United Nations Exterior from East River

2020 marks the 75th Anniversary of the founding of the United Nations. The United Nations came into being on October 24, 1945 when the United Nations Charter was ratified by the first fifty member nations. To mark the 75th Anniversary, the United Nations has launched UN75 — the largest, most inclusive conversation on the role of global cooperation in building a better future for all. Rather than having a traditional celebration, UN75 is giving the citizens of the world an opportunity to shape UN’s priorities, by inviting everyone, everywhere to have their say, and to share their ideas for a better future. The core of the initiative is a short, one-minute survey focusing on the key priorities for international cooperation. Results from the survey will be presented to world leaders and governments this September. In addition, the United Nations is holding UN75 dialogues, where organizations can hold virtual events to discuss key global issues.


Untapped New York is proud to be an official collaborator with the United Nations on their UN75 efforts. Earlier this month, we hosted two virtual tours with Visit UN going behind the scenes to learn about the history and architecture of the UN. To further highlight the United Nations and its unique architectural legacy here in New York City, we’re revealing a few of our favorite secrets of the United Nations!

1. When You Enter the United Nations, You Are in International Territory

The United Nations headquarters is not technically under the jurisdiction of New York City, State or the United States. It’s on “Special Status Diplomatic Territory,” something akin to an independent international territory. It’s administered by the United Nations and has its own police force, fire department, and issues its own stamps. It also has its own radio broadcast studio, and television studio, as well as printing facilities.

Though most of the laws of the city, state and nation do apply here, one thing that does not is sales tax. This means the food and gifts you might buy on a visit to the UN will be tax free. In addition, sales of cigarettes and tobacco products were banned inside the UN in 2008, and smoking was banned in 2009.