Day 7: New York
Today was our last day in New York. We started the morning with a tour of the United Nations Headquarters on the east coast of Manhattan. I used to lead the Model UN team at my high school and attended many conferences. The UN has always been very fascinating to me, so visiting the New York Headquarters was a dream come true.
There is a visitors center across the HQ where I needed to sign in, verify my ID, and get a pass to enter the main building. There was also a security check before entering. Once inside, we waited for our scheduled tour time while exploring the artwork and exhibits in the lobby, including this woven tapestry of former Secretary Generals.
The tour took about an hour and we went inside many of the major committee rooms such as the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council, and, of course, the UN Security Council. I’ve seen pictures of these countless times, so it was really cool to actually be inside the rooms where so many key decisions were made.
The guide was very informative, and we learned a lot about the history of the UN, its different bodies, and some current initiatives. We even got a peek inside a live UN session.
After touring the UN, we went to have lunch. Initially, I made a reservation at Hakkasan, a famous chain of Michelin-quality Cantonese restaurants that I’ve wanted to try. However, they called me that morning and said the kitchen had some issues so a lot of the menu wasn’t available. We decided to cancel and visit a nearby Chinese restaurant instead. The food was pretty good, but nothing too special.
After lunch, we began walking back towards Fifth Ave. Along the way, we passed by the massive Grand Central Station.
Then we took the subway to Central Park.
Despite being mere blocks from some of the tallest buildings in the world, Central Park was a beautiful green escape from the crowds and sounds of city life. Next, we headed back to Midtown and finally went inside the New York Public Library. The interior was magnificent.
We couldn’t leave New York without trying its famous pizza, so we popped into one of the many shops dotted around Manhattan and got a dollar cheese slice. This honestly lived up to the hype. It was absolutely delicious.
As the day was coming to an end, it was time to make our way to the airport. We picked up our bags from the hotel, then headed to Penn Station. We were flying out of JFK so we were going to take the LIRR (Long Island Railroad). Penn Station was massive and a complete mess to navigate. The ticket wasn’t informative at all and had a couple numbers that we weren’t sure if they referenced the platform or what. When we followed the signs to what looked like the platform, it didn’t quite look right so we asked one of the staff. Apparently, we were on the platform to Newark Airport instead of JFK, and the staff said they’ve never seen that ticket before. Eventually, we found the right platform for our train, but there were so many different destinations - all of which did not reference JFK. By now, we were running low on time so I checked Google Maps for the next available option. That also wasn’t very clear and, by now, there was a train at the platform with the same final destination as on Google Maps, so we got on. When the train was announcing the stops right before departing, it didn’t sound right so we immediately got off with almost no time to spare. Finally, we got on the right train and made it to JFK. Despite the harrowing journey, we got on our Delta flight and flew to our final destination, Las Vegas.