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Three US cities of over 100,000 inhabitants have the following characteristic: they include a particular point from which, if you travel straight north, straight south, straight east, or straight west until you cross a US state border line, then in all four cases you will enter the same other US state.

What are these three cities, what state are they in, and what state will you enter on the four journeys?


The intended answers were Stamford, Omaha and New York City. (Anchorage and Washington D.C. do not go together with the wording: one does not enter the same other US state). Since Omaha has been found last, I count it as the most difficult one of the three answers and I assign the "correct answer" sign to it.

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  • $\begingroup$ so doesn't matter where I go, I will always end up in one particular state? $\endgroup$ – Novarg Feb 8 '15 at 19:01
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    $\begingroup$ Yep: you will always end up in one particular state. $\endgroup$ – Alexis Feb 8 '15 at 19:03
  • $\begingroup$ my guess would be Anchorage, Alaska. If you go to any of the 4 directions you will eventually walk around the Earth and end up in Alaska again, but that isn't really "until you cross a US state border line" $\endgroup$ – Novarg Feb 8 '15 at 19:14
  • $\begingroup$ On the far west or east of the Kentucky Bend, traveling north, south, east, or west will put you in Missouri. However, there's aren't 100,000 inhabitants. As of 2000, there are 17. $\endgroup$ – KSmarts Feb 8 '15 at 22:27
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    $\begingroup$ Assuming that the current answers are not disqualified on a technicality, such as Washington DC not being in any state, there appear to be at least four cities with this characteristic. $\endgroup$ – KSmarts Feb 9 '15 at 15:53
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  1. Omaha, NE
    The famous hairpin of East Omaha (state line with Iowa)
    see Google maps
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  1. Washington, DC
    North of the intersection of the VA/MD/DC borders and east of the easternmost point of the DC/VA border. You will always end up in Maryland.

  2. Stamford, CT
    No matter where you start in Stamford, if you go straight north, east, west, or south, you'll end up in NY.

  3. New York, NY
    As mentioned in @KSmarts' answer, part of Ellis Island is an exclave of New York, surrounded by the state of New Jersey.
    Liberty Island is in a similar situation. It is part of New York City, but surrounded by New Jersey (waters), as explained in this video by CGP Grey.

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  • $\begingroup$ Anchorage is definitely number 2. Whether you head North, South, East or West, the next US state line that you'll cross is Alaska. $\endgroup$ – Richard Feb 8 '15 at 20:09
  • $\begingroup$ - "until you cross a US state border line, then in all four cases you will enter the same other US state." Once you leave Alaska, in each direction the next state you'll hit is Alaska since the other states (Canada, etc) aren't US state borders. $\endgroup$ – Richard Feb 8 '15 at 21:57
  • $\begingroup$ I'm guessing the others will be on the edges of lakes and coastlines where if you travel in a straight line, you leave the state and then re-enter it. $\endgroup$ – Richard Feb 8 '15 at 21:58
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    $\begingroup$ If Washington DC is one of the three cities, then the last line of the question contains an error, unless the answer to what state is it in is supposed to be "none". Washington DC is not in any US state. $\endgroup$ – h34 Feb 9 '15 at 1:18
  • $\begingroup$ @Richard Maybe I'm missing something, but if you go north or south from Anchorage, will you ever cross a border line at all? $\endgroup$ – Fengyang Wang Feb 9 '15 at 2:48
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New York City, New York
Part of Ellis Island is territory of New York City, seen here. However, most of Ellis Island, which has been expanded through land reclamation, is a part of New Jersey[1]. So, traveling in any direction from this point (not just the four cardinal directions) will lead you into New Jersey.


[1] New Jersey v. New York, 523 U. S. 767 (1998)

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