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  Headquarters of the United Nations  
(New York County, New York)
United States of America > New York > New York > Headquarters of the United Nations

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"An emotional experience!"

The United Nations is headquartered in New York City is located in a massive complex on the East River. It was an amazing experience! The tour guide was really helpful and he was patiently telling us everything we need to learn about the UN. The check-in process was quite long and tiring tho.

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Headquarters of the United Nations

The headquarters of the United Nations is a complex in New York City designed by Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer. The complex has served as the official headquarters of the United Nations since its completion in 1952. It is located in the Turtle Bay neighborhood of Manhattan, on spacious grounds overlooking the East River. Its borders are First Avenue on the west, East 42nd Street to the south, East 48th Street on the north and the East River to the east. The term "Turtle Bay" is occasionally used as a metonym for the UN headquarters or for the United Nations as a whole.

The United Nations has three additional, subsidiary, regional headquarters, or headquarters districts. These were opened in Geneva in 1946, Vienna in 1980, and Nairobi in 1996. These adjunct offices help represent UN interests, facilitate diplomatic activities, and enjoy certain extraterritorial privileges, but only the main headquarters in New York City contains the seats of the principal organs of the UN, including the General Assembly and Security Council.

All fifteen of the United Nations' specialized agencies are located outside New York City at these other headquarters or in other cities - the Food and Agriculture Organization and International Fund for Agricultural Development in Rome, the International Civil Aviation Organization in Montreal, the International Labour Organization, International Telecommunication Union, World Health Organization, World Intellectual Property Organization, World Trade Organization and World Meteorological Organization in Geneva, the International Maritime Organization in London, the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Group in Washington, D.C., the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in Paris, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization in Vienna, and the World Tourism Organization in Madrid.

Although it is situated in New York City, the land occupied by the United Nations Headquarters and the spaces of buildings that it rents are under the sole administration of the United Nations and not the U.S. government. They are technically extraterritorial through a treaty agreement with the U.S. government. However, in exchange for local police, fire protection and other services, the United Nations agrees to acknowledge most local, state, and federal laws.

The United Nations Headquarters complex was constructed in stages with the core complex completed between 1948 and 1952. The Headquarters occupies a site beside the East River, on between 17 and 18 acres of land purchased from the real estate developer, William Zeckendorf, Sr. Nelson Rockefeller arranged this purchase, after an initial offer to locate it on the Rockefeller family estate of Kykuit was rejected as being too isolated from Manhattan. The US$8.5 million purchase was then funded by his father, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., who donated it to the city. The Rockefeller family owned the Tudor City Apartments across First Avenue from the site. Wallace Harrison, the personal architectural adviser for the Rockefeller family and brother-in-law to a Rockefeller daughter, served as the Director of Planning for the United Nations Headquarters. His firm, Harrison and Abramovitz, oversaw the execution of the design.


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