Friday, June 16, 2017

Mini Travel Log: New York, USA (4)

Instead of the usual Statue of Liberty mainstream tour, this time I took the road lesser travelled. I explored to the east side of Manhattan. Right from midtown Times Square, I walked east until I reached the United Nations Headquarters. One would wonder such important building where world leaders meet is not open for any visitors due security reasons. I was wrong when I spotted the visitor pass office opposite the UN building. I took the chance to walk in and was happy to discover that the UN building does open for visitors. One only needs to provide an ID or passport for on-the-spot pass approval. However do note that on certain days, the building will be locked down from any visitors when there are any high level meetings between important world leaders. You are advised to check the UN website here: for dates of closure and also online ticket purchase if you would like.

After going through security checks at the main gate, you are free to roam around the compound of General Assembly area. Inside the General Assembly building, you need to purchase the guided tour ticket for visit to the meeting rooms. Limited tickets are on sale at the counter for different timings and languages. Therefore you are advised to purchase them online or you could arrive earlier to purchase at the counter before it runs out of tickets of your preferred timing or language.

The tour lasts about 40 minutes and depending on your luck, some meeting rooms are not open to the public if there is a meeting in progress. I was very lucky as the security council meeting had just concluded and I managed to visit the iconic Security Council room as well as the General Assembly room.

I spent the rest of the afternoon by taking the Roosevelt tram to Roosevelt island. The tram station is just a few blocks away from the UN building. This iconic tram ride is one of the recommended attraction for visitors to New York. On Roosevelt island, you'll get a scenic skyline view of East Manhattan including the UN building. You can have a nice stroll at Four Freedoms Park at the south end tip of Roosevelt island. If you can spend longer time here, you'll get to watch the sunset as the city lights come to life.

Also on this island at the southern tip, there is a Smallpox Hospital ruin which is also a heritage site. Some say this is the most haunted place in New York. So go visit if you dare. I was there on Tuesday and unfortunately it was closed. It is only open on Wednesdays till Sundays.

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Related link: Mini Travel Log: New York, USA (1)
Related link: Mini Travel Log: New York, USA (2)
Related link: Mini Travel Log: New York, USA (3) 

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