by Kevin Walsh

Mayor Ed Koch named these steps leading from 1st Avenue to Tudor City at East 43rd Street in 1981 for Nathan Sharansky (1948 – ), a native Ukrainian who worked tirelessly to allow Jews living in the Soviet Union to emigrate elsewhere. Sharansky served as Minister and Deputy Prime Minister in four successive Israeli governments between 1996 and 2005. He was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 1986 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2006. In 2016 he embarked on a speaking tour of US campuses with actor Michael Douglas.

The tall obelisk on the left is Peace Form One, a stainless steel obelisk fashioned by Daniel LaRue Johnson (b.1938) commemorating a titan of 20th century diplomacy: Ralph Johnson Bunche (1904–1971), the American educator, political scientist, and United Nations mediator.

For a lifetime of extraordinary achievement in the international arena, Bunche received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1950, the first African American to receive the award. In 1963, President John F. Kennedy awarded him the U.S. Medal of Freedom. As a U.N. mediator, secretary for special political affairs, and supervisor of peace-keeping missions in the Middle East and elsewhere, he played a key role in brokering U.N. sponsored peace agreements from 1949 to 1970. NYC Parks

Bunche was interred in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx.

The adjoining Isaiah Wall was built and dedicated in 1948 during construction of the U.N. headquarters and has a famous quotation from Isaiah 2:4: They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor shall they learn war anymore. The rededication in 1975 added the name Isaiah to the quotation.

Check out the ForgottenBook, take a look at the gift shop, and as always, “comment…as you see fit.”



Peter November 17, 2020 - 9:38 pm

That flag of the building to the immediate right of the steps is for the UN mission of Bhutan. How, exactly, a country of 750,000 managed to get its UN mission located directly across the street from the UN is a question still unanswered.

josh November 18, 2020 - 6:51 am

it’s a pleasant spot. i often walked there during my lunch breaks when i worked in the area in the ’90s.

Sergey Kadinsky November 18, 2020 - 5:51 pm

Kevin, I ask for your forgiveness. In 2015, I presumed that West 67th Street at Freedom Place was the southernmost stepped street in Manhattan. Looks like East 43rd Street’s Sharansky Steps make it Manhattan’s southernmost stepped street.

Tiger November 22, 2020 - 2:21 pm

could not access old FNY article that Sergey referenced

Kevin Walsh November 22, 2020 - 5:57 pm

Some links have been broken since we reconfigured security protections. I have notified my IT and presumably will be working on this soon.

Tal Barzilai November 24, 2020 - 9:34 pm

Was where Tudor City now stands ever once a hill or mound?


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