TRYGVIE LIE PLAZA, Turtle Bay

Turtle Bay, in the East 40s and 50s from Park Avenue east to the East River, likely takes its name from a Dutch term meaning “bent blade,” probably referencing the shape of the shoreline. It is somewhat hard to believe it now, but along the waterfront slaughterhouses had to be razed in the 1940s to make way for the United Nations complex on 1st Avenue. These days it’s a residential neighborhood prized for its peace and quiet, at least on the side streets — longstanding residents have included Katharine Hepburn, Irving Berlin, and newly-minted Nobel Prize for Literature winner Bob Dylan.

At the SW corner of 1st Avenue and East 42nd Street, catercorner from the UN Secretariat Building, is a plaza created  by the widening of 1st Avenue in 1948 in association with both the new UN complex and ramps from the Queens-Midtown Tunnel. In 1998 it was officially named for Trygvie Lie (TRIG-vee LEE) (1896-1968), the Norwegian-born first Secretary-General of the UN, which was opening here after stints in Flushing Meadows and Lake Success. Lie served from 1946 to 1952.

The large clock on the wall is unfortunately not working at this writing (making it right only twice a day) but when it is working the design forms the international peace symbol twice a day as well. The design by Lina Viste Gronli, installed in 2015, was partially commissioned by the Norwegian government.

10/17/16


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