On this day in 1788, New York became the 11th state in the United States. New York is famous mostly because of New York City, which has more people than any other U.S. city. It was even the nation’s capital from 1785 to 1790. In fact, in 1789 George Washington was inaugurated president right on Wall Street. Today the city has more than 8 million people, which is a bigger population than 39 states have! New York is famous for its awesome pizza served at 1,600 pizzerias – including the first-ever pizzeria in America that opened in 1905! And here is a cool New York fact: a slice of pizza and a ride on the subway have cost about the same since about 1960. And finally, toilet paper was invented in New York. Let’s not forget the important stuff!

*Wee ones:* Most New York pizzas are circles. Hold your hands together so your fingers make a circle.

*Little kids:* New York State turns 231 years old today. How old will New York State turn next summer? *Bonus:* If New York was the capital from 1785 to 1790, how many years was that? Count up if it helps!

*Big kids:* Back in 1960, a slice of pizza and a subway token each cost 15 cents, and in the 1970s they each cost 35 cents. How much more did it cost in the ’70s to ride the subway to a pizzeria, buy a slice, and ride home? *Bonus:* In 2002 each one finally reached $2.00. How much had they gone up since the 70’s? (Reminder: 1 dollar has 100 cents.)

*The sky’s the limit: *New York City doubled in population from 1.5 million people in 1890 to 3 million people just 10 years later, in 1900. If it had kept doubling once per decade, how many more decades would it have taken to have more than 1 billion people?

Answers:

*Wee ones:* See if you can make a circle with your hands!

*Little kids:* 232 years old. *Bonus:* 5 years.

*Big kids:* 60 cents more, since the 1st ride, the slice, and the 2nd ride each cost 20 cents more. *Bonus:* $1.65 (a dollar and 65 cents, or 165 cents).

*The sky’s the limit: *9 more decades, to 1990. By 1910 there are 6 million people, then with each passing decade: 12 million, 24 million, 48 million, 96 million, 192 million, 384 million, 768 million, and finally 1,536 million in 1990. One thousand million is equal to one billion, so that 9th decade takes the population to more than one billion.

Laura Bilodeau Overdeck is founder and president of Bedtime Math Foundation. Her goal is to make math as playful for kids as it was for her when she was a child. Her mom had Laura baking before she could walk, and her dad had her using power tools at a very unsafe age, measuring lengths, widths and angles in the process. Armed with this early love of numbers, Laura went on to get a BA in astrophysics from Princeton University, and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business; she continues to star-gaze today. Laura’s other interests include her three lively children, chocolate, extreme vehicles, and Lego Mindstorms.