The United Nations Headquarters in New York are historically significant not only for the city, but also for the international community. If you are a history buff or someone who is interested in politics, the United Nations Headquarters is an excellent place to visit in New York, as you can learn much about the history of the organization and the current events surrounding it. It is conveniently and centrally located, so you’ll be able to enjoy the amenities of the surrounding area after your visit.
The History behind the UN Headquarters
The UN was established in 1945 after the end of World War 2. Its purpose is to promote cooperation among nations throughout the world and to maintain order between these nations. When the UN was formed, there were 51 charter members, but it now consists of 193 member states.
When the United Nations was formed, the members needed to choose a place for the headquarters. Although many European countries wanted it to remain in Europe, that was exceedingly difficult due to wartime destruction that had devastated much of the major cities on the continent. When the vote on the location happened, most countries agreed that the headquarters should be in the United States. The Soviets pushed enthusiastically for this plan, and many speculate that it could have been because they knew a strong UN presence in Europe could negatively affect their plans for expansion.
Several US cities made a bid to become the host for the UN. San Francisco, Philadelphia, and even Detroit made strong cases, but were ultimately rejected. Eventually the assembly agreed that New York was best suited as the headquarters due to the fact that it was easily accessible and was the largest city in the USA.
Today, the head of the United Nations is Secretary-General António Guterres of Portugal, the former prime minister of the country. Guterres serves as the chief administrative officer of the UN, making him responsible for performing functions that are assigned to him by the General Assembly and Security Council. He assumed office in January 2017 and has a term of 5 years, when he will be eligible for a second term. No Secretary-General has attempted to secure a third term since 1981, and it is commonly accepted that two terms is the limit.
Since its inception, the UN has been committed to keeping peace throughout the world and ensuring the security of its member nations. They send peacekeeping forces to areas that have been torn by war. These forces are made up of soldiers that have been voluntarily provided by member countries. In addition to this, they are dedicated to promoting human rights all over the world and punishing those who have committed major human rights violations. They also work to achieve economic prosperity for all nations and to provide humanitarian relief for those in need.
The Turtle Bay Neighborhood
The UN Headquarters is located in the Turtle Bay neighborhood of Manhattan, which is located on the East Side of Midtown between 43rd and 53rd Streets. Turtle Bay is home to several historic pieces of architecture, including the Chrysler Building and the Tudor City apartment complex (in addition to the United Nations headquarters, of course). It is a thriving neighborhood with much to offer for traveling families who want to unwind after a day at the UN.
The origin of the name “Turtle Bay” is disputed by historians. Some believe that the area lied on land that contained a creek full of many turtles, while others say that the “turtle” part of the name is a corruption of the Dutch word deutal. Deutal means “bent blade,” and was the name that the Dutch gave the region due to the shape of the bay. Either way, it has been named Turtle Bay since 1693 when the land was gifted to Englishmen by a Dutchman.
By the 1800s, Turtle Bay was a bustling center of commerce, with many shipbuilders doing business in the area and the land becoming home to breweries, mills, and other small industrial shops. Much of the area was destroyed in riots during the Civil War, but the neighborhood bounced back in the 1920s, becoming a popular residential area as well as a place for business to thrive.
Today, Turtle Bay is part of Midtown East which offers some of the greatest views in New York City as well as plenty of entertainment options. Restaurants abound, and the neighborhood is easily walkable, so you don’t have to worry too much about transit. After a long day learning about the UN at its headquarters, there are many ways to enjoy your night.
Tips and Activities for Families Visiting Turtle Bay
· You can get breathtaking views of Manhattan from Top of the Rock in the Rockefeller Center or the observation deck at the Empire State Building. Make sure to book your tickets ahead of time, as they can go quick!
· If you go to the Rockefeller Center, the kids might also enjoy visiting the massive LEGO store and trying out new games at Nintendo NYC, both located in the building.
· Try Park Avenue Tavern for dinner. Although this is a tavern with beautiful décor, it is very family friendly with large tables and booths, providing plenty of space for the kids to play, all while offering delicious food options.
· If you want to see some other neighborhoods, the East River Ferry is a great way to get to Brooklyn or Queens and enjoy a new transit experience.
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