Representatives from 192 countries descended on New York for the U.N. General Assembly's annual ministerial meeting today -- and the onslaught of diplomats, dignitaries and other officials means a lot of extra security and traffic around New York.
The NYPD recommends that New Yorkers use public transportation to get around and to expect street closures and traffic delays for the duration of the General Assembly. Check out details on street closures.
Expect traffic to be snarled from Midtown East to West this afternoon. Obama is staying at the Waldorf but will be speaking at the Metropolitan Museum of Natural History this evening. But the traffic is expected to be widespread World leaders in town for the General Assembly stay at East Side hotels including the Millennium Plaza, the InterContinental and the Waldorf-Astoria.
Because every American president stays at the Waldorf-Astoria, it serves as an unofficial U.N. annex. Many New Yorkers consider the General Assembly a giant headache.
A city Department of Transportation study this year confirmed the obvious: Manhattan traffic slows to a crawl during the General Assembly, with average daytime car speeds around 8 mph. And residents of the Turtle Bay neighborhood where the U.N. is situated sometimes can't get into their buildings because police have blocked off the street to safeguard a dignitary.
New York will be out around $5 million to $7 million to secure officials here for the annual U.N. debate, officials said.
"This is the biggest number of heads of state that we've had here at any one time," Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said.