New York

Diplomatic Decor


On a recent Friday evening, a member from the United Nations’ Feng Shui Group gave a private tour of the U.N. campus to some of her friends—an astrologer, ‘a concerned businessman’, a macrobiotic cleanse vendor, an energy healer, and his freelance-photographer sister.

Our guide, who has worked at the U.N. for more than a decade, wanted to show us around as well as infuse some positive vibrations into the slice of sovereign territory, which she pointed out, had been severely positive vibe–challenged in the past. She said the space started as an Indian cemetery, and then became a slaughterhouse. Following a history like that, she’s not surprised promoting world peace has proved difficult.

After consulting her pendulum, she determined it would not be at all auspicious to use her name in this article. We’ll call her Sally.

The United Nations Staff Recreation Council (UNSRC) boasts 56 active clubs. They range from Russian Literature to The Mystics Round Table Group. About 50 members are in the Feng Shui Group; they meet once a month for lectures and recommend such changes as bringing in a Fichus tree for fresh air, salt lamps to bring negative ions into the atmosphere, scenic posters for positivity, and red flowers to expand vital chi energy.

Everyone met on the corner of 46th Street and First Avenue; our guide wore a knee-length coat that was bright orange—a fire color, which is good for creativity—and biogenesis crystals around her neck for protection and health.

The first stop was the meditation room. The dark chamber is hidden in a nook in the lobby; it’s open to the public, but visitors rarely use it. A six-and-a-half-ton slab of iron ore sits in the middle with little stools behind it and a modern piece of artwork in the background. We stood in a circle around the slab—left hand up, right hand down—and everyone had a chance to chant a prayer. “For all the people who enter here and work here,” said Ron Delle Donne, the energy healer. “Spread the love through the mighty throughout the earth.” Sally then went into a brief spasm, rolling onto her heels.

Next, we were told to gaze at the blue stained-glass mural in the lobby. The piece was created for and dedicated to the U.N. by Marc Chagall to memorialize the second Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold’s fatal plane crash. “In the months of January and February,” explained Sally as she raised her arms into the air, “the sun rises [through the glass], so every morning I’d say, ‘God, dress me and color me blue with all of these wisdom colors.’ ”

We shuffled our way across the lobby, as we passed the wall with portraits of all the past secretary-generals, Sally singled out Boutros Boutros-Ghali. “He’s the one that believed in Professor Greer and extraterrestrial transformation,” she said, referring to UFO space cadet Steven Greer, an ER doctor who promotes the idea that alien beings are in constant contact with world governments. We continued on.

She waved us through the security checkpoint and we took the elevator to the second floor. We entered the Delegates’ Lounge; a low murmur and clinking of glasses filled the air. One wall is made of windows, which look toward the East River. Arranged around the room were a smattering of black leather chairs, where the delegates sit, schmooze, smoke, and down cocktails after General Assembly meetings. Sally discussed the artwork on the walls and then went on to the room’s feng shui attributes. “The emission of the smoke is very bad for the lungs,” she explained. “However, the view of the world with the water, which is the symbol of abundance, and the wood, which is the element of creativity and expansion, makes this one of the best rooms in the organization.”

A minute later we entered the hall where a frenzy of photographers were snapping shots of a group of Koreans. Monty, the astrologer, asked Sally which one was Ban Ki-moon, the new secretary-general. Despite working there, Sally didn’t know. “I have a cross-racial identification problem,” she admitted.

We filed back into the hall where Sally found a janitor. She asked him, coyly, if she could get into the Security Council. After retrieving a key, the janitor pushed open the doors.

“You’re in the sanctum sanctorum for God’s sake,” shouted Monty to no one in particular. “You’re in the Security Council!”

A man vacuumed the upper deck of chairs as we gathered in the middle of the circle where the member countries sit.

“We have to change the Security Council energy,” said Monty. “And we have to get in and out fast!”

Ron took a crystal from his pocket and put it on the table. Everyone quickly joined hands—left hand up and right hand down—as Sally began to pray; she stood near the spot where the representative of the United States would sit. “. . . May peace prevail on earth . . .”

“So let it be!” exclaimed Monty.

“So it is,” said Sally.

As we exited, Ron tucked his crystal back into his pocket. “It’s a bio translator,” he told me in a low voice. “It translates a prayer in universal coding for better and faster manifestation. I have two; this one’s my portable.” The last stop was at Picasso’s “Guernica,” which is placed just outside the Security Council Chamber, where the members gather for post-meeting press conferences.

Sally became very serious for the first time that evening; she explained that “Guernica” was anti-good feng shui because it was not conducive to the principles of regeneration and hope the U.N. strives for. “Even the chicken is crying,” she said. “It’s black, brown, and dark, like the lowest vibration. And the only light they can see is artificial and they look like they are underground; it looks like the flames are coming through the window and the horse is disjointed. The knife is broken in hopelessness. Look at these people desperately trying to get out and the window is too small.”

Her small audience shook their heads in complete agreement and some accompanied the nods with “Yes, yes, yes!” Sally came to a halt. She appeared weak, as if she had just exorcised some demons. She walked over to a table and pulled out a royal blue chair with black electrical tape covering the holes—an original U.N. chair from the ’60s—and sat down. The group crowded around her. “I’m getting a headache,” she said. “I have to get out of here.”

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