The Great Sacandaga Lake is the left foot of New York’s Adirondack Park. It looks like a giant swan attempting to fly east while simultaneously having its neck stretched like a pinched wad of taffy.

Otsego Lake is the reason Cooperstown exists where it does, so it’s the reason the Baseball Hall of Fame exists where it does, by proxy. It’s home to Glimmerglass Park, which is a beautiful place to play badminton in the summer. Otsego Lake looks like a phallus in profile.

The Finger Lakes of central New York, including Canandaigua Lake, Cayuga Lake, Owasco Lake, and Skaneateles Lake, surround an important wine-making region and foster the community of Ithaca (and thereby Cornell University) as well as the town of Canandaigua, Ithaca’s ugly brother. The Finger Lakes look like nail marks left in the walls of a Cambodian prison cell.

Lake Champlain is the natural feature that has for years kept the state of Vermont from mounting any kind of effective westward assault on New York’s important (if sparsely populated) northern realm. It’s said that a giant creature named Champ lives in Lake Champlain’s cool, deep water, and, for all we know, that’s true. Lake Champlain looks like a sperm fired from Whitehall and headed directly, terrifyingly, toward Montreal.

In the southern part of the state, the Neversink Reservoir provides water security for the sprawling metropolis of Neversink, which is surrounded by the Willowemoc Wild Forest and a place called Big Indian Wilderness–a name that has stuck since the white man’s rudimentary first attempts at translating Iroquois. “What’s that he said, Franklin?” “Didn’t catch it. Let’s go with Big Indian Wilderness.” The Neversink Reservoir, when rotated ninety degrees, looks like a diving, stubby-armed mermaid.

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