National Geographic : 1964 Jul
ride off lower Manhattan, for five dollars each. They had flitted along the tops of massed sky scrapers (pages 92-3) and skimmed across the harbor that gleamed so blue that day in the sun. As only the helicopter-borne can, they had looked the Statue of Liberty in the face (pages 74-5). Mrs. Martinez said: "How beau tiful she is, your statue, how serene." Earlier they had toured the city within the city that is Rockefeller Center. They had glimpsed the wondrous roof gardens: "Four acres," the guide said-"bigger than the Hang ing Gardens of Babylon." And Mr. Martinez had been highly impressed by the Radio City Music Hall-the world's largest indoor thea ter, seating 6,200-and by the length and stamina of its celebrated chorus line, the Rockettes. On the grounds outside the United Nations headquarters I found a grandmotherly lady from Ohio, smiling at a bell inscribed "Long Live Absolute World Peace." Its metal in cludes melted-down coins from 60 nations. "How nice," she said. "And wasn't it kind of Israel to send the stone for the base, and 58 of the Japanese to give the bell and the little roof over it. It shows that people everywhere can be good." The U.N. occupies six blocks on Manhat tan's East Side that are, strictly speaking, not part of the city at all, but instead form an international enclave (page 77). Here were flying the flags of 113 nations, in alphabetical order from Afghanistan to Zanzibar.* United Nations Holds World Hopes To New York, this means the year-round presence of some 2,000 members of foreign delegations, plus another 3,600 employees of the U.N.'s international Secretariat-spend ing altogether some $78,000,000 annually. To the tourists, traipsing after the pretty girls from many countries who act as guides, the United Nations presents a symbolic kaleido scope of mankind, searching amid the most modern surroundings for ways to avert de stroying itself by the most modern means. Not every visitor views New York appre ciatively, at least not right away. A lady from Canada had a typically disconcerting ex perience when she stepped out of the gigantic bus terminal on Eighth Avenue into the 15 block section of theaters and commotion known loosely as Times Square (pages 62-5). "How depressing," she said later. "So much dirt, so much rush, so many faces with defeat in them. A little boy ran up and shouted, 'Want a taxi?' The taxi was standing right there, so I didn't give him a tip. He screamed through the window, 'Cheap, cheap,' and I felt guilty." I met the lady again, and she said: "I've changed my mind about New York." Why? Well, she had seen the city from the observation deck on the 102d floor of the Empire State Building. This is still the tallest *Last April, shortly after the author visited the U.N ., Zanzibar and Tanganyika agreed to unite. For a com prehensive account of U.N . headquarters, see "Date Line: United Nations, New York," by Carolyn Bennett Patter son, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, September, 1961. New look on Park Avenue: Pan American Building, 59 stories high, rises directly above the maze of railroad tracks leading into Grand Central Terminal. Its roof accommo dates a heliport. Dwarfing its towered neigh bor, the New York General Building, Pan Am boasts 2.4 million square feet of floor space, making it the world's largest commer cial office building. To the distraction of motorists, girls in vade the street while waiting for traffic to pass; proper Peke prudently hugs the curb.