Rising by the shores of the East River along the shores of Manhattan is a modernist building that has long been one of the most popular landmarks of New York City since it was completed in 1952. Not only is it an immensely well-known landmark within the city, but it is also the place where some of the most important moments of modern history has transpired. That place is none other than the Secretariat Tower, one of the four buildings standing within the 18-acre complex known as the United Nations Headquarters in New York City.
Not a lot of people may know it but the United Nations Headquarters is one of the most visited tourist attractions of the City of New York. Almost one million people participate in its guided tours every year, and over the years, the United Nations tour guides have ushered some 37 million tourists through the historic halls of the complex since 1952. The United Nations’ Tours is probably one of the most important activities regularly conducted and managed by the United Nations Office of Public Information. The UN tour guides are referred to as the United Nations’ Ambassadors to the public.
Why are millions of visitors to New York City compelled to visit the United Nations’ complex every year? The reason behind this is very simple. The United Nations Headquarters is where many significant events in man’s modern history have occurred. This is the place where so many international issues affecting the lives of millions of people across the globe are handled, debated on and decided upon. Though the location of the headquarters is New York City, it is an international territory and it is one of the few places in the world where people of different races and nationalities come together.
What can you expect when participating in a guided tour of the United Nations Headquarters? Each tour guide will lead visitors to the many different council rooms of the complex, starting with the halls of the Security Council, the Trusteeship Council, and the Economic and Social Council. As the visitors come to each room, their tour guides explain the functions of each council and how they are connected with the other agencies operating within the umbrella of the United Nations.
Following this is a visit to the many exhibits delineating the achievements of the United Nations throughout the years and the issues in which the organization is involved. These exhibits touch a lot of activities that form the core of the United Nations such as peacekeeping, decolonization and disarmament. The tour guides also take the visitors through an art gallery showcasing works from the different member-countries of the United Nations. The art collection includes murals, tapestries, mosaics and sculpture.
The last leg of the tour is a visit to the General Assembly Hall, regarded to be the most well-known room in the entire complex. After this, the visitors are then led to the Public Concourse, where they can buy stamps, books and souvenirs from the UN Postal Counter and the complex’s bookshop and gift shop. They can also take refreshments in the coffee shop located there.
The UN tours are held seven days a week, with the exception of holidays and special events within the complex. The tours leave the meeting point every thirty minutes and last forty-five minutes or so.