A Worldly Affair: New York, the United Nations, and the Story Behind Their Unlikely Bond (Paperback)Pamela Hanlon (author)
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For more than seven decades, New York City and the United Nations have shared the island of Manhattan, living and working together in a bond that has been likened to a long marriage-both tempestuous and supportive, quarrelsome and committed. A Worldly Affair tells the story of this hot and cold romance, from the 1940s when Mayor Fiorello La Guardia was doggedly determined to bring the new world body to New York, to the UN's flat rejection of the city's offer, then its abrupt change of course in the face of a Rockefeller gift, and on to some tense, troubling decades that followed.
Racial prejudice and anti-Communist passions challenged the young international institution. Spies, scofflaw diplomats, provocative foreign visitors, and controversial UN-member policy positions tested New Yorkers' patience. And all the while, the UN's growth-from its original 51 member states to 193 by 2017-placed demands on the surrounding metropolis for everything from more office space, to more security, to better housing and schools for the international community's children. As the city worked to accommodate the world body's needs-often in the face of competition from other locales vying to host at least parts of the UN entity-New Yorkers at times grew to resent its encroachment on their neighborhoods, and at times even its very presence. It was a constituent sentiment that provoked more than one New York mayor to be less than hospitable in dealing with the city's international guests.
Yet, as the UN moves into its eighth decade in New York-with its headquarters complex freshly renovated and the city proudly proclaiming that the organization adds nearly $4 billion to the New York economy each year-it seems clear the decades-old marriage will last. Whatever the inevitable spats and clashes along the way, the worldly affair is here to stay.
Publisher: Fordham University Press
Number of pages: 248
Dimensions: 229 x 152 mm
A Worldly Affair is a jaunty account of a marriage between the United Nations and its host city, New York, that not even the estimated $3.7 billion the UN community annually provides the city has kept from being rocky. The story involves every mayor going back to LaGuardia; swaggering real estate moguls, including Donald Trump; a tabloid caper of a Soviet spy and his American girlfriend; repeated abuses by the striped pants set of parking laws and diplomatic immunity; periodic threats to send the UN packing to places as diverse as Bonn and New Rochelle, and an enduring struggle over a small plot of asphalt by the East River that only New Yorkers would have the chutzpah to call a playground. * Warren Hoge, former New York Times United Nations Correspondent *
Pamela Hanlon demystifies the little understood and decades-long relationship between the United Nations and its host city of New York. A Worldly Affair is an accessible account of the history of that relationship told in an engaging and readable style. * Linda Fasulo, longtime independent correspondent for NPR and author of An Insider's Guide to the UN *
[In A Worldly Affair: New York, the United Nations, and the Story Behind their Unlikely Bond,] Pamela Hanlon makes the case that the relationship between New York and the world has . . . worked out pretty well. -- Sam Roberts * The New York Times *
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