The story did not appear in any known newspapers (although the press supposedly did not report on such pranks in that era) and no records have been found to confirm the existence of the individuals involved. This has led to speculation that the incident never occurred and that the original report of the hoax was itself a hoax. The hoax was first documented in Thomas F. De Voe's 1862 volume The Market Book, and was told again in Herbert Asbury's 1934 title All Around The Town. Another condensed retelling occurs in the 1960s Reader's Digest book, Scoundrels and Scallywags.
The term has taken on new meaning since the 1980s when upstate New York entered a regional economic recession that it has yet to recover from. Many upstate residents joke or believe that New York City itself is a huge drain on the state's economic resources and ever increasing income and sales tax rate over the last several decades. Some believe that New York City should be a separate and distinct district, like Washington, D.C., and rely on its own economic and tax infrastructure while allowing the rest of the state to adjust its own accordingly to try to bring back jobs and businesses.