When The United Nations Called Lake Success Home

1111 Marcus Avenue looks very much like the buildings it is surrounded by -large, corporate and well, pretty unremarkable. Only this address has a much more illustrious past than its neighboring counterparts.

When the UN came into being in October 1945, it had no headquarters. By 1946, the General Assembly was making eventual plans to permanently move to Manhattan, but it would take a couple of years for the skyline-defining Secretariat Building to be built. At this time, the UN moved to the Sperry Gyroscope plant in Great Neck’s Village of Lake Success.

During its World War II heyday, the Sperry Gyroscope Company was a corporate leader in wartime technology production, which you can probably guess was in high demand at the time. Even as many as 20,000 were employed during the war. But when the war ended and production contracts came to a lull, the space became vacant and that’s when UN moved in.

During the six years the UN found home in Lake Success, the General Assembly held five special sessions, the most prominent of which involved the pivotal vote to establish the state of Israel in 1947. After examining the Palestinian question for months, the UN  adopted Resolution 181 on November 29, which would divide Great Britain’s former Palestinian mandate into Jewish and Arab states.

Today, the complex is occupied by an LA Fitness and tons of medical offices owned by Northwell Health hospital system. The original building still stands and so do the flags, though the former UN occupants are long gone.

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