Let me tell you about the underrated New York experience: The United Nations. New York and Underrated in the same sentence? I know, right. New York City is one of the most hyped-up travel destinations in the whole world, and for good reason. The city lights, the innumerable opportunities, the huge skyscrapers, what’s not to love? I’ve been a fan of the big apple for a few years now, and I was fortunate to visit there a couple of times. I travelled to New York City to attend a Model UN conference as an organizer (which helped me finesse that free accommodation *wink*). Of course, visiting New York for a Model UN conference meant the compulsory visit to the UN, in fact we got to enter inside the General Assembly Hall and have a full tour of the place! Now, when you’re visiting New York, the UN might not be the top destination on your list. Times Square, Broadway shows may sound more fun. But don’t dismiss the UN just yet! The views you see right after stepping into the UN are magnificent! You see a whole skyline, and if you’re lucky, clear blue skies overlooking the East River. And at night, you get to see Long Island as the city lights shine, and the iconic Pepsi Cola sign in bright red.
Now if that’s not enough to convince you, inside the building there’s some pretty cool stuff too. The General Assembly hall is fascinating. The hall is huge, with large artworks on both sides and a gold podium front and center. Circular lights fill the sky-high ceiling. When I was sitting in the GA hall I found my eyes frequently roaming around the room in awe. Such a complex place to be. You start to think about all of the important decisions that were made here and all of the significant world leaders that were present. Being in the United Nations can also remind you of how corrupt the world is, and how often corrupt decisions are also taken within the United Nations. However, it also gives you hope that maybe you’ll be the one to change that since you were able to make it this far.
When I was staying in New York I stayed at the Grand Hyatt hotel in Midtown (conference benefits $$), so my transportation to the UN was by foot, and the walk is pretty great. It is quite a short walk, so you get to enjoy everything around you without your feet aching. Once you get closer to the UN you can almost feel it because you start seeing the East River, and the environment around you starts to clear up from the tall buildings and you start to actually see the sky.
Tips: Get to the UN early, because by mid-day to the evening it starts getting very crowded.
Also, bring your passport/US ID with you! That’s how you can get admission to the building. However, make sure to do your search and see if you need to book beforehand and what times the General Assembly hall is available. Security is pretty strict as well (airport-level strict) so make sure you follow all of the guidelines. And finally, don’t forget to hit the gift shop and bring some souvenirs back to your family and friends! Enjoy New York y’all.
It’s a lifetime location.