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New York Diary: Guided Tour in the UN Headquarters at New York City

In school we all learn about United Nations Organization (UNO) in the social text books. During my school days, I was much fascinated seeing the picture of the UN building in the text books. I was too excited when I got the opportunity of seeing the cuboid block of this building from a distance - a building with which I used to see in our school social text books. I was more thrilled on entering into the UN Headquarters (NUHQ) and experiencing the guided audio tour.
View of UN building

We got the wonderful opportunity of experiencing the guided tour in the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York City (NYC). It was rather a thrilling experience to go round the UN headquarters. It was a 45-minute guided tour and we, the visitors, can interact with our tour guides in one of the 12 languages.

You can opt for one of the 6 official languages of the UN viz Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. You can even opt for other languages like German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean and Portuguese subject to availability of the tour guides in those languages.

It was a bright sunny day and we reached the UN Headquarters in the afternoon. It is located along the East River at 1st Avenue between 42nd and 48th Street. After clearing the security check, we entered the lobby of the UN building. Due to high security reason, you need to produce your govt-issued photo identity for entering into the UN Headquarters. This rule is not applicable for under 18.

Note: You need to get security pass at Visitor's Check-in Office at 801 First Avenue in the corner of 45th Street. After getting the security pass, you should go through security screening and then enter into UNHQ . The UN Visitor's Entrance is at 46th Street and 1st Avenue.

Guided / Audio tours are offered only on weekdays between 9.45 a.m to 4.45 p.m (subject to changes in timing) and all the visitors must exit the building by 5.30 p.m. UN building will remain closed on official holidays which include New Year's Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, U.S Independence Day (July 4th), Eid-ul-Fitr, U.S Labor Day, Eid-ul-Adha, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

On entering into the UN lobby, we proceeded to the cashier's desk and got the tickets. Currently, the ticket cost is $22 per head for adults. We opted for English guided tour. As the tour was to start after 30 minutes, we just went round the lobby and clicked few snaps. You can even make online purchase of ticket but it will cost extra $2. You can even go on group tours, in case there are 40 and above members in your group.

Note: For security reasons, children below 5 years are not allowed.

On the lower level of the lobby there is a gift shop and as always I got attracted towards the gift shop. There is a whole lot of UN Souvenirs and various other gift items with UN emblem. After going through the shop, I picked one blue color coffee mug with the UN emblem on it.
Image source & courtesy: http://ungiftcentre.com/
We also had a look at the UN Bookshop and UNICEF Gift shop. By the time we finished our shopping, it was already time for our tour and we gathered at the specified spot. We were welcome by our tour guide who provide us handsets (receivers) to listen her commentary. Our guided audio tour began and the guide started taking us round the corridors of international diplomacy. All through she was explaining and we learnt more on the history and structure of UNO. Our tour guide gave a nice explanation on different UN organs like the Security Council and General Assembly.

Well, I forgot to mention about the beautiful model of UN building with the small flags of all the member countries where from we started our tour and followed our guide silently listening to her informative talk all the way.
Model of UN building
The audio tour was quite interesting and informative too. The tour guide explained well about the role and operation of UN. Unfortunately, there was a high level meeting going on in the General Assembly Hall and so we were not allowed to enter the hall. We were just allowed to walk silently from the rear end of the General Assembly Hall and so we got the opportunity of just viewing the meeting from the extreme rear end.

UN General Assembly Hall is the place where all the 193 member countries convene and have important meetings / discussions on global issues. From here we proceed to the Human Rights section where we could view articles of Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Then we halted for a while at the disarmament section. Here I was thrilled to see the remnants of nuclear explosion in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Here we even saw various landmines of different shapes and types.

Finally, the audio tour ended after around 45 minutes. I found it quite useful and interesting. In fact I was very much excited on seeing and clicking the UN building. It was the same building which was there in my social text book during my schooling. I was equally thrilled on entering into the UN building as I got the chance of entering into the building that I had learnt in social studies during my schooling. I also have a keen interest in GK and Quiz, so I found this guided tour worth a visit which was educative too. It would be really nice, if the youth visit this guided tour to experience something different and get to know a lot on how UN works for world peace.

The guided audio tour in the UN headquarters in New York city is worth visiting and is one of the must-see places. It gives you an exciting opportunity to discover the United Nations Headquarters through guided / audio tours. This 45 minute tour was in fact an educative, informative and interesting one. It was a once in a life-time experience which remains fresh in memories.

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