On a windy October day, a group of Greeters took the tram from Manhattan to Roosevelt Island, an island in the East River removed from the hustle and bustle of the city. We were there to visit Four Freedoms Park, a world-class park and monument dedicated to Franklin D. Roosevelt, often called the greatest United States president of the 20th century.
Sally Minard, President of Four Freedoms Park Conservancy, guided us toward the memorial, sharing its riveting history. She explained that renowned architect, Louis B. Kahn, designed the memorial in 1973. Kahn died in 1974, just as New York City fell on hard economic times, so the project was put on hold…for 31 years!
In 2005, William J. vanden Heuvel, a founder of the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute, resurrected Kahn’s project by raising more than $50 million. The memorial was started in 2010 and completed by 2012.
The park is a huge lawn bordered by 120 Littleleaf Linden Trees. It is the essence of beauty, grandeur and tranquility.
At the end of the park is a majestic bronze bust of FDR with a granite wall behind it. FDR’s Four Freedoms are engraved on the wall. FREEDOM OF SPEECH, FREEDOM OF WORSHIP, FREEDOM FROM WANT and FREEDOM FROM FEAR should be “everywhere in the world” according to FDR.
To quote The New York Times: “This touching memorial gives New York nothing less than a new spiritual heart.”