A modern version of a Revolutionary War flag, today's New
York State flag displays the New York State Coat of Arms, adopted in 1778, centered on a
dark blue field. The shield on the New York state flag depicts a cloudless sky with a
rising sun behind three mountains, the highlands of the Hudson River. A three masted,
square rigged ship and a Hudson River sloop navigate towards each other on the Hudson
River representing commerce. The river is bordered by a grassy shore fringed with
shrubs. Beneath the shield on a white ribbon is the New York State Motto, "Excelsior
(Ever Upward)," signifying a reach for ever higher goals.
Above the shield on the New York state flag, the crest shows a Bald Eagle, wings spread,
perched atop a globe depicting the northern Atlantic Ocean. The eagle faces right, a
good omen. On one side of the shield stands "Justice," her hair decorated with pearls.
She is blindfolded and carries a sword in one hand and a scale in the other hand. These
symbols represent the impartiality and fairness of justice required to meet out
punishment and reward. Justice is clothed in gold with a blue belt edged with red. A
loose red robe hangs from her shoulder. Opposite Justice on the New York state flag,
stands "Liberty," holding a pole topped with the Phrygian cap. A crown is at her left
foot, put there to symbolize the failed control of the British Monarchy. Liberty is
clothed in blue and wearing red sandals. Like Justice, a red robe hangs from her
shoulder and her unbound hair is decorated with pearls.