Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park

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The Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park is located in New York City at the southernmost point of Roosevelt Island, in the East River between Manhattan Island and Queens. The park was built in memory of US President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his Four Freedoms speech which he delivered in the State of the Union address in 1941, to rally the American people against the Axis threat. In his speech, Roosevelt outlined his vision for the world founded upon four essential human rights — freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear. These Four Freedoms has been incorporated in numerous works of art and monuments around the country.


Photo credit: George Steinmetz

In 1973, the Roosevelt Island was named in honor of the former president and a decision was made to build a park at the island's southern tip. The American architect Louis Kahn was appointed to design the park. Louis Kahn completed the design, but died shortly after. Funding issues forced the plans to be shelved for the next 38 years. In 2010, as part of the mayor's plans to develop the area into a new residential community, Kahn's plans were put back into action.

The four-acre park is located on a triangular elevated platform topped with a lawn and sloping sides. A double row of linden trees line the edges of the platform, narrowing as they approach the tip of the park and island. The park terminates in a square room, looking out to the sea, built of monumental granite blocks. The walls stand 12 feet high, but there is no roof. On one wall, the "Four Freedoms" speech is inscribed. A bronze bust of Roosevelt faces north towards the entrance of the park and away from the room. The bust was made by artist Jo Davidson. The memorial’s entrance on the north is marked by five copper-beech trees.

In a 1973 lecture at Pratt Institute, Kahn had explained his design:

I had this thought that a memorial should be a room and a garden. That's all I had. Why did I want a room and a garden? I just chose it to be the point of departure. The garden is somehow a personal nature, a personal kind of control of nature. And the room was the beginning of architecture. I had this sense, you see, and the room wasn't just architecture, but was an extension of self.


Photo credit: Paul Warchol


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Photo credit: gigi_nyc/Flickr


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Photo credit: gigi_nyc/Flickr


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Photo credit: gigi_nyc/Flickr


Photo credit: gigi_nyc/Flickr


Photo credit: gigi_nyc/Flickr


Photo credit: gigi_nyc/Flickr


Photo credit: Paul Warchol

Sources: Wikipedia / / NY Times

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