New York day 3: The United Nations

United Nations headquarters in New York

As I only had one short week in New York, I knew I had to fit in as much as I possibly could in that time.  The most valuable tool I used during the week was Frommers and their three day itineraries [1¦2¦3].  Can I just advise that if you do use the itineraries, go through them before you land in the city and mark of what days the attractions are closed?  This is because unlike London, the museums are not open everyday (and they are not free either!).  If I remember correctly, the CityPass does tell you opening times and days on the backs of each ticket, so check that out too.

“2.00pm [Tuesday 23 June 2009] Frommers! You're driving me mad! Between Frommers and CityPass, I landed up at the Met on a Monday and MoMA on a Tuesday without realising they are closed on those days.  Unsure how to plan days now! Think I’ll go to the UN now which wasn’t on the schedule, then do the rest of day 1 except for MoMA.

Another thing Frommers neglected to mention in its recommendation of the Circle Line Tour is that it only runs at 11.30am and 3.30pm. Considering it takes two hours, that takes a huge chunk out of your morning!

Ha! This bus has a sun roof! How bizarre. And buses and subways trains have air-conditioning here which is pretty cool.  More and more I’m impressed by how this city blows England out of the water when it comes to advancement an technology”

It is free to get into the United Nations complex but they have stringent security procedures that put airport procedures in the shade! You can't get into the complex when there are major conferences and councils in session.

The South African flag flying third from the left

Once you get into the UN, there isn't much to do if you don't go on a guided tour. You can visit the coffee shop or the book shops but that is it.

"3.00pm  Arrived at United Nations. Decided to spend my dinner money on a $12.50 tour. I am visitor number 1,055,059 on what I believe is the 30th tour of the day.  The tour only starts in 45 minutes but UN is closed [to the public] for the rest of the week (in session) and I think it is vitally important for me to go.  Now after walking easily 4+ miles yesterday and already at least two today, I’ve decided to just rest until it is time for the tour.  It doesn’t sound a lot but I’d like to see my friends walking for over an hour at a time! Plus, I’m not in sensible shoes today.

My, my, my.  So I’m at the UN. Perhaps this visit can tell me once and for all if the UN is relevant or just a colossal, expensive bureaucracy?

The tour guides here are scary and there are a lot of power suits around.  I still wish I had some sort of relevant skill and could work for the UN”. 

The guided tour was really informative and interesting.  I won’t bore you with all the details but I have begun to post about everything I learned over at my politics blog.  You can read about the United Nations posts here if you want.

The last four Secretary Generals of the UN:
Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Kofi Annan and Ban Ki-moon


If you’re ever in New York and if you have an interest in Human Rights or international relations, then I would absolutely recommend a tour of the United Nations.  In fact, I would certainly go again next time I visit.

Sfera con sfera // Sphere within sphere

12 comments on "New York day 3: The United Nations"
  1. Very nice to have a visit into the UNO building. But I think some more informastion could be addeed,like-translation facilities available, different branches of UNO, voting system etc.A good effort

  2. @ Dr Padmaprasad: Hi, thanks for taking the time to comment. Like I said, the work that I have done so far on the UN is indeed available at my other blog under the tag "UN": link. It's just a bit in depth for this blog which is more about travel than the inner workings of world organisations.

  3. I toured the UN building a few years back. It was a really a great experience. Your political blog looks great.

  4. Frommers, huh?

    Yeah, it's a great travel company.

  5. I wish I'd had time to go to the UN last time we were in NYC. Maybe next time.

    BTW, I think free museums trump air conditioned subways *any* day of the week--so England still beats us on that count 8-).

  6. You know, for all the times I've been to NYC, I've actually visited the UN. It's always been a blur from a taxi...

    And yes, most museums in the US charge for do most in Europe. I miss England and it's free museums. Whenever we have friends traveling there we tell them to see the museums...they are free and well done.

  7. Thank you Emm, with you I'm visiting New York and...well, I like it! :)
    Have a nice week, Italo.

  8. See and I did not even know there was UN bldg in NY. I feel stupid now :o)

  9. Hi Emm!
    Even with Frommers (an old companion when Europe was on 5 (five) USDollars a Day...), it's necessary to be aware of tourist traps... ;))
    UN is nice, but you have to take the guided tour (or be there for work; a nightmare to get in, anyway...;))!
    Meanwhile Blogtrotter is back to the «urban jungle», which Reykjavik is far from being... ;)). Enjoy and have a fabulous week!!

  10. I've never been here, but next time I'm in NYC I will check it out. Thanks for the tour emm

  11. @ LouDuk: hey there, it's a great tour, isn't it?

    @ Celtic Traveller: Well, I had to start somewhere!

    @ Kathy: Ha! As I read this, I realised I can only possibly answer if I get off my lazy butt and start going to museums again. It has been WAY too long.

    @ Cowgirl: Quite a few were free in South Africa too so I was a bit naive when I got to New York but more than willing to pay!

    @ Italo: It is a pleasure! With you I visit Italy.

    @ Ivanhoe: :) Well, not everyone can have a morbid curiosity like me and actually go looking for it!

    @ GMG: You should know that I will always head straight for the tourist traps. I do call myself the "eternal tourist" after all, not the "seasoned traveller looking for off the beaten path locations"!!!

  12. @ Lauren: I'm so sorry! I clicked enter without seeing your comment - did not mean to leave you out. Given your interests, I think you would enjoy the UN, especially all of the gifted works of art and artifacts from the various nations.


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