United Nations Headquarters in New York City, view from Roosevelt Island

Visiting the United Nations Headquarters is a little like visiting 192 countries all in one locations.  Located along the East River, at 760 United Nations Plaza, on First Avenue between 42nd & 48th in New York City, the  complex consists of the Secretariat Building, the domed General Assembly Building, the Conference Building and the Hammarskjold Library.  Although located well with the city limits, the complex is considered international territory, and, exception by agreement, is subject to the laws and jurisdiction of the United States, the state of New York, and local laws.

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 then takes 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.  United Nations 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 ends with a stop in the General Assembly Hall, the largest room, and the one we must frequently see in televised events.  The impressiveness of what happens here is not lost on me.

Be sure to allocate some post-tour time for browsing at the Postal Counter where you can buy a variety of commemorative stamps, the Bookshop, and the Gift Shop.  While I generally avoid most gift shops, there was plenty of interesting stuff here, and it’s well worth spending the time to browse.

The guided tours are conducted Monday through Friday, from 9:30 am – 4:45 pm, and last 45 minutes.  Check the tour information line as meetings and security can result in the complex closing with very little notice.  The tour line will have up-to-date information at 212-963-TOUR (8687).

Like most places in Manhattan, you’ll want to take public transportation. The United Nations Headquarters building is accessible via the New York subway system and bus system. You can take the 4, 5, 6, or 7 subway to Grand Central Station, then walk to 42nd & First.  Or take the bus, M15, 27, 42, or 104.

Manhattan’s international flavor isn’t limited to the United Nations Headquarters, it continues all over the city.  It seems like every single one of those 192 countries is represented in a restaurant, cafe, or bistro somewhere in the city.

Consider enhancing your sightseeing experience with a food experience, discovering authentic local foods and shops in the city’s neighborhoods, as you take in top attractions.  Whether you’re adventurous, or prefer the common, sightseeing always goes better with food!

Phone credit: By Neptuul (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons