As a law student interested in international law, one would think that I would be enamored with the fact that I live a mere 10 blocks from the United Nations Headquarters in Midtown Manhattan. The truth of the matter is I am not enamored with it.
Last week the General Assembly “convened in” my neighborhood. But, I wouldn’t use the phrase “convened in” to characterize what actually transpired. Rather, I think the phrase “wreaked havoc on” or maybe “ravaged” more accurately describes what happened. My neighborhood looked more like the DMZ than Turtle Bay last week. My streets were blocked off. My sidewalks were littered with steel barriers. Multiple cops stood at every corner. News crews occupied much of the remaining free space on the sidewalks, and the protestors took up the rest.
And, to add insult to injury, the barriers were not even placed near the edge of the sidewalk, but rather in the middle of the block (at least that was the case right near my apartment), which cut into valuable sidewalk real estate. I feel like the NYPD did that so they could watch us struggle, and laugh about it.
I live in Midtown Manhattan meaning I should be accustomed to excessive traffic both street and foot, but the General Assembly pushed my resolve to an entirely new extreme. After a long day of school, the last thing I felt like doing was pushing a guy in a giant papier-mâché Ahmadinejad mask out of the way so that I could get to bed (actually I kind of liked doing that)…
To be honest, I do in fact find it very cool that I live ten blocks from the one of the most powerful organizations in the world. But, sometimes I just need to rant about it, especially when the General Assembly is in town. Anyways, thanks for listening.