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I was surpised, however, at the rather out-of-date furnishings and carpets at this institution.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.
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.
Strictly speaking this tip should not come under ' New York' at all, as the eighteen acres of the UN are not part of New York, or indeed of the U.S.A - they are the joint property of the 191 member nations of the United Nations, whose flags fly on these six blocks of prime Manhattan real estate.
The 39 storey monolith known as the Secretariat Building is probably the most well known building, and the tours ($10) show you all the important features of it. I especially liked the information about which country provided which furnishing for the building. There are also quite a number of important pieces of modern art to see as you move round the place.
As an aside I found these comment made by children who toured the UN on the website listed below.
"What happens if a diplomat with very large ears cannot put on the earphones?"
"How many dinosaurs would fit in this room?"
Upon seeing the country sign of JORDAN, a youngster exclaimed: "Does Michael Jordan have a seat here?"
Again another 'must see' place. Charles wasn't so interested in visiting it, but when we got there he catually really enjoyed it. You could take a tour of the building to certain rooms but it was about $14 and half of the rooms shown on the leaflet didnt interest me in looking at. I just wanted to go to the General Assembly Hall where they have all the main gatherings. The rooms included The Security Council Chamber, The Trusteeship Council Chamber, The Economic and Social Council Chamber and various exhibits.We also didnt have very much time as we still had to get up to Central Park, but looking around the places we were allowed to be in was very interesting. There was a photo exhibition at the time and most photos were from Peru and China...again...she's following me everywhere...and they wrre really captivating.
Guided Tours are:
Mon-Fri 0930 - 1645
Sat-Sun 1000 - 1630
(Jan & Feb Mon-Fri ONLY)
Tours in English leave about every half hour and last for 45mins to 1 hour.
Children under five years old are not permitted on the tour.
The UN was founded in 1951 and has its headquarters in New York... well, sort of. The site is not on US territory, but an "international zone" which even has its own stamps and post office.
The Security Council, Trusteeship Council and Social/Economic Council gather here. In the General Assembly, which is the only organ to have representatives of all member states, a 3 month session is held each year from mid September to mid December.
Flags of the members fly in front of the complex on the East River side.
The largest building in the complex is the secretariat building (see pic) where all the administrative work is carried out.
Among the many works of art on the premises you'l find the bronze statue "Let Us Beat Swords Into Plowshares" , the sculpture "Non Violence" (a gun with a knot in its barrel), a large stained glass window by Marc Chagall, "The Golden Rule", a large mosaic by Norman Rockwell, and the Japanese gift "The Peace Bell", cast from the coins of 60 nations and hanging from a Pagoda shaped like a Shinto Shrine.
The United Nations Building is in quite a pretty area, and is surrounded by flags of all its member states.
As it's one of the world's most influential organisations it's definitely worth visiting its building in New York.
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.
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! :)
Though I personally have little respect for the UN these days, their world headquarters is interesting to see.
Because of the realities of 9/11, security is very tight but if you're willing to wait tours are available.
Tours are offered 7 days a week (so you could do this on a Sunday when some other places of interest might be closed) and admission in 2006 is $12 adult, $7 child. You get to see and learn about the General Assembly and Security Council halls and the general purpose and workings of the UN.
Additional Tip #1: Across the Street @ 42 St there is a small park with a large stone wall with words engraved from the Bible, book of Isaiah. So far the UN has not lived up to those words, but that's a whole different topic.
Additional Tip #2: In the basement you will find the UN Gift Shop. Besides UN-themed gifts, there are handicrafts offered from most of the individual member nations. So you could purchase a souvenier from a distant country without going there. Prices aren't exactly cheap but it's a lot cheaper than a plane ticket. And some of the items are very unique.
I thought that the UN was a pretty cool place a way back when the first time I checked it out. I was a fan of flags and as such it thrilled me. Whether you like or dislike the politics of what goes on inside the fact that it goes on inside is pretty cool.
Do check it out. I havent been in about 14 years so I dont know if tours are still available.
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.
The United Nations Building is set in really nice grounds with some interesting statues and monuments, which were gifts from the various member states.
Once inside the building you can take a tour, which takes you round all of the various meeting rooms used by the delegates, including the Security Council Chambers.
The tourguides know the history of the UN and share many interesting facts along the way.
As well as the meeting rooms you also see various other gifts from member states and artefacts such as items which were damaged by the chernobyl nuclear disaster, and a variety of aniti personal landmines.
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.
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.