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Trygve Lie Plaza

Trygve Lie Plaza

This text is part of Parks’ Historical Signs Project and can be found posted within the park.

This park was acquired by the City of New York in 1948 in connection with the widening of First Avenue. It is one of three parks in Turtle Bay named for former officials of the United Nations. The slender park on First Avenue between East 41st and East 42nd Streets honors the memory of Norwegian statesman Trygve Halvdan Lie (1896-1968).

Lie was born in Oslo, Norway on July 16, 1896 and educated at the University of Oslo. Upon receiving his law degree in 1919, he went into law practice. Lie married Hjordis Joergensen in 1921, and they had three children—Sissel, Guri, and Mette. A member of the Labor Party since he was a teenager, Lie quickly rose within the ranks. He was an assistant to the secretary of the party from 1919 to 1922, legal adviser to the Norwegian Trade Union Federation from 1922 to 1935, and national executive secretary of the party in 1926.

When a Labor Party Government was formed in 1935, Lie served as Minister of Justice from 1935 to 1939 and Minister of Trade and Industries in 1939. At the outbreak of World War II, he salvaged 85 percent of Norway’s merchant fleet for the Allies. Lie served as foreign minister of the Norwegian government in exile in London. He also was elected to the Norwegian Parliament twice, in 1936 and 1945. When the next Labor Party Government came to power in 1945, Lie remained Norway’s Foreign Minister.

Lie headed the Norwegian delegation to the United Nations conference in San Francisco in 1945 and served as chairman of Commission III, which drafted the charter of the Security Council. On February 1, 1946, Lie was elected the first Secretary-General of the United Nations. He was re-elected, over Soviet opposition, in 1950. Resistance from the Soviet bloc triggered his resignation in 1952. Lie was succeeded by Dag Hammarskjöld of Sweden, whose eponymous park is located six blocks to the north.

After leaving the United Nations, Trygve Lie served in a number of official and honorary positions, including Governor of Oslo and Akershus and Chairman of Norway’s Board of Energy. Lie died at Geilo, Norway on December 30, 1968.

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ParkTrygve Lie Plaza

The sitting area at Trygve Lie Plaza is currently under reconstruction.
Anticipated Completion: Spring 2016

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