In New York State, a hamlet is a populated
area within a town that is not part of a village. The term "hamlet"
is not defined under New York law (unlike cities, towns and villages),
but is often used in the state's statutes to refer to well-known
populated sections of towns that are not incorporated as villages.
A hamlet has no legal status (except in the Adirondack Park Agency's
land-use classifications) and depends upon the town that contains
it for municipal services and government. A hamlet could be described
as the rural or suburban equivalent of a neighborhood in a city
or village. The area of a hamlet may not be exactly defined and
may simply be contained within the zip code of its post office,
or may be defined by its school or fire district. Residents of a
hamlet often identify themselves more closely with the hamlet than
with the town. Some hamlets proximate to urban areas are sometimes
continuous with their cities and appear to be neighborhoods, but
they still are under the control of the county.
Hamlets are sometimes called unincorporated
communities. In fact, some hamlets are former villages that have
dissolved their incorporation. Their land area, though, is within
the jurisdiction of a town, which is considered a municipal corporation
under state law.