THE UNSEEN U.N.

As the United Nations General Assembly gathers in New York, we’ll take you behind the U.N.’s exterior to expose its true inner beauty.

Aired on September 18, 2018 & September 19, 2019. 

TRANSCRIPT

THE UNITED NATIONS FORMED IN THE WAKE OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR, THE COALITION OF NATIONS STRIVES TO MAINTAIN PEACE, PROTECT HUMAN RIGHTS AND REDUCE POVERTY AND SUFFERING AROUND THE WORLD.

NEW YORK IS THE HOME OF THE U.N., ADDING TO THE STATUS AS THE WORLD CITY, THE EARLY INFLUX OF DIPLOMATS AND HEADS OF STATE, AND INCREASED SECURITY AND TRAFFIC CONCERNS THAT FOLLOW CAUSE MANY NEW YORKERS TO QUESTION, WHY IS THE UNITED NATIONS HERE.

WHEN THEY HEAR THE U.N. IS IN SESSION, A GENERAL GROWN OFTEN FOLLOWS.

THE NEW YORK CITY COMMISSIONER MAKES THE CASE THAT THE U.N.

ENRICHES OUR MA TROP HOUSE, AND IS WORTH THE OCCASIONAL INCONVENIENCE.

THE COMMISSIONER GAVE US AN INSIDER'S TOUR OF THIS INTERNATIONAL AND UNIQUELY NEW YORK INSTITUTION.

Reporter: HI, EVERYONE, I'M THE COMMISSIONER FOR INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS IN NEW YORK CITY.

WE'RE HERE ON THE UNITED NATIONS CAMPUS FOR A BEHIND THE SCENES LOOK AT WHAT MAKES THE U.N. A PRETTY SPECTACULAR PLACE HERE IN NEW YORK.

ONE OF THE THINGS I WANT NEW YORKERS TO UNDERSTAND IS THE U.N. ISN'T THE OTHER, IT'S VERY MUCH A PART OF NEW YORK CITY.

SO WHILE YOU LOOK AT THE DIPLOMATS, YOU THINK THEY'RE VISITORS HERE FOR A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME.

ACTUALLY, THE U.N. IS LARGELY NEW YORKERS THAT HAVE BEEN HERE FOR 5, 10, 20, 30 YEARS, LIVING AND WORKING IN OUR COMMUNITIES.

BUT PARTICIPATING IN THIS GLOBAL CONVERSATION, AND WE CAN OFFER THAT TO NEW YORKERS BY BEING ABLE TO HOST THE U.N. IN NEW YORK CITY.

EVERYBODY THAT WORKS AT THE U.N. AS WELL AS GUESTS TO THE U.N. AND VISITORS FROM AROUND THE WORLD, THIS IS PRETTY MUCH THE FIRST THING THAT THEY SEE.

THIS WAS CREATED AFTER JOHN LENNON LENNON'S DEATH.

THERE ARE 17 OTHER REPLICAS AROUND THE WORLD.

WHILE THERE ARE MANY THINGS ICONIC TO THE UNITED NATIONS, FOR ME PERSONALLY, THIS IS WHAT I THINK OF WHEN I THINK ABOUT WHAT THE U.N. MEANS TO THE WORLD.

THIS IS THE FAMOUS FOR ALL THE RIGHT REASONS, THE GORGEOUS ROSE GARDEN.

THERE ARE OVER 1500 ROSES HERE, AND ONE OF MY PERSONAL SHEROES HELPED CONCEIVE OF THIS IDEA.

AS EVERYONE KNOWS, ELEANOR WAS ONE OF THE KEY WOMEN IN WOMEN'S RIGHTS, INTERNATIONAL RIGHTS AND A PROUD NEW YORKER.

WE HAVE THOUSANDS OF NEW YORKERS WORKING HERE, AND THIS IS QUITE THE REFUGE THAT THEY GET TO COME TO THINK AND BRAINSTORM TOGETHER IN THIS BEAUTIFUL SPACE.

WELCOME TO THE TOP OF THE UNITED NATIONS, YOU CAN SEE AND FEEL PRETTY MUCH EVERY BOROUGH ON A CLEAR DAY.

SOON AFTER THE UNITED NATIONS DECIDED THEY WERE GOING TO MOVE TO THE EAST COAST, NELSON ROCKEFELLER HEARD THE U.N. WAS SERIOUSLY CONSIDERING PHILADELPHIA.

HE ENCOURAGED THEM TO BUY THIS PIECE OF LAND, I BELIEVE IT WAS $8 MILLION BACK IN 1946.

HE GIFTED THIS TO THE UNITED NATIONS, AT THAT POINT NEW YORK CITY WON THE U.N., WHICH IS SOMETHING WE ARE STILL VERY PROUD OF.

SO THIS IS THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY.

THIS WAS RENOVATED IN THE LAST COUPLE YEARS AS YOU CAN SEE, THERE IS A PRITNESS AND FRESHNESS TO THE SPACE.

THIS IS WHERE ALL 193 COUNTRIES ARE ALLOCATED FOR THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY, THERE ARE THREE DHARS FOR EACH COUNTRY HERE AT THE TABLE THROUGHOUT THE YEAR.

THIS BEAUTIFUL SPACE IS OPEN AND USED BY CIVIL SOCIETY.

AND I HAVE PERSONALLY HAD THE PLEASURE OF SEEING YOUNG PEOPLE COME TO THE PODIUM, NEW YORKERS, YOUNG NEW YORKERS.

WE HAVE CREATED AN OFFICE AND AN INFRASTRUCTURE THAT SUPPORTS AND SERVICES THE DIPLOMATIC COMMUNITY BUT ACTIVELY SUPPORTS NEW YORKERS.

AND THAT WHAT THIS OFFICE DOES IS CONSTANTLY BRINGING TOGETHER THE NEW YORKNESS OF THE U.N.

BRINGING THE U.N. TO OUR NEW YORK CITY COMMUNITY BUT ALSO BRINGING NEW YORKERS INTO THE U.N.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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