States like New York have their own official state seal, motto, nickname, and more, which are all used to symbolize and represent the uniqueness of each state and what they stand for. As well as these, there are a whole host of other New York state symbols that have been adopted by the state.

New York’s state seal features the official state coat or arms, which was adopted in 1778, surrounded by the words, “The Great Seal of the State of New York”. You can also see the state’s famous coat of arms on the official state flag.

What Does the New York State Seal Symbolize

In looking at the New York State Seal below, the center shield shows a masted ship and a sloop on the famous Hudson River, which represents inland and foreign commerce, bordered by a grass-covered shore and a mountain range in the background with a beautiful sunrise in the foreground. Below the shield you will see a banner displaying New York’s state motto, “Excelsior”, which is Latin for “ever upward”.

New York's state seal

Liberty and Justice are on either side of the shield supporting it, and an American Eagle sits on a globe above them both. Liberty’s left foot is treading on a crown, which symbolizes freedom from the Kingdom of Great Britain. Justice is blindfolded and is holding a sword in one hand and a scale in the other, showcasing impartality and fairness.

Most states will have their seals showcase a relevant story, that is indicative of the state and its founding and history, and the excelsior New York motto about the Empire State is certainly no different, embodying everything that New York stands for.