United Nations Headquarters

The United Nations Headquarters is a distinctive complex in New York City that has served as the official headquarters of the United Nations since its completion in 1950. It is located in the Turtle Bay neighborhood, on the east side of Midtown Manhattan, on spacious grounds overlooking the East River.
The United Nations has three additional, subsidiary, regional headquarters or headquarter districts. These are located in Geneva (Switzerland), Vienna (Austria), and Nairobi (Kenya). These adjunct offices help represent UN interests, facilitate diplomatic activities, and enjoy certain extraterritorial privileges, but only the main headquarters in New York contains the seats of the principal organs of the UN, including the General Assembly and Security Council.

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Though it is in New York City, the land occupied by the United Nations Headquarters is considered international territory, and 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 United Nations Headquarters complex was constructed in New York City in 1949 and 1950 beside the East River, on 17 acres (69,000 m2) of land purchased from the foremost New York real estate developer of the time, William Zeckendorf. 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 $8.5 million purchase was then funded by his father, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., who donated it to the City. The lead architect for the building was the real estate firm of Wallace Harrison, the personal architectural adviser for the family.

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Chrysler Building

The Chrysler Building is an Art Deco skyscraper in New York City, located on the east side of Manhattan at the intersection of 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue.
Considered by many contemporary architects to be one of the finest buildings in New York City, in 2007, it was ranked ninth on the List of America’s Favorite Architecture by the American Institute of Architects.
The Chrysler Building was designed by architect William Van Alen to house the Chrysler Corporation. When the ground breaking occurred on September 19, 1928, there was an intense competition in New York City to build the world’s tallest skyscraper. Despite a frantic pace (the building was built at an average rate of four floors per week), no workers died during the construction of this skyscraper.
Various architectural details and especially the building’s gargoyles were modeled after Chrysler automobile products like the hood ornaments of the Plymouth.

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The distinctive ornamentation of the building based on features that were then being used on Chrysler automobiles. The corners of the 61st floor are graced with eagles, replicas of the 1929 Chrysler hood ornaments; on the 31st floor, the corner ornamentation are replicas of the 1929 Chrysler radiator caps. The building is constructed of masonry, with a steel frame, and metal cladding. In total, the building currently contains 3,862 windows on its facade and 4 banks of 8 elevators designed by the Otis Elevator Corporation.
The building was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1976.

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I guess it is my favorite building in NY. I can tell by the way I look for any detail of it from different places.

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Empire State Building

The Empire State Building is a 102-story landmark Art Deco skyscraper in New York City at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and West 34th Street. Its name is derived from the nickname for the state of New York. It stood as the world’s tallest building for more than forty years, from its completion in 1931 until construction of the World Trade Center’s North Tower was completed in 1972. Following the destruction of the World Trade Center in 2001, the Empire State Building once again became the tallest building in New York City and New York State.

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The Empire State Building has been named by the American Society of Civil Engineers as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. The building and its street floor interior are designated landmarks of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, and confirmed by the New York City Board of Estimate. It was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1986.
The lobby is three stories high and features an aluminum relief of the skyscraper without the antenna, which was not added to the spire until 1952.

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In 1964, floodlights were added to illuminate the top of the building at night, in colors chosen to match seasonal and other events, such as St. Patrick’s Day, Christmas, Independance Day or Bastille Day.
On September 13’th the building was lit in orange colors, in celebration of the exploration of Manhattan Island by Henry Hudson 400 years earlier.

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The Empire State Building has one of the most popular outdoor observatories in the world, having been visited by over 110 million people. The 86th-floor observation deck offers impressive 360-degree views of the city. There is a second observation deck on the 102nd floor that is open to the public.

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Back in December 2007, I’ve decided not to go up. There were several reasons. The building was in renovation at that time and outside it was freezing. The cutting wind at street level could be really hard to take but at almost 400 meters could be unbearable. I chose to go to Top of The Rock instead, a much friendlier deck given the circumstances.
I repeat, I knew I would come back eventually…

At Empire State I arrived shortly before sunset and enjoyed both the day and night views. It was magic but short even I stayed there for more than an hour. Being up there gives a sense of freedom in spite of the fence surrounding the observatory terrace.

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Flatiron Building

The Flatiron Building, or Fuller Building as it was originally called, is located at 175 Fifth Avenue in the borough of Manhattan, and is considered to be one of the first skyscrapers ever built. Upon completion in 1902 it was one of the tallest buildings in New York City. The building sits on a triangular island block at 23rd Street, Fifth Avenue, and Broadway, anchoring the south (downtown) end of Madison Square.

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The building, which took its name from the triangular lot on which it was built – the Flatiron block, so called because it was shaped like a clothing iron – was officially named the Fuller Building after George A. Fuller, founder of the company that financed its construction two years after his death.

