The foundations of 50 United Nations Plaza are rich in history and New York pedigree. In 1946, 17 acres of land along New York’s East River were transformed into a global destination. Visionary real estate developer William Zeckendorf Sr. offered the parcel of land as a home for the United Nations, in a historic real estate transaction supported by the Rockefeller family.
60 years later, his grandsons William Lie Zeckendorf and Arthur Zeckendorf, have brought the family history alive again. In partnership with Eyal Ofer’s Global Holdings, they purchased the site directly across from the United Nations. The project is a tribute to their paternal grandfather’s land sale and their maternal grandfather, Trygve Lie’s, role as the first UN Secretary General. The result is a 21st Century high rise with unusual depth of character.
Complementing the Zeckendorf’s vision for a United Nations presence in this diverse and global metropolis, it is befitting that the face to bring to life the spirit of 50UNP is herself a citizen of the world and ambassador to a social cause. Leila Ndabirabe was born in Burundi and at the age of 10, relocated to Brussels, Belgium when her family escaped the Burundi Civil War. After being discovered by model scouts, while studying law, she is now a NYC resident.
With a life spent traveling the globe, Leila not only speaks multiple languages (six at last count), she is also a Goodwill Ambassador for Maison Shalom International – an organization committed to providing education, and support to thousands of children who have been victims of war and poverty.