For idiots, it is anything in New York that isn't New York City, which contains over 99% of the total land area in the state.
And think about this - what do you think people in Rhinebeck, Poughkeepsie, etc say when they are visiting Lake George, for example. "Oh we're going to Up-Upstate New York" ???? Of course not! That's because Rhinebeck/Poughkeepsie/White Plains people do NOT LIVE IN UPSTATE NEW YORK!
Think rationally --- and read a textbook. Maybe you'll learn something about the history of New York (and the geography).
Matt: Ohhhhhh Upstate New York
Peter: *smacks Matt on head*
Poughkeepsie is NOT part of upstate New York. However, slightly north of Poughkeepsie (i.e., Rhinebeck) is where "upstate" actually begins. On the flip side of the Hudson, Newburgh is not upstate. Newburgh is only an hour and a half from the city. Please don't call Newburgh upstate. West of the Hudson, upstate begins in Ulster county.
Person from Dutchess meets person from Long Island:
D: "Where are you from?"
LI: "Lawn-Guy-Lind. You?"
D: "Dutchess County...like, Poughkeepsie."
LI: "...Is that upstate? What's it like in upstate NY?"
Person from Dutchess meets person from Renssalaer:
D: "Where are you from?"
R: "Albany. Well Renssalaer, but no one knows where that is....so Albany."
D: "Oh...I'm from Poughkeepsie."
R: "Is it warm there?"
R: "You know upstate starts NORTH of the Hudson, right?"
-NOT WESTCHESTER, AND DEFINITELY NOT LONG ISLAND!
And just to clear this up, not all Upstaters are good-for-nothing hicks. Sure, some are, but everywhere has hicks and wierdos. The only reason that a lot of upstaters don't have jobs is because all the jobs left in the 50's, making New York (the state, idiot out-of-staters) the poorest state per capita.
-Upstate is not a crime-ridden slum as several cities, like Port Jervis have displayed to us. People here have manners and common sense.
-A LOT prettier than the city, which is more crime infested and poorer (per capita).
In summation, upstate New York is too large and varied an area to define succinctly. As a native resident of New York City who went to college upstate I can both laud it for being physically beautiful and its natives for being candid, frank, and hospitable while noting that I would never want to live there permanently as life there can grow trite, repetitive, cold as hell, and insufferably boring after a while and the locals' lack of sophistication and city-esque hustle, while charming at first, can also eventually grow unflattering. Not that I'd want them to change. Their lack of tact and culture is offset by their good character and sincerity, something too many city residents and Long Islanders sorely do not have. Both Upstate and Downstate need each other, more or less. It's a yin-yang thing.
New Yorker 2: You'll love it in Upstate New York for the first few weeks. It's nice to get away from the yuppie assholes down here for a while. Eventually, though, you'll need to come back to civilization.
I now live in SoCal and met a girl from San Diego who was back for a visit. She told me she had been living in NYC for a couple of months and we got to talking. I said "Yeah people in NYC are ass hats"
Then SHE says "Yes WE are quite intimidating".
What a cunt.
She was wearing that "center of the universe" mantle like she'd been poppin' it in the Marcy Projects with Jay-Z 6 hours before she stepped off the mo'fuckin plane.
Thats what IIII'm talkin about.