The Un Headquarters In Nyc

By: Johnny Moon

NYC has been the site of the United Nations Headquarters since 1952. The complex is located on the east side of Midtown Manhattan in the Turtle Bay neighborhood, overlooking the East River. The 18 acre site is an international zone which belongs not to the U.S., but to all member states; this makes for some complicated legal rhetoric. The actual earth underneath the building belongs to the United States, but the United Nations Headquarters site is granted extraterritoriality status, meaning that it is exempt from local jurisdiction. However, this does not grant immunity to those who commit crimes at the Headquarters, as they must remain under the jurisdiction of the United States. The physical address is 760 United Nations Plaza, New York, NY, 10017; all mail received at this address is sterilized.

The land for the United Nations Headquarters was purchased by the Rockefeller family and donated to New York City. Wallace Harrison, the lead architect on an international team, designed the buildings and was also the Rockefellers' personal architectural advisor. Prior to constructing this complex, the United Nations Headquarters was temporarily housed at Lake Success, NY, on Long Island. Because the buildings need to be repaired, some members have suggested that a new temporary location be erected at the Lake Success site or a Brooklyn location; others suggest building a permanent replacement facility where the World Trade Center towers once stood.

Construction of the United Nations Headquarters was financed by an interest-free loan from the United States government. The Headquarters consists of four main buildings-the General Assembly building, the Conference Building, the Secretariat building, and the Dag Hummarskjold Library. When the Secretariat building was first erected, it was controversial and met with a huge public outcry. In time, the building has become a modernist landmark. The Dag Hummarskjold Library is named after the Swedish United Nations Secretary-General, and is connected to the Secretariat and Conference buildings through ground-level and underground tunnels.

In 1945, after the Second World War, the United Nations was founded to replace the League of Nations. Fifty countries signed the United Nations charter, hoping that it would ultimately help them avoid war and intervene in international conflicts. The UN Security Council consists of five permanent members who have the power to veto any United Nations resolution. The five members are representatives from countries who were victorious in the World War II: Russia, France, China, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

The United Nations has its own emergency services-security, fire department, and postal administrators. Visitors often send postcards from the UN building, as it is the only place in the world to get the distinctive United Nations stamp. Guided tours of the facility operate daily from the General Assembly Public Lobby. The tour shows the main Council Chambers, the General Assembly Hall, and art of the member states of the United Nations. The United Nations complex is notable for its outdoor sculptures and gardens, including the "Knotted Gun" sculpture, a gift from Luxembourg, and the former USSR's "Let Us Beat Swords Into Plowshares."

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