Six flags of New York

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio delivers remarks at the City of New York 2018 Inaugural Ceremonies
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio delivers remarks at the City of New York 2018 Inaugural Ceremonies
Benjamin Kanter / Mayoral Photo Office
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio delivers his inaugural remarks on front of a backdrop of borough flags.

Six flags of New York

A vexillological look at New York City's six borough flags.
April 26, 2018

Staten Island isn’t a dump. But its flag “looks like seagulls flying atop the Fresh Kills Landfill,” said Borough President Jimmy Oddo. So he had the unofficial flag unofficially redesigned in 2016 to something a little more staid: an updated green borough seal. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio went along with it, flying the new flag at his January inauguration, but the New York City Council’s not on board: They’re still flying the “dump” flag at City Hall. Here’s a bit on the borough’s banners – most of them, uncontroversial.

Staten Island

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Staten Island Flags next to each other
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Staten Island Flags next to each other
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Staten Island Flags
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Staten Island's old flag (left) next to the newly redesigned flag.
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Staten Island's old flag (left) next to the newly redesigned flag.
Image Credit: 
Wikimedia Commons

Goodbye cartoonish hill, hello allegorical female figure staring out at an oyster fishing boat on The Narrows. It’s based on a refreshed version of the borough seal, and the two dates represent the year Henry Hudson first visited the island, in 1609, and the year Staten Island joined New York City, 1898.

Brooklyn

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Brooklyn flag
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Brooklyn flag
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Brooklyn flag
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Brooklyn flag
Image Credit: 
Wikimedia Commons
“Een Draght Maekt Maght,” reads the Brooklyn flag, Dutch for “Unity Makes Strength.” The flag, in use since at least the 1860s, also features a Roman fasces, a symbol of unity.

 

 

Bronx

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Bronx flag
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Bronx flag
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Bronx flag
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Bronx flag
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Wikimedia Commons
Adopting the blue, white and orange of New York City’s Dutch heritage, the Bronx flag also features the Bronck family crest – the borough’s namesame. Officially adopted in 1912, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. uses the flag heavily.

 

Manhattan

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Manhattan flag
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Manhattan flag
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Manhattan flag
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Manhattan flag
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Wikimedia Commons
Nearly identical to the New York City flag, it also features the Dutch-inspired blue, white and orange, and the seal features both a Dutch settler and a Lenape native. The date, Nov. 1, 1683, marks the official creation of New York County.
 

Queens

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Queens Flag
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Queens Flag
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Queens Flag
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Queens Flag
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Wikimedia Commons
A tulip for the Dutch, a rose for the English and wampum shells around them for the Lenape represent the city’s varied heritage. The blue and white stripes are borrowed from the arms of Willem Kieft, a 17th century leader of the Dutch colony.

Jeff Coltin
is a senior reporter at City & State. He covers New York City Hall.
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