My invitation for the annual Sunset Gala Party in Four Freedoms Park, this year recognizing the 75th Anniversary of D Day, landed in my inbox in mid May. It’s one of those events so special I dig deep in my closet to search for a pinstripe suit and a tie.

But that was before a family emergency unsettled spring and left us waiting for a critical telephone call as the party got underway. The day had kicked off with climbing into a Lyft at 6:30 a.m.

Because there was no chance we could make the party, we were thrilled when Tad Sudol, artist, photographer and co-founder of Gallery RIVAA on Roosevelt Island, shared his thrilling photos from the evening with us.

Tad Sudol, second from left, with fellow Gallery RIVAA artist and co-founder Esther Piaskowski Cohen (R), and Four Freedoms gala organizer Madeline Grimes (with wine glass) and an unnamed friend — who will become named as soon as someone shares that information.

On schedule, a cloud enriched sunset over Midtown Manhattan lit the gala.

Roosevelt Island Operating Cooperation President/CEO Susan Rosenthal (second from left) and Four Freedoms Conservancy Executive Director Howard Axel (second from right) share a moment with veterans.

Four Freedoms Board Member and former Executive Director Sally Minard (R), makes another visit to the park on Roosevelt Island.

Four Freedoms Park’s monumental entry steps turned into a field of flowers.

Howard Axel, Four Freedoms Executive Director, welcomed veterans to the D Day celebration.

RIOC President/CEO Susan Rosenthal, known for her hats, did not disappoint.

Finally, Tad Sudol, artist, architect, community leader, responsible for all the photos here, with Four Freedom’s Gina Pollara and visual artist Esther Piaskowski Cohen.

Whenever I see Gina, these days, always elegant, I recall the first time I saw her, a decade ago, wearing mud-caked, knee high rubber boots, clopping out of an onsite construction trailer, to lead us on a first ever look at Four Freedoms Park in progress, just after the bust of FDR was installed and the now gently shading trees were being planted along the tapered meadow.

We’ve all come a long way to the blossoming of this park and its series of memorable public events that bring honored visitors to Roosevelt Island, still one of New York City’s best kept secrets.


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