3. The United Nations Headquarters
The location of the United Nations headquarters on the East Side of Manhattan was part of a long negotiation process that followed a failed attempt by developer William Zeckendorf, Sr. to build “X City,” a “Dream City” to rival Rockefeller Center. Zeckendorf liked to dream big but was unable to pay off the short term loans on this land parcel.
Behind the scenes, Robert Moses was negotiating for the United Nations to be located on this site in New York City and convinced John D. Rockefeller to buy the 17 acres in 1946. The $8.5 million purchase price is equivalent to $83 million today. Without Moses’ handiwork, the United Nations would have likely been located in Philadelphia.
Fun fact: The United Nations complex is on international territory. Read about this and other secrets in our guide, The Top 10 Secrets of the United Nations.