7. United Nations at Flushing Meadows

Wallace K. Harrison, United Nations Headquarters and Dome for Proposed General Assembly, Flushing Meadows. Courtesy Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, drawings by Hugh Ferriss

Flushing Meadows, Queens is known as a mecca for baseball and tennis and is identified by the iconic Unisphere, constructed for the 1964 World’s Fair. But before these things set it apart, Flushing Meadows was slated to be the home to the United Nations in 1946. With failed attempts to find locations in cities like Boston, Philadelphia, and San Francisco, the support of Robert Moses and Mayor William O’Dwyer made Flushing Meadows a promising option. The proposed plan included a domed assembly hall, a reflecting pool, and 51 pylons to represent the UN’s founding nations.

Members of the site subcommittee, however, were not keen on the unattractive location which was 40 minutes outside Manhattan. The winning site was purchased by John D. Rockefeller along the East River, but during its construction, the UN met in Flushing Meadows in a building converted from the 1939 World’s Fair.