New York City for Non-New Yorkers

If you are unfamiliar with New York City and someone you know has been arrested, then you will need to understand some basic information about New York City in order to be able to track down where the person is.

Which County?

The first question you are likely to be asked by anyone you call for help, such as a criminal defense lawyer, is "Which County was the person arrested in?"  This may confuse you because all you know is that the person was in New York City.

People unfamiliar with New York City often make the mistake of associating "New York City" with only that portion of New York City that includes Wall Street, the Empire State Building, Madison Square Garden, Broadway, etc.  These locations are on part of the island of Manhattan and may be the most famous portion of New York City (although this might start a heated debate among New Yorkers).

In fact, "New York City" is much more than the island of Manhattan.

New York City is divided into five "boroughs" or counties.  The island of Manhattan contains this "most famous" part of New York City and is known as, believe it or not, "New York County" or sometimes just Manhattan (as if things weren't confusing enough).  

At the northern end of Manhattan Island is the Bronx, or "Bronx County".  

Across the Brooklyn Bridge from the southern end of Manhattan is Brooklyn, or "Kings County".

Across the Verazzano Bridge from Brooklyn is Staten Island, or "Richmond County."  

Finally, across the East River from Manhattan through the Midtown Tunnel or over the Williamsburgh Bridge, is Queens, or "Queens County".



Five Boroughs or Counties of NYC

New York City is composed of five counties.

  1. New York County (sometimes referred to as Manhattan)
  2. Bronx County
  3. Kings County (popularly known as Brooklyn)
  4. Richmond County (popularly known as Staten Island)
  5. Queens County

If you don't know for sure where the person you care about got arrested, you can probably come up with an educated guess if you know what they were supposed to be doing in New York City.  If they were staying near Broadway, for example, the odds are they were in New York County and you should start your search there.  If they were seeing a Mets game or the US Open Tennis Tournament, or they might have gotten in trouble at either of the airports, then Queens County might be your first guess.  If you think a Yankee game might be involved, then the working assumption should be the Bronx.  

If you know absolutely nothing about where they were staying or what they were doing, then the working assumption should probably be New York County.

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