Epoch Times: Four Freedoms Park Breaks Ground on Roosevelt Island
By Tara MacIsaac and Andrea Hayley
September 14, 2010
A new waterfront park on Roosevelt Island honoring former President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s legacy will inspire and remind Americans of what we are capable of overcoming, said the mayor at the groundbreaking on Monday.
“Roosevelt never lost his faith that it was within our power to make the future better and freer for everyone,” said Bloomberg.
“He brought this country into recovery after the Great Depression. He created the greatest economic expansion in the history of the United States and he united other countries to fight tyranny and win World War II,” said Gov. Paterson of Roosevelt’s accomplishments.
The four-acre Four Freedoms Park will honor FDR’s famous words from his annual State of the Union Address on Jan. 6, 1941.
Roosevelt’s speech articulated a vision of the world where all people could enjoy freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.
Famous modernist architect, Louis I. Kahn was commissioned to design the Four Freedoms Park in 1973, at the time when Welfare Island was renamed Roosevelt Island.
Kahn’s original conception will be produced posthumously in full. It will be the only work of Kahn’s represented in New York.
The first of 24, 36-ton granite pillars that will be inscribed with Roosevelt’s famous words, were delivered to the park site on Monday.
Efforts to get the park built were hindered by the fiscal crisis of 1975, as well as Kahn’s death in 1974, but the importance of creating a monument worthy of Roosevelt inspired government officials to keep working on it.
In 2006, when Jessica Lappin, New York City councilwoman for the 5th District, took office, she took building the park as a priority, and worked to unite state, and local funding for the monument.
Ambassador William J. vanden Heuvel, chairman of the FDR Four Freedoms Park, says a total of $42 million has been raised thus far, and work on the site is progressing now with new public/private partnership funding, including $10.2 million from the city.
“Millions in the decades ahead will come here to reflect, to remember, to learn, and to be confirmed in their confidence in the future of our republic,” said vanden Heuvel.
“It is a memorial to a great president,” he added.