This is the centre of the modern world. While some people play down the importance of the United Nations, this is the building where the world leaders gather to make decisions that can alter the history of the world. Whether its rulings are accepted or ignored, the support or otherwise of a war by the United Nations is big news. When the UN condemns an action it becomes a crime, and that action forever more means you break international law. It might only send a handful of troops around the world into action, but it's influence is immense.
Whenever the UN Headquarters are mentioned in the news, it is rare that the location is mentioned. It could be on a secret island in the pacific, in orbit about the earth, or in an underground cavern in the Antarctic. It creates a feeling of neutrality, and technically the UN Headquarters is extraterritorial - through an agreement with the US it is not considered to be on American soil, even though it is in uptown New York on the banks of the East River.
It's a wonderful building, completed in 1952 and filled with the post-war promise of a united world. The design was the brainchild of the brilliant modernist architect Oscar Niemeyer. This Brazilian would later go on to design the entire city of Brazilia, the new capital of his home country. He's also go on to design the stunning and remarkable Niterói Contemporary Art Museum outside Rio de Janeiro. If you know anything about Oscar Niemeyer, you'll recognize his work immediately.
Outside the complex you will find, line up along first avenue, a flag for each and every country that has membership of the United Nations, all in alphabetical order.
Arguably, NYC could be considered as the capital of this planet, taking into account the fact that the United Nations is headquartered here. I really didn't plan to visit the UN, but I just kind of ended up on its gates while wondering around the area. It was too imposing to resist.
I'm glad I did the guided tour. I expected it to be a bore, but it turned out to be interesting and educational. I've learned more about the UN during the 45-minute tour than what was taught to us in grade school and high school. The other plus factor besides visiting the General Assembly (the Security Council was closed at that time) is the very international flavor of the tour. Our guide was from Uzbekistan, and my tourmates where from all four corners of the globe.
Tour price is 16 dollars.
Individual tickets have to be purchased at the UN on the day of your visit. No tickets can be purchased online. Leave plenty of time to get through security & airport style metal detectors. Tickets were $16.00 adults, $11.00 students & seniors and $9. for students under 12. We enjoyed the extensive book shop and gift shop. The cafeteria appeared expensive and not too inspiring. The post office was very clever.
The hour long guided tour of the United Nations began with a brief overview of the Organization. We learned about its history, structure, composition, and designer. Members of the United Nations have donated gifts of art to the Organization over the years. We saw an ivory carving from China, drums from the Caribbean, and a replica of the Royal Thai barge.
We viewed the 30 articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with a design by Brazilian artist Octavio Roth, followed by an exhibit on disarmament. Among the artifacts presented are remnants (coins, bottles, a school uniform and the sculpture of St. Agnes) of the nuclear explosion in Nagasaki and Hiroshima, landmines of various types and shapes, and the Escopetarra, a guitar made from an AK47 by Cesar Lopez, a Colombian musician and social activist.
The General Assembly Hall, the largest meeting room at the United Nations, is next. We sat where the 192 members of the Organization convene to discuss global issues. The final part of your visit will include a presentation of the Security Council, the contributions of peacekeepers, and the work of the United Nations system to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
It was completed in 1950 as an evolving need from WWII to have world association to promote a united front to deter confrontation. It does not always work well. There is much of the building you cannot go through; in fact a lot. Dag Hammershald column quite room is one to go into.
In Mid- town, the United Nations Headquarters land area is considered to be international territory.
Guided tours of the United Nations operate daily from the General Assembly Public Lobby. The tours are well organized, with a clear and detailed description of the inner workings of this important organization. The Council Chambers and general Assembly were particualy interesting.It is quite awesome, standing in these great halls- realising how many important world decisions were made here.
The tour also features art and other objects of interest donated by Member States. At the Public Inquiries Unit, located in the public concourse, visitors can obtain additional information relating to the United Nations and its affiliated organizations. There is a postal counter - where visitors can buy UN stamps - a UN book store, gift shops, and a restuarant/coffee-shop.
I was surpised, however, at the rather out-of-date furnishings and carpets at this institution.
There is a magnificent tapestry (42 x 27.5ft) hanging on a wall of the delegates entrance lobby to the General Assembly. It was donated by the Belgium Government, and designed by Pete Golfs.
My first glimpse of the United Nations Headquarters was a wee bit of a disappointment as the flags of the many nations weren't flying, the grounds were blocked to visitors, and the structure itself looked like it was in need of attention but once inside, the pluses far outweighed the minuses. The lobby is free to visitors and they were showing a terrific exhibit entitled "Cartoon Art for World Peace" the day I was there. Also in the lobby, on the east side, is the gorgeous Marc Chagall stained glass memorial to the UN's 2nd Secretary General, Dag Hammarskjold. Downstairs is an excellent gift shop, featuring UN souvenir items and fascinating handicrafts from around the world, plus a nice bookstore. There's also a coffee shop for re-hydrating and resting tired feet.
The UN has its own stamp that, by special arrangement, can only be used on mail posted from a UN facility so send the folks back home a postcard or, collectors, take one home for your book!
A rather sad reflection on the state of our world, especially for this icon of global peace, is the security check all must pass through to access the building. The UN has had its share of threats from persons or organizations opposed to its missions so it's an unfortunate necessity to keep its members and visitors safe.
If you can swing it, tours of the larger facility are available to ages 5 years and up ($12.50 for adults, less for seniors and children). The website has a lot of information on the scope of the UN's work, its history, current public exhibits, nice online tour and much more - click "About the United Nations" on the main page menu.
At the United Nations they are discussions the problems in the world, which direction the country(ies) should go to....
