Forty years in the making, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park finally opened to the public today with a ceremony attended by former President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Mike Bloomberg and other big shots. The four acre park, located on the southern tip of the island, takes its name from a January 6, 1941 speech delivered by President Roosevelt, in which he described his vision for a world founded on four essential human freedoms: freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. Here's video:
The park is the last design by architect Louis I. Kahn, who died of a heart attack in a Penn Station men's room in 1974, and it's his only work in NYC. Located next to the island's crumbling 19th-century smallpox hospital, the sleek, minimalist design features a tapered lawn and linden trees pointing dramatically south toward lower Manhattan. A giant bronze bust of F.D.R. by sculptor Jo Davidson levitates in a formidable granite frame, and serves as a robust tribute to former president—it's also the only memorial to Roosevelt in his native New York State.
The park, currently open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. (closing at 5 p.m. November-March) will also offer a free interactive digital educational guide that visitors can access on any mobile device. It's intended to offer a "multi-media narrative critical to understanding President Roosevelt’s significance." And it goes without saying that the views from the park are stunning, and skateboarding is definitely frowned upon. Details here.