How to prepare
Attending the UNCSW and the NGO parallel events is an amazing experience filled with more opportunities than one can possibly participate in. Here are some things I learned:
Acquire the NGO event and workshop schedule, available on line at the UNCSW website approximately a week before the event begins. Review the schedule and preplan the workshops and events you want to attend. Decide if you are going to focus on one theme, say issues around violence or issues around economic realities, or if you are going to aim for a wide range of learning opportunities. Plot out workshops that seem to meet your agenda.
Pre-register for the Ecumenical Women’s Orientation and the NGO orientation and any evening reception/dinner events that interest you.
Workshops begin at 8:00am and end at 7:30pm, running for 90 minutes with 30 minutes in between (8-9:30, 10-11:30 and so on). Workshops are offered in two primary locations, the United Nations Church Center on 44th Street and 1st Avenue (across from the UN) and at the Salvation Army on 55th and 3rd Ave. A few workshops are held in other locations, such as the NGO orientation which is held at the Salvation Army Headquarters, 120 West 14th Street.
At orientations and workshops people will give you flyers for additional NGO events and caucuses that may not be on the prepared NGO schedule.
Bring cash for taxis. A taxi from the airport will cost $30-50. You can also arrange for SuperShuttle to transport you. You can rent an entire van if you have enough riders or if you are travelling alone plan on extra time as the shuttle picks up and drops off other riders. My ride on SuperShuttle cost me $14.00 each way. I stayed at the Hilton Manhattan East (42nd and 2nd Ave) and I was the first person dropped off and the last person picked up for my rides between LaGuardia and Manhattan.
You will also need to take a taxi to the NGO orientation at the Salvation Army. It helps to share the ride with others, but plan on about $11.00 each way plus tip if travelling alone.
Public transportation by bus or subway requires a metro card which must be purchased at a subway station. Grand Central Station is about four blocks west of the UN, on 42nd street and Lexington.
Wear comfortable clothing that can be layered to adjust to NYC weather, which can change quickly. Remember to bring an umbrella.
Bring several pairs of shoes as you will walk a lot and your feet will need the variety.
If you are ordained wear your clerical collar, it helps to make the statement that ordained people care about this event and these issues, and are willing to be present.
Plan to arrive early enough to attend the Ecumenical Women’s Orientation, which may be held on weekend before the UNCSW begins.
Plan to attend the NGO orientation, which is also held on the weekend before the event begins.
Take the time to watch the opening session of the UNCSW available via webcam at the UN Church Center Chapel and at various NGO sites. I watched it at the Episcopal Church Center with members from AWE.
Find out where your NGO is organizing and plan to attend relevant events. My trip was sponsored by Anglican Women’s Empowerment (AWE) and we met daily at the Episcopal Church Center at 815 Second Avenue, about a block from the UN.