There are tours going to parts of the building. You will see some halls were these meetings are hold. If you are lucky, you will go in a hall were a meeting is happening. I had the change to see a meeting myself. It is really interesting to see it.
The guided tours are from Monday to Friday. Opening hours are 9.30am to 4.45pm. Tours in Enlgish are about every half hour. There are a few tours in other languages (check the website www.un.org/tours for these tours).
One should not miss this global tour-de-force of an organization when visiting New York. The UN complex is expansive and if you're in a rush, you can just take a photo of the main building outside.
I remembered my visits to the UN really well. On one visit, I lingered around and saw a small protest outside of older Korean men who served in the Vietnam War through the Korean government. I had spoken with some of them and had heard about the horrors of war, the demand for a more peaceful world, and justice for allies (i.e., the global cadre of military/technical support personnel of the US-backed incursion of Vietnam). There appeared to be many problems and I could only empathize with their concerns. Another visit had taken me to another UN building for a global discussion of women's issues. That was an interesting visit that allowed me to learn some of the problems.
Enjoy your visit to the UN and learn a lot from it!
I was staying at the east side of Midtown Manhattan so I was very close to the United Nations building that overlooks the East River. In fact it’s a building complex and the big building is the secretariar building while the headquarters building is next to it. The complex was built in 1949 and is considered “international territory”. If you go inside you will see 193 flags (192 United Nations members and the U.N. flag). There are also some nice gardens with some interesting sculptures like the “Knotted Gun”, “Let us beat swords into plowshares”.
If you don't have much time to spend in NY, choose other more interesting attractions and take pictures of the building from the boat on East river! :)
The UN building is a great place to get a behind the curtain type view of how the international community works. I plan on working for the UN in the future so this tour was very exciting for me. The tour highlights include a tour inside the Security Council chamber, in the trustee council chamber, inside the General Assembly hall ( I was super lucky and visited on the UNs birthday so they were preparing a huge party that night for all the staff and I was lucky because our guide let us listen to the orchestra and opera singer and it was amazing),gifts from other countries including gifts from Thailand etc, the Decolonization exhibit and on and on and on. I found one of the most fascinating exhibits was the one of nuclear arms and warheads. There is a statue of a woman holding a baby and it survived the blast in Hiroshima, one half of the statue is fine and the back side that was exposed was completely damaged and ripped apart. There are other great exhibits including one on peacekeepers as well as mosaic from Norman Rockwell. I highly recommend this tour because it was very educational.
for students like me studying to become a diplomat a visit to the U.N. headquarters is a must when visiting new york. it was a great feeling being able to walk through the halls of the U.N. headquarters knowing that it has been the site of a lot of significant events in recent history and knowing as well what the U.N strives to achieve for us. i was actually very lucky because i was able to go inside the U.N. headquarters as part of a conference as i was attending and to actually use the facilities of the general assembly hall was a heady feeling.
for those who would just like to take a tour guided tours are available everyday (if i'm not mistaken) from 9:30am - 4:45pm for a fee of $30 for adults and $8.50 for students with valid I.D. tours are in english (but other languages are also available) and leave every 30 minutes.
The complex includes a number of major buildings. While the Secretariat Tower is most predominantly featured in depictions of the headquarters, it also includes the domed General Assembly Hall, the Dag Hammarskjöld Library, as well as the Conference and Visitors Center, which is situated between the General Assembly and Secretariat buildings, and can be seen only from FDR Drive or the East River. Just inside the perimeter fence of the complex stands a line of flagpoles where the flags of all 192 UN member states, plus the UN flag, are flown in English alphabetical order.
It is located in the Turtle Bay neighborhood, on the east side of Midtown Manhattan, on spacious grounds overlooking the East River. Though it is in New York City, the land occupied by the United Nations Headquarters is considered international territory , and its borders are First Avenue west, East 42nd Street south, East 48th Street north and the East River east. FDR Drive passes underneath the Conference Building of the complex.
Guided tours of the United Nations operate daily from the General Assembly Public Lobby. An international staff explains the work of the United Nations and its related organizations, while taking visitors to some of the main Council Chambers and the General Assembly Hall. The tour also features art and other objects of interest donated by Member States. At the Public Inquiries Unit, located in the public concourse, visitors can obtain additional information materials relating to the United Nations and its agencies. The United Nations postal counter - where visitors can buy UN stamps - a UN book store, gift shops, and a coffee shop are also located in the public concourse.
In 1946, the United Nations were looking for a location for their new headquarters in New York. The original plan was to use the grounds of the 1939 World Fair in Flushing Meadow Park in Queens. But when a project known as X-City on Manhattan's eastern border failed to materialize, John D. Rockefeller Jr. bought the 18 acre plot and donated it to United Nations. This site was then used to build the UN's headquarters. The whole area was converted into international territory and officially does not belong to the United States.It s very sad that the organisation was not very successful to build peace in the world.And we are still killing each other in every place of teh world.
UN is located around 1st and 44street, you cant miss it. The tourguide told us once you enter the UN area, its considered international terroritory. The tour is $ 13 per adult ( and i think $ 8 or $9 for child ) and its well worth it. It lasts one hour. They keep an eye on everyone to make sure no one strays, for security reasons. They take you to the main council rooms and its interesting to hear the history behind the building design and the art and the room set up, who sits at what table and why,etc. Lots of interesting facts.
The UN guided tour was way more interesting than I was expecting, and it made me realize I didn't know as much as I thought I did about it!
We got to sit in all three council's meeting rooms as well as in the general assembly room, which in itself is an experience. The building is filled with interesting and impressive works of art with particular meanings.
The visit takes about 45 minutes to an hour, and it's really worth it, trust me!