THE UNITED NATIONS
(New World Order)
(New York City)
The Official Story
HEADQUARTERS OF THE UNITED NATIONS
(New York City)
The United Nations is headquartered in New York City in a complex designed by a board of architects led by Wallace Harrison and built by the architectural firm Harrison & Abramovitz. The complex has served as the official headquarters of the United Nations since its completion in 1951. It is in the Turtle Bay neighborhood of Manhattan, on 17 to 18 acres (6.9 to 7.3 ha) of 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 headquarters holds the seats of the principal organs of the UN, including the General Assembly and the Security Council, but excluding the International Court of Justice, which is seated in The Hague. The United Nations has three additional subsidiary regional headquarters, or headquarters districts. These were opened in Geneva (Switzerland) in 1946, Vienna (Austria) in 1980, and Nairobi (Kenya) in 1996. These adjunct offices help represent UN interests, facilitate diplomatic activities, and enjoy certain extraterritorial privileges, but do not contain the seats of major organs.
Although it is 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.
None of the United Nations’ 15 specialized agencies (such as UNESCO) are located at the headquarters. However, some “autonomous subsidiary organs”, such as UNICEF, have their headquarters at the UNHQ.
The 39-story Secretariat Building was completed in 1950. It houses offices for the Secretary-General, the Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and United Nations Legal Counsel, the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs and Office of Disarmament Affairs, and the Department for General Assembly and Conference Management (DGACM).
The wider western and eastern elevations of the facade consist of glass curtain walls set within a metal grid. The narrower northern and southern elevations are made of masonry clad with Vermont marble. The Secretariat Building was constructed with 889,000 square feet (82,600 m2) of space and, at the time of its completion, could accommodate 4,000 workers. Floors 6, 16, and 28 are used as mechanical floors, and floor 39 serves as a mechanical penthouse, accessible only by stairs. Under the building is a three-story garage for UN employees, with 1,500 parking spaces. When the building was constructed, the lowest stories were to contain broadcasting studios, press offices, staff rooms, and other functions. The offices were placed on the upper floors.