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Start Of UN General Assembly Brings On Manhattan Gridlock

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Drivers should consider using mass transit this week, as the United Nations General Assembly got underway Monday and President Barack Obama arrived at the city with a full slate of events on his agenda.

The president began his day with a taped appearance on ABC's "The View" before attending a reception for visiting heads of state who are in town for the annual gathering.

Obama is scheduled to address the General Assembly Tuesday morning.

The president is skipping face-to-face meetings with other world leaders and leaving those responsibilities to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

With the General Assembly in session, New Yorkers can expect street closures and gridlock.

Streets being closed to traffic include First Avenue from 42nd Street to 48th Street,
and 44th, 45th and 46th Streets from First to Second Avenue.

Additionally, 42nd Street from the FDR Drive to Second Avenue, and the 42nd Street exit and entrance ramps of the Drive will be closed from 5 a.m. until the end of each day's session.

Drivers who spoke with NY1 near the United Nations Monday morning say it's not a good time to be behind the wheel.

"It's the worst week. I'm trying to avoid the East Side, even the customers complaining," said one cab driver.

"If I can get into the train I'll do that. But today I had to take some more things, so I had to drive in," said another driver. "You gotta do what you gotta do."

Those who live in and around the neighborhood near the UN say they have mostly gotten used to the annual headache.

"You've just got to make a new route and get to where you have to go it takes a little bit more time, a little inconvenience, but you feel safe at least, which is good," said one East Side resident.

"We chose to live here so we know when it goes on every year. It is a pain in the neck especially if you are walking around but for drivers I think it's worse," said another East Side resident.

After speaking at the UN Tuesday, Obama is set to address the Clinton Global Initiative in Midtown.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is also scheduled to speak at the conference that day.

Secretary of State Clinton spoke at the conference Tuesday morning, addressing the meeting of political and business leaders.

The eighth annual initiative got underway Sunday with former President Bill Clinton addressing the group.

The week-long conference is seen as a forum on how to deal with issues like hunger, poverty and disease.

Secretary Clinton said while the discussions are helpful, the ideas they generate must be put into action.

"In the end our goal must be to act, and we act with far greater impact when we rely on one another's strength and knowledge," she said.

Other world leaders attending the conference include UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and the presidents of Libya and Egypt.

Meanwhile, Romney criticized the president's remarks on Sunday night on CBS' "60 Minutes," during which Obama said there would be "bumps in the road" as much of the Arab world shifts from authoritarian regimes.

Romney said that the recent attack on a U.S. embassy in Libya and riots in Muslim world could not be referred to as "bumps in the road."

Demonstrators Denounce Iranian Leader's Visit

Also on Monday, elected officials stood alongside religious leaders in Turtle Bay, denouncing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's upcoming speech at the United Nations.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand spearheaded a bipartisan resolution calling for Ahmadinejad to be tried on charges of inciting genocide when calling for the destruction of Israel.

Ahmadinejad has been the target of heated protests every time he addresses the U.N. General Assembly.

Adding fuel to the fire is the timing of this year's speech, which falls on Yom Kippur.

In the past, Ahmadinejad has called for an end to the so-called Zionist regime, and has repeatedly denied the Holocaust.

Officials are also demanding stricter sanctions and an end to Iran's nuclear program.

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