Visit the UN Headquarters
United Nations Day, October 24th, was first declared in 1948 and honors the anniversary of the effective date of the Charter of the United Nations. This day is devoted to promoting and celebrating the aims and achievements of the U.N.
The United Nations Headquarters is located along the East River, at 760 United Nations Plaza, on First Avenue between 42nd & 48th (map it). The complex consists of the Secretariat Building, the domed General Assembly Building, the Conference Building, and the Hammarskjold Library, and is considered international territory. Bank Ki-moon of South Korea is the current Secretary-General of the U.N. and then are currently 191 Member Nations.
Guided public tours of the complex are offered. Visitors enter the headquarters building at First Avenue & 46th and start the tour with a brief familiarization of the Organization and its structure. A guide will then take you through a visit to the chambers of the Security Council, the Trusteeship Council, and the Economic and Social Council, providing information about what occurs in each of the rooms. Visitors also get a look at a fabulous art collection, all donated by members of the U.N., that includes paintings, murals, tapestries, mosaics, and sculptures.
The tours end with a stop in the General Assembly Hall (in the photo above), the largest room, and the one we must frequently see in televised events. The impressiveness of what happens here is not lost on me.
Post-tour time can be allocated for shopping at the Postal Counter (commemorative stamps), the Bookshop, and the Gift Shop. While I generally avoid most gift shops, there was plenty of interesting stuff here.
The guided tours are conducted seven days a week, except in January and February when there are no weekend tours. Tours are offered 9:30 am – 4:45 pm, Monday – Friday, and 10 am – 4:30 pm on Saturday and Sundays. The tours last about an hour. You can check the tour information line at (212)963-TOUR (8687) for up-to-date information, as hours can change.
Tour prices are $13 or adults, $9 for seniors, $8.50 for students (under age 30) with ID, $7 for children ages 5 – 14. For safety reasons, children under age 5 are not admitted on tour.
The UN Headquarters can be reached by subway: 4, 5, 6, or 7 to Grand Central Station, then walk to 42nd & First.
If you can’t make it to New York City, you can take an online tour here.
Does the Headquarters Buildings look familiar? You may have seen it featured in movies: North by Northwest, Live and Let Die, The Peacemaker and The Interpreter, the last of which was filmed in the complex.