United Nations

A true New York icon, a concave row of flags representing the U.N.’s 192 member nations spans this historical international organization and independent territory.

About the United Nations NYC: The United Nations was founded in 1945 after the Second World War by 51 countries committed to maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations and promoting social progress, better living standards and human rights. The United Nations Headquarters stands on the eastern shore of Manhattan Island, along the banks of New York City’s East River as a symbol of peace and a beacon of hope. To its 18 acres come representatives of the earth’s seven billion people, to discuss and decide issues of peace, justice and economic and social well being. Every year, around 1 million visitors from around the world come to the U.N. for a guided tour or to see an exhibit. The United Nations tour guides are called the United Nations Ambassadors to the public, because of their direct contact with the people who visit the Organization every day. The guides play a pivotal role in shaping people’s perceptions of the work of the United Nations NYC. They are young people, from all over the world with different backgrounds, who share a common interest in international issues. Throughout the year, the guides are briefed every morning on the latest developments regarding the work of the Organization in order to keep their presentations current. The guides are briefed on a regular basis by United Nations staff members who are experts in their fields and provide an in-depth view on such topics as landmines, children and armed conflict and global warming, among others. Every day, the United Nations guides enrich their own experience by meeting groups of people as varied as 6th-graders from the Bronx, Yanomani people from the Brazilian Amazon, West Point Cadets, Girl Scouts and New Zealand cattle breeders. Guided tours of the United Nations Headquarters in New York City have been offered to the general public since November 1952. Before the United Nations opened its doors in New York City, guided tours were conducted by volunteers at Lake Success, New York, the temporary home of the United Nations from 1946 to 1951. The first corps of 10 guides was hired by the American Association for the United Nations, which ran the tour operation until 1955, when guided tours were incorporated into the United Nations Office of Public Information. The United Nations buildings were, at that time, a new addition to the New York City skyline, and had quickly become one of the city’s most popular attractions, alongside the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty and Rockefeller Center. Since 1952, approximately 39 million visitors have taken the tour. The traffic on the tour route reached its peak in 1964 with over 1.2 million visitors. The attendance now fluctuates around 1 million visitors a year, with May usually being the busiest month due to the large number of school groups.

Location

  • 42nd Street at First Avenue, New York, NY 10017