NYC - United Nations Edition







So what happened is I'm actually in Las Vegas (surprise!), have been for a good few days actually, and I was looking through my photos and realised (with shock and horror) that there were like 6 blog posts' worth of New York City things to get through.



My favourite way to go, I reckon.


There's is lots to get through.


TO THE DEATH! I mean, um...

So. You all know what fangirling is, yes? Or fan...boying, as the case may be. When you get that wave of exhilarated shock and undiluted happiness at the realisation you're in the presence of somewhere, something, or someone that you admire beyond much else. It may happen at a movie premiere, backstage at a concert or at the practise session of your favourite football team.

For some of us, that happens at the United Nations on East 45th St, New York City.

Cue choir of angels, plus excess bouncing on the spot.



Flags of all the member states, all 193 of them. In alphabetical order, we found out later (duhhh) which means we had to walk about 4 blocks to get to Australia. Dammit, Australia. 
There's Australia! ....somewhere there. There wasn't much wind :( 

Another Trump tower. 

Surrounding things.

After airport-level security things: inside!

The best thing about doing America and all these shiny things right in the middle of Winter is no one around! Sometimes it's been odd, but mainly it's been short queues and not many people, except an extreme overload of Australian tourists. Seriously, sometimes I wonder if I'm even in America. GO BACK TO WHERE YOU COME FROM, YOU BASTARDS. 

Anyway, back to excellent things:

So the big building that is iconic of the UN is apparently just the secretary's offices, and where all the action happens is in a long, domed building underneath it. Here it is, all lofty and light and airy, with sculptures and exhibitions and information from all over the world, including things about what the UN's up to, facts and figures, artwork, graphs etc. All very educational. 

Silk tapestries of all the Secretary Generals of the UN, gifts from Iran. Right now it's Ban Ki-moon from South Korea, who seems like a top bloke. Look, I'm practically giving you your own tour of the United Nations, aren't you lucky and  educated!

So. Tours of the UN go pretty often, in all different languages; we only had to wait about 15 minutes. Our group was only about 12 people, and we all got official tag things.

Mine had my lucky number :D

First stop: the UN Security Council Chamber.






So the Security Council is where serious shizzle goes down - resolutions passed here are the only ones actually enforceable by law. Here's where they respond to emergency situations; it's in this room sanctions and solutions for everything from the Suez Crisis in 1956 to the Syrian conflict last year are discussed and passed. 

There are five permanent members - the US, UK, Russia, France and China - and ten temporary states who are elected into two year stints each, so right now: Luxemboug, Togo, Pakistan, Korea, Rwanda, Pakistan, Guatemala, Azerbaijan, Argentina aaaaaaand Australia! 


Outside again and upstairs - 

And into the General Assembly. Ha. Hahahahahaha. I'm okay. Let's go.


Abstract art - the point is everyone interprets it in their own way, therefore it belongs to and represents everyone who looks at it. Oooh. 

Seats for important people. 

With glass for media, without glass for interpreters (i.e. future me). 

Hello again!

The countries are all set out in alphabetical order, but so Afghanistan isn't always in the bottom corner and Zimbabwe constantly in the very back, every year they pull a country out of a hat and they sit in the bottom left, and it goes in order from there. This year: Italy's in the very back, meaning who got picked out of the hat?  Guess? Jamaica! Nice work, dear reader. You're so clever. 

Fun fact: the Vatican (technically a country, remember) has a seat - they don't get a vote, but they're allowed to speak. They're called "The Holy See" which I find moderately amusing, and extra so because this year they're right next to Italy way up the back. 

Excited Lu.

Excited Ellie. 

After seeing these two main and epic halls, our guide gave us a bit of a tour of all the things behind them, with lots of information on the organisation and what they do etc .

The UN was founded right after the Second World War, where hundreds of countries got together to quite literally make sure that crap never, ever, ever happened on that catastrophic scale ever, ever again. 

So all they do is revolved around assuring world peace in some way or another. A lot of that has to do with reducing the amount of weapons and arms in the world.

In order to kind of demonstrate this mission, they have displays of these weapons; all the kinds of landmines, for example, as well as artefacts donated by Japan of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Radiation damage on a stone statue 500m from the epicentre of an atomic bomb.

All the clauses in the Declaration of Human Rights, by a Brazilian artist done in the style of children's artwork.

Gift to the UN from Thailand and Cambodia.

Tapestry from Belarus depicting Chernobyl. 

Les Casques Bleus. 

The UN's International force, made up of many nations' volunteering their own forces to put into action UN resolutions and sanctions. 

Temporary classrooms - about $100, and can sustain a class of kids for over half a year.

Beautiful photo on the wall - outlining importance of health and education.

Outside again -

Gift shop time. 

This was in a book about Autism, with quotes and self portraits from celebrities, compiled by Kate Winslet; this one was my favourite, and worthy of note. 

Oh, you.

Previously unknown: the UN has a neutral international mail service. Is this its only post box in the world? Possibly.

Fun fact: when  you're at the UN headquarters, you're officially on neutral, international territory; you're no longer in the US. 

Outside outside: 

That was your tour, thanks for coming along.


That was just the morning of that day. Hahahaha!

Don't worry, just a bit of a wander around.

First, back to Grand Central Station, to go on to other places from there.

There's a wonderful market, where, if I were wealthy, and a New York resident, I would buy everything.

Fancy roof things. UPSIDE DOWN TREE. 

I see what you did there.


And by lunchtime I mean alarmingly-find-menu-is-entirely-$40+-seafood-and-order-$7-soup-to-eat time. 

From Grand Central - a short visit to the New York public library.

Ew, rain. Why.

"Brick artist" seriously? It's bloody lego, mate.

Inside were two free exhibitions to see, as well as the incredible reading room inside the library itself. 
First seemed to be an exhibition just on food (excellent) - but more specifically about the history of lunch in New York, with archived menus, set up tables, videos, immigrant stories, the evolution of bread etc. 

New and old. 

The other exhibition was all about Charles Dickens - some of his personal things, plus stories, histories, old editions, explanations of how his life influenced his works and lots of artwork inspired by his characters and words.

His personal diary.

David Copperfield in Mandarin.

The famous reading room is upstairs. 


Want to sit right there and read this.

Spoke to two guards on our way out, lovely guys who told us not to speak to strangers, and who both had different ideas on whether we should live in NYC. 

To cap off the day (exhausting, just writing this blog post has been a feat in itself) - mini maestro in the subway.

Thanks for coming along, peoples.

Until next time...

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