during the tenth and eleventh centuries, see Five Boroughs of the Danelaw.
New York City, one of the largest cities in the world, is segmented into five boroughs. A borough is a unique form of government that administers the five fundamental constituent parts of the consolidated city. Technically, under New York State Law, a "borough" is a municipal corporation that is created when a county is merged with the cities, towns, and incorporated villages within it. It differs significantly from other borough forms of government used in other parts of the Tri-State Region and elsewhere in the United States.
New York City is often referred to collectively as the Five Boroughs; the term is used to refer to New York City as a whole unambiguously, avoiding confusion with any particular borough or with the greater metropolitan area. It is often used by politicians to counter a focus on Manhattan and to place all five boroughs on equal footing. The term Outer Boroughs refers to the boroughs other than Manhattan (although the geographic center of the city is along the Brooklyn/Queens border), but to many residents of those boroughs that term implies a lesser status and should be Other Boroughs.
Unlike most American cities, which lie within a single county, extend partially into another county or constitute a county in themselves, each of New York City's five boroughs is coextensive with a county of New York State:
All boroughs were created in 1898 during consolidation, when the city's current boundaries were established. Until Bronx County was created in 1914, the borough of the Bronx was the parts of New York County that were ceded by Westchester County in 1898. The Borough of Queens originally consisted of just the western part of a larger Queens County, until Nassau County was created by the secession from Queens County of three eastern towns in 1899. The Borough of Staten Island was officially the Borough of Richmond until the name was changed in 1975 to reflect its common appellation, but it is still Richmond County.
Each borough is represented by a borough president and, with the exception of Manhattan, has a borough hall (the same functions, and others, reside in the Manhattan Municipal Building). Since the abolition of the Board of Estimate in 1990 (due to a 1989 ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court) the borough president now has minimal executive powers, and there is no legislative function within a borough. Most executive power is exercised by the Mayor of New York City, and legislative functions are the responsibility of the elected members of the New York City Council. Because they are counties, the boroughs also elect a district attorney, as does every other county of the state. Some civil court judges are also elected on a borough-wide basis, although they are generally eligible to serve throughout the city.
Marble Hill is a small enclave on the North American mainland that appears to be part of the Bronx but is really part of Manhattan. After an increase in ship traffic in the 1890s, the Army Corps of Engineers constructed the Harlem River Ship Canal, making Marble Hill an island. In 1914, the old river channel was filled in, linking Marble Hill to the mainland.
- ↑ Cornell Law School Supreme Court Collection: Board of Estimate of City of New York v. Morris, Cornell Law School. Accessed September 11, 2008.