#UN Lays its HQ Foundation in NYC

Photo Credit: UN/MB: July 1950 -UN permanent HQ's cornerstone, & one entrance of Secretariat Building

On July 1, 1950 the United Nations laid the foundation for its current HQ on New York’s East River. The land was donated and the building was designed by Brazil’s Oscar #Niemayer and Swiss-French architect #LeCorbusier. More recently, the UN’s HQ went through an extensive renovation, from removal of asbestos to capacity for enhanced communication – at any single hour the UN has dozens of deployments around the globe, from peacekeeping to humanitarian to diplomatic initiatives.

The UN HQ building has been an iconic symbol of what NYC claims for itself: “the capital of the world.” Despite the huge security details and traffic jams caused during UN’s annual General Assembly session, the UN has been an adornment but also true financial asset. It adds billions of dollars to the US/NYC economy.


The 38th floor of the UN Secretariat Building refers to the UN Secretary General’s office, and where he, (no women as yet have served), greets visitors and meets with the UN’s diplomatic corps. The UN HQ building facade has reflected the hope of the rising sun and much of humanity’s hopes, although the work of the UN is spread throughout NYC, and its neighborhoods, and indeed worldwide. However, under the UN there was a whole other less glamorous world several floors deep. When I worked there, there was an almost “Phantom of the Opera” feel, from dim conference rooms (pre-renovation) to the garbage disposal units.


If you are in NYC, the visit is well worth it, and the UN gives great tours as well as selling great souvenirs!
Read our take: UN at 70, Ready to be Retired
UN PHOTO/Andrea Brizzi

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Diplomat Artist Buzz
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