A Life in Art

Four Freedoms Park Winter

Four Freedoms Park in winter maintains the calm without the crowds in New York City’s most serene space. History grows more clear with the chill.

By David Stone

Correctly, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Four Freedoms State Park, the tapered south tip of Manhattan’s Little Island — Roosevelt — changes with the seasons.

In winter, features take a clearer turn. Crowds thin, and on a mild afternoon, you’re free with your thoughts.

This meadow, the table setting space for the Park, free for walking in the winter light.

First time I walked down the meadow, it was muddy. The Park hadn’t opened yet, and I walked with Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney. We left a time capsule placing ceremony for a first look.

Maloney managed a half-million dollar allocation for construction.

The FDR bust was in place, but pictures were forbidden.

No longer forbidden, the bust honors the namesake of both the Park and the Island on which it rests.

That bust’s now the heart of Four Freedoms Park. In winter, light leaks over the top as the afternoon quiet collects.

Know Roosevelt Island’s community life: The Roosevelt Island News

But first, you have to get there. Access is easy. RIOC offers free Red Buses from all points. This stop is the entrance to Southpoint Park, green space leading into Four Freedoms Park.

Four Freedoms Park Winter Honors

When seminal architect Louis Kahn died suddenly in Penn Station, plans for the Park were with him.

It took decades, however, to fend off real estate developers and raise funds to build New York City’s most serene space.

Four Freedoms Park in Winter, Dedication Steps
Inscription on the monumental steps leading to the meadow honors pioneers without whom the park would not have been built.
Stark with winter, paths along Four Freedoms Park’s west flank offer alternative paths,
In quiet space at the tip of the Park, visitors get a quick lesson in the Four Freedoms.

FDR’s Four Freedoms Speech, his 1941 State of the Union, keynoted an era devoted to human rights. The world was shaken with war, and the United States soon entered.

Weather may be mild, but the tree branches in Four Freedoms Park cling to their winter embrace.

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