21 Aug 2014
72° Rain
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U.N. Headquarters in Croton

The effort to have the United Nations' headquarters built here.

U.N. Headquarters in Croton

It’s 8 .a.m. in Croton-on-Hudson. You’re in your car trying to get to work, but Iranian President Mahmoud Amadinejad’s convoy is heading through the Village. Thousands of protesters have lined up along Maple Street to demonstrate against the Iranian leader. You shake your head as you realize that the traffic situation will prevent you from getting coffee at Grouchy Gabe’s before work. You can only hope that traffic will start to move before President Obama and his escorts make their way through.

This scenario isn’t as far fetched as you might think. That’s because the United Nations Headquarters could have been built right here in Croton. On August 8, 1946 Croton residents greeted representatives from the newly formed organization with open arms during a special meeting held inside the municipal building. The U.N. representatives were looking for a place to build the U.N. Headquarters. Other locations being considered were Philadelphia, Boston, Queens and San Francisco. No one had studied Manhattan at that time, because the borough was too crowded.

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On that pleasant 76° Thursday evening, people gathered to talk about the possibility. The Civic Association of Croton organized the meeting. Mayor Albert Rozell, the Cortlandt Leauge of Women Voters, the Croton Civic Association, Rotary Club and members of the American Legion had agreed to be in favor of the proposed headquarters.  Many who spoke that night said it would be a good thing for Croton, even if it would be in their backyard. The most interesting statement of the night went to Reader’s Digest Managing Editor and former Croton Trustee Alfred Dashiell. The New York Times quoted Dashiell as saying, “I shudder when I think of the effect on world opinion of all the hullabaloo of some of our neighbors.”

There was not one resident who spoke out against bringing the U.N. Headquarters to Croton that night. An American U.N. representative contrasted the welcome his organization received in Croton, to those from other communities—saying that he was ashamed of the attitudes of those in the other cities.

During the meeting five people stormed out. They were upset because they felt that most of the people at the meeting were only summer residents. The meeting’s organizers denied the accusations. Later, a vote was taken on whether Croton should let the U.N. build their headquarters here. 192 residents cast their vote. 190 were in favor while two were against.

Even though Croton voted in favor of bringing the U.N. to the Village, we all know how the story turned out. John D. Rockefeller offered $8.5 million for the purchase in Manhattan at the last minute. On December 14, 1946 the U.N. General Assembly voted in favor of building in Manhattan.

So how would Croton look now if the U.N. Headquarters were here? Would you want to have the U.N. here? We want to hear from you. Please tell us what you think in the comment box below.

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