NYC again today, this time more touristy things; a circumnavigation of Manhattan Island by boat, and a tour of the UN building (after mtbc100
mentioned that he'd enjoyed the tour).
It felt impressive to be in the room where the Security Council meets. One of the first things the tour guide did was to ask us all where we were from; the answers from our small last-tour-of-the-day group were US, UK, Germany, Poland and India. The tour guide was very good, well informed and appeared to really believe in the purpose of the UN. I was left overall with an impression of a group of the best of politicians, the true benevolent idealists, trying hard to make a better more equitable world in the midst of near impossible realpolitik
. Our guide didn't shy from talking about the back-room informal meetings, the ignored security council resolutions and other difficulties. There were reminders of why the UN were there in the space outside the main conference rooms; artifacts from Hiroshima, land mines, an AK-47 broken in two by UN arms decommissioning officials. I suspect only tourists walk past that bit though.