New York, United States

New York City Day 2

Sunday, November 10 – Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Day two started with a trip to the Jewish Heritage Museum. I had been here on my August trip to NYC, and you can see the blog post here. Their current exhibition was Auschwitz: Not Long Ago, Not Far Away, which was a chilling title given the current political climate particularly in America. While I had already been here, my mom was interested in it, and these are the types of museums you can visit over and over and still learn something new each time.

“Featuring more than 700 original objects and 400 photographs, the New York presentation of the [Auschwitz: Not Long Ago, Not Far Away] exhibition allows visitors to experience artifacts from the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum on view for the first time in North America, including hundreds of personal items—such as suitcases, eyeglasses, and shoes—that belonged to survivors and victims of Auschwitz. Other artifacts include concrete posts that were part of the fence of the Auschwitz camp; fragments of an original barrack for prisoners from the Auschwitz III-Monowitz camp; a desk and other possessions of the first and the longest serving Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Höss; a gas mask used by the SS; Picasso’s Lithograph of Prisoner; and an original German-made Model 2 freight train car used for the deportation of Jews to the ghettos and extermination camps in occupied Poland”

About the Exhibition

More than 1.1 million people were murdered in Auschwitz between May 1940 and January 1945. It was the largest Nazi-run concentration camp and was located in Poland. A vast majority were executed almost immediately upon arrival. Out of 1.3 million deported there, 1.1 million were murdered – primarily through means such as gassing, shooting, exhaustion, starvation, disease, or medical experiments.

This was a very somber museum. The museum covers Jewish history for centuries and persecution that occurred even before the Holocaust. The artifacts from the Holocaust were the most solemning.

The museum requires pre-purchased tickets, and you can choose to include the current exhibit or not. Currently, the Auschwitz exhibit is included in all tickets and is on display until May 2021. Ticket prices are USD $16 general admission, $12 seniors and people with disabilities, $10 students and veterans, free for members, Holocaust survivors, active military and first responders, and students and teachers in K-12 schools in NY, NJ, and CT.

United Nations Headquarters

Our next stop was the United Nations. This was a site that was closed due to a General Assembly meeting my last trip to NYC, and I was very excited to see it. I had been involved in the Maine Model United Nations Conference (MeMUNC) while in college, which is a mock UN event for junior and high school students.

The museum is open Monday-Friday 9 AM-4:45 PM (hours may be adjusted due to urgent UN matters) and guided tours are available. “Tours are offered in all six official languages of the United Nations (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish), as well as in additional languages in high demand.” Advance purchase tickets and reservations are required. There are also special tours, such as Focus on Women, Black History, and Garden tour. These are only offered in English and certain days of the week.

After arriving, all visitors must go through security across the street, where your ID is scanned, photo is taken, and you are given a nametag. If it is close to your tour time, you are allowed in early to explore the outside garden and displays before entering for your tour.

One of the coolest parts outside is the list of the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) which you can see in two of the photos above. You can review the ten goals on the UN website here.

We were able to start our inside tour, which brought us through various committee meeting rooms and went into depth on the SDGs.

Next, we went down to the gift shop, where this is a variety of UN merchandise and country flags (which are used at the Model UN Conferences). There’s also a spot where you can take photos with the Model UN flags. We were exhausted after not sleeping much, so we had some caffeinated beverages, and then went to the UN post office, where you are able to send a postcard back home, and it will be stamped from the United Nations and its own zip code.

After this, we walked through part of Central Park, and this is a very large park and somewhat confused to walk through for the first time in the dark. One spot we were able to stop at was the John Lennon Strawberry Fields memorial, which is a 2.5 acre art installation.

After this, I brought my mom to Times Square for a brief visit because it is quintessential Manhattan. It is not one of my favorite places because of how crowded and bustling it is, but it is a must-see if you’re traveling to New York City.

After this, we took the subway back to our hotel in Brooklyn and headed to bed preparing for our last day in New York.

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