Best Park for Contemplation (2008)

UN Plaza

The international style of the UN PLAZA emanates cold-war Technicolor nostalgia—you half expect to see Cary Grant dash past on his way to Mt. Rushmore. But maybe he's just escaping one of the USSR's final gifts to mankind, a truly loopy pastiche of social-sur/realist sculpture entitled (we kid you not) "Good Defeats Evil," depicting an equestrian Saint George trampling SS-20 and Pershing missiles sporting dragon-head payloads. Other tribal confrontations (often ºaccompanied by raucous First Avenue protests) fade to soothing white noise within the rose garden, which features such multihued hybrids as "Love & Peace," "Gemini," and "Marmalade Skies." The UN is humanity's most audacious experiment, so lean back on a bench cantilevered over the East River, soak up the sun, and try to decide whether One World Government really is such an awful idea after all. Open from 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.


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