New York Subway Map

The United Nations

It was John D. Rockefeller, Jr.. who donated the 18-acre site in order to persuade the members of the U.N. to set up their headquarters in New York. A team of 11 architects including American Wallace K. Harrison, Swiss Le Corbusier and Brazilian Oscar Niemeyer designed the buildings, completed in the early 1950s. The Secretariat is housed in the tower, and the General Assembly meets in the lower block with the slightly concave roof. The complex includes two other buildings: the Dag Hammar-skjold Library, a memorial to the former secretary general, and the Conference Building. The U.N. complex is more spectacular from the river (or Queens) than from First Avenue.

Only a few rooms in the Secretariat are open to the public, but when the General Assembly is in session, visitors can usually attend meetings. Entrance is free, but you must obtain a ticket from the information desk in the lobby (45th Street and First Avenue). This is also the starting point for guided tours (every day at 20-minute intervals from 9 a. m. to 4.45 p.m.). The tour, which lasts an hour, takes you behind the scenes and explains how the U N complex dominates East River waterfront: tallest spin on skyline is Chrysler building, built in 1930.

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