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Fodor's New York City 2014
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United Nations Headquarters
United Nations Headquarters Review
Officially an "international zone" and not part of the United States, the U.N. Headquarters is a working symbol of global cooperation. Built between 1947 and 1961, the headquarters sits on a lushly landscaped, 18-acre tract on the East River, fronted by flags of member nations. The main reason to visit is the 45-minute guided tour (given in 20 languages; reservations can be made through the website), which includes the General Assembly and major council chambers, though some rooms may be closed on any given day. Arrive 30 minutes before the start of your tour for security screening. Bring proper ID. The newly renovated Conference Building, which includes the original chambers of the Security Council, the Trusteeship Council, and the Economic and Social Council, as well as gifts from U.N. Member States like the mosaic representation of Norman Rockwell's "The Golden Rule" are all back on public display. The tour also includes displays on war, peacekeeping, nuclear nonproliferation, human rights, and refugees, and passes corridors overflowing with imaginatively diverse artwork. Free tickets to assemblies are sometimes available on a first-come, first-served basis before sessions begin; pick them up in the General Assembly lobby. If you just want to wander around, the grounds include a beautiful riverside promenade, a rose garden with 1,400 specimens, and sculptures donated by member nations. The complex's buildings (the slim, 505-foot-tall green-glass Secretariat Building; the much smaller, domed General Assembly Building (reopening after renovation in fall 2014); and the Dag Hammarskjöld Library) evoke the influential French modernist Le Corbusier (who was on the team of architects that designed the complex), and the surrounding park and plaza remain visionary. During renovations, the visitors' gate is temporarily located on 47th Street and 1st Avenue. Call before you visit to confirm. The public concourse has a coffee shop, gift shops, a bookstore, and a post office where you can mail letters with U.N. stamps.
- Address: Visitor entrance, 1st Ave. at E. 46th St., Midtown East, New York, NY 10017 | Map It
- Phone: 212/963–8687
- Cost: Tour $16 (plus $2 service charge for online ticketing)
- Hours: Tours weekdays 9:45–4:15; tours in English leave every 30 mins; for other languages, check schedule online
- Website: visit.un.org
- Subway: 4, 5, 6, 7, S to 42nd St./Grand Central.
- Location: Midtown East
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