It is a popular spot for tourist photographs and a National Historic Landmark since 1989, but it is also a functioning office building which is currently in the process of being taken over as the headquarters of publishing companies held by Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck of Stuttgart.

In January 2009, an Italian real estate investment firm bought a majority stake in the Flatiron Building, with plans to turn it into a world-class luxury hotel, although the conversion may have to wait 10 years until the leases of the current tenants run out. The Sorgente Group S.p.A., which is based in Rome, controls just over 50% of the building and plans to increase its stake. The firm’s Historic and Trophy Buildings Fund owns a number of prestigious buildings in France and Italy, and was involved in buying, and then selling, a stake in New York’s Chrysler Building. The value of the 22-story Flatiron Building, which is already zoned by the city to allow it to become a hotel, is estimated to be $190 million.

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Grand Central Terminal

Grand Central Terminal (GCT) — often popularly (and incorrectly) called Grand Central Station or simply Grand Central — is a terminal station at 42nd Street and Park Avenue in Midtown Manhattan.
For me this is a special place because I’ve seen it every day of my stay in NY, this time and back in 2007, mainly because of its proximity to the place I was staying. It is such a warm place in every sense of the word.

The Main Concourse is the center of Grand Central. The space is cavernous and usually filled with bustling crowds. The ticket booths are here, although many now stand unused or repurposed since the introduction of ticket vending machines. The large American flag was hung in Grand Central Terminal a few days after the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center. The main information booth is in the center of the concourse. This is a perennial meeting place, and the four-faced clock on top of the information booth is perhaps the most recognizable icon of Grand Central. Each of the four clock faces is made from opal, and both Sotheby’s and Christie’s have estimated the value to be between $10 million and $20 million. Within the marble and brass pagoda lies a “secret” door that conceals a spiral staircase leading to the lower level information booth.
In fall 1998, a 12-year restoration of Grand Central revealed the original luster of the Main Concourse’s elaborately decorated astronomical ceiling.

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Outside the station, the clock in front of the Grand Central facade facing 42nd Street contains the world’s largest example of Tiffany glass and is surrounded by sculptures carved by the John Donnelly Company of Minerva, Hercules, and Mercury. For the terminal building, French sculptor Jules-Felix Coutan created what was at the time of its unveiling (1914) considered to be the largest sculptural group in the world. It was 48 feet (14.6 m) high, the clock in the center having a circumference of 13 feet (4 m).

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The Dining Concourse is below the Main Concourse. It contains many fast food outlets and restaurants, including the world-famous Oyster Bar with its Guastavino tile vaults, surrounding central seating and lounge areas and provides access to the lower level tracks. The two levels are connected by numerous stairs, ramps, and escalators.

The design for Grand Central was an innovation in the way transit hubs were designed, and continues to influence designers to this day. One new concept was the use of ramps (as opposed to staircases) for conducting the flow of traffic through the facility (as well as aiding with the transport of luggage to and from the trains). Another was the wrapping of Park Avenue around the Terminal above the street, creating a second level for the picking up and dropping off of passengers. As airline travel superseded the railroads in the latter half of the 20th century, the design innovations of Grand Central were later incorporated into the hub airports that were built.

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Grand Central Terminal was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and further declared a National Historic Landmark in 1976.

MoMA

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is an art museum located in Midtown Manhattan, on 53rd Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. It has been singularly important in developing and collecting modernist art, and is often identified as the most influential museum of modern art in the world.
The museum’s collection offers an unparalleled overview of modern and contemporary art, including works of architecture and design, drawings, painting, sculpture, photography, prints, illustrated books and artist’s books, film, and electronic media.

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MoMA’s library and archives hold over 300,000 books, artist books, and periodicals, as well as individual files on more than 70,000 artists. The archives contain primary source material related to the history of modern and contemporary art. It also houses an award-winning fine dining restaurant, The Modern.

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The American Museum of Natural History

The American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), located on the Upper West Side, Manhattan, is one of the largest and most celebrated museums in the world. Located in park-like grounds, the Museum comprises 25 interconnected buildings that house 46 permanent exhibition halls, research laboratories, and its renowned library.

The collections contain over 150 million specimens, of which only a small fraction can be displayed at any given time. The Museum has a scientific staff of more than 200, and sponsors over 100 special field expeditions each year.

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The Museum boasts habitat dioramas of African, Asian and North American mammals, a full-size model of a Blue Whale suspended in the Milstein Family Hall of Ocean Life (reopened in 2003), a 62 foot (19 m) Haida carved and painted war canoe from the Pacific Northwest, a massive 31 ton piece of the Cape York meteorite, and the “Star of India”, the largest star sapphire in the world. The circuit of an entire floor is devoted to vertebrate evolution.

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The Museum has extensive anthropological collections: Asian Peoples, Pacific Peoples, Man in Africa, American Indian collections, general Native American collections, and collections from Mexico and Central America.

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