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There Is An Elephant With A Giant Penis At The United Nations

It's the side of the UN the politicians don't want you to see. Sort of.

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This is the United Nations headquarters in New York City. Completed in 1952, the complex just finished the last major parts of a $1.9 billion renovation to coincide with the imminent opening of the 69th UN General Assembly.

Flickr: un_photo

UNGA is when all the representatives from UN member states get together to discuss the year's agenda. The assembly officially convenes on Tuesday, while the General Debate (with all the heads of states) opens Sept. 24. Meanwhile, smaller renovations on the complex are still ongoing.


This means that the halls are replete with an eclectic hodgepodge of artistic gems that range from the strange to the pretty bad ass, like this golden Dodo.

Miriam Berger for BuzzFeed

Mauritius gifted this golden Dodo, a now extinct bird that was native to the country.

BuzzFeed News took a tour of sorts in June. The average visitor enters the UN at the 46th Street entrance and their first sight is St. George on a dragon fighting off... none other than nuclear war!

The former-Soviet Union commissioned this evil-slaying dragon as a gift in 1990. The statue is made of decommissioned Soviet SS-20 and US Pershing II missiles.

It's kind of like DIY, only with dangerous military waste.


Moving inside to the North Lawn building, interpretive wall paintings like this one presented by Belarus in 1991 add a little pizzaz to the mundaneness of white halls and suits.


Nearby, check out this Danish teakwood sculpture that was designed to represent decolonization. The sculpture is perched in a corner of the Trusteeship Council's chamber, a body tasked in 1945 with overseeing decolonizing countries.

Speaking of scandal, former Secretary-General Boutros Ghali came under fire in 2000 after the artist of the portrait on the right alleged that Ghali never paid. (The UN does not pay for artwork; rather, it's donated.)

Miriam Berger for BuzzFeed

The artist may also have been jealous that the one on the left of another former Secretary General, Javier Perez de Cuellar, is just that much cooler.


Now back to that elephant with the giant penis. From afar, it seems like just another unassuming giant elephant hidden in the well-kept bushes behind security at the 46th Street entrance.

The 11-foot-tall statue was a gift from Kenya, Namibia and Nepal in 1998 and was made from the cast of a real African bull elephant, the AP reported. An unexpected outcome of the casting made the animal's penis part of the show, according to UN lore.

UN officials have carefully hidden the animal's true size behind shrubbery — but that doesn't mean you can't get up close and personal to the dirty little secrets of UN diplomacy.

Miriam Berger for BuzzFeed

Can't wait for what more excitement the General Assembly brings!

Former BuzzFeed World Reporter, Current BuzzFeed News Contributor

Contact Miriam Berger at

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