The United Nations Headquarters is definitely one of the most important landmarks in New York City. Located on the right side of 1st Avenue between East 42nd and 48th Street, this 18 acre land was donated by John Rockefeller Jr. in the late 1940’s, which allowed the organization to move into Manhattan. This scraped the UN’s original plan of placing its headquarters in Queens. The construction of the complex began in 1949 with the Secretariat, followed by the General Assembly in 1952 and the Dag Hammarskjold Library in 1961.
Designed by a group of international architects known as the UN Board of Design,
The Secretariat is the largest facility at the UN complex in New York. The construction only took 2 years to complete, and it is now home to the organization’s principal organ, known as the Secretariat. This UN department is responsible for the organization’s administrative duties.
The General Assembly building is where all UN member state representatives meet up and make decisions on various matters. They talk about numerous topics that range from issues related to the UN body itself to problems that are unrecognized by the organization but still exist in today’s society. In my opinion, the coolest part of this building comes from the flags that are lined up in parallel to 1st Avenue. Representing all members of the UN, they are sorted out in alphabetical order, starting from Afghanistan and ending with Zimbabwe. They are raised up at 8AM and lowered at 4PM.
As the name already implicates, the library was named after Dag Hammarskjold, the 2nd UN Secretary General from Norway. He died in a plane crash in Africa in 1961. In order to honor his dedication towards promoting world peace, in 1961 the city of New York named a park after him as well. The park is known as the Dag
Hammarskjold Plaza and it is located right across from the UN Headquarters. (On
East 47th Street between 1st and2nd Avenue) The park nowadays is known for hosting public demonstrations. It also hosts a lot of public events since there is a non profit organization dedicated towards the park. There are a couple of exciting events planned for the park this summer such as an auto showcase on June 28th and National Night Out Against Crime on August 9th, so if anyone has time it would be an awesome experience to check it out!
If anyone wants a quick tour of the world, definitely visit the UN Headquarters. I believe that this area, including the parks around the complex, is definitely for tourists since the area has a lot of history to it. Even though the UN complex has high security measures due to the nature of hosting an intergovernmental organization, parts of the complex are open for visitors from 9:30AM to4:45PM. In addition, once inside the Visitors’ Lobby there is a guided tour available in various languages for 9 dollars. It will be a great experience to find out how nations work with each other to promote well being of the world. Moreover, there is a gift shop downstairs as well as a post office. The post office is definitely worth visiting because it has stamps that no other place in the world does. This is due to the fact that the UN complex is an international territory. For security reasons, it has its own police, fire and postal department. Lots of tourists send postcards to their families and friends with unique UN stamps, so definitely try that out as well.
For my walking tour, I also had to walk on 2nd Avenue from 47thth to 53rd Street. To be honest, this area was dead and boring. The area only had residential buildings without any landmarks. So for future reference to whoever wants a tour around this area, do NOT go there.