Forbes ran an insightful article which surveys the various means each state uses of distribute property in the event of divorce.
As the article points out, New York is an equitable distribution state, the means all marital property is equitably distributed at the time of divorce. Equitable does not mean equal. The distribution is based on a litany of factors codified in Domestic Relations Law 236(B). which include the length of the marriage, the age and health of the parties, and their respective incomes,
Only the property that is acquired during the marriage is distributed. Property owned before the marriage, acquired by gift from a third person, inherited or received as compensation for personal injury is generally considered separate property and not subject to equitable distribution.