Every year towards the end of September, the United Nations holds its annual general assembly meeting. And every year during this event, New York City plays host to an assortment of the worldâ€™s most favorite diplomats, dictators and despots. And since I live in Tudor City which is directly across the street from the UN and basically â€œdiplomat centralâ€, I am privy to all sorts of sights and sounds.
This year the event started off literally with a bang when on Friday night the UN had a fireworks display over the East River. I admit it was quite an unexpected and lovely sight to behold. My hypersensitive dog LC however thought otherwise. Sunday afternoon I got a small taste of the week to come traffic-wise when riding the bus to meet friends for brunch on 79th and 3rd, the bus was stopped on 59th and 3rd in order to allow a long motorcade of limousines to pass through. Well, I guess even leaders of the free world have to go tie shopping at Bloomingdales.
Every year brings fond memories of this get-together. Last year, I remember walking LC on 48th and 1st and being stopped by a police officer who didnâ€™t allow us and several other pedestrians to cross the street. The reason? We had entered the dreaded â€œfrozen zoneâ€ where President Bush and his Secret Service motorcade were about to drive by any second. So there we were: me, LC and my fellow New Yorkers stranded on a Manhattan sidewalk for ten minutes waiting for the leader of the free world to drive by so that we could finally cross the street. When he finally did drive by, he was gone in a flash and the moment became just a fond memory. (Gosh, come to think of it, we did all that waiting and he didnâ€™t even stop and wave -- bummer!)
And of course this being New York, what would an event of this magnitude be without the protests. Over on 49th and 1st thereâ€™s the Taiwanese protesting their non-inclusion in the UN. On 42nd and 1st itâ€™s the Burmese protesting abuses in Burma. And over on 46th and 1st itâ€™s a group of college kids protesting Iranian President Ahmadinejadâ€™s mere presence in New York and his desire to visit Ground Zero. And speaking of insane, ego maniacal leaders, it was not that long ago when Cubaâ€™s Fidel Castro was the most hated attendee at the annual gathering. According to The New York Times, Castro complained about the treatment he was getting in one New York City hotel and stormed out. Later on it was discovered that the hotelâ€™s managers auctioned off the chicken feathers Castro left behind in room 806. Ahh, the good old days.
Now of course since 9/11 the efforts to protect the delegates have simply gone off the charts. As I gaze out my window overlooking the UN complex I see snipers standing on the roof of the Security Council building scouring the streets for potential threats with their high-powered binoculars. Standing there in my pajamas watching them, I start wondering just how high powered those binoculars really are and why is one of them training those binoculars in my direction?! And right there on the corner of 42nd and 1st I notice a green truck that looks an awful lot like a missile tank and something right out of â€œApocalypse Nowâ€. I have absolutely no idea what its capabilities are but I find it especially unnerving since itâ€™s standing disturbingly close to my building and its â€œgunâ€ looks like itâ€™s aimed directly at my window!
So now as this diplomatic free for all is underway and all leaders of the free world gather here to discuss our planetâ€™s future, I say, welcome to New York, enjoy your stay, and just remember to always play nice.
WORLD - AN EDGE IN MY VOICE
Copyright © 2010 Lainie
Welcome UN Delegates!
Copyright © 2010 Lainie
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