New York City

Hiking Four Freedoms Park, How To Guide

Hike Four Freedoms Park, our guide, follows the advice of Governor Andrew Cuomo who offered New York State Parks as safe, healthful places during the coronavirus crisis. With that in the rearview mirror now, his advice is still good.

By David Stone

Roosevelt island News

Restrictions were everywhere, but at every turn, we hade our parks. Roosevelt Island is especially blessed with green spaces, and Four Freedoms is the gem among them.

The southern tip of the Island is all green and easy to access. Tranquility is the password to the treasure.

Here’s our guide to a safe and simple hike in FDR Four Freedoms Park

Whether you walk or take a free RIOC Red Bus, enter the matched parks first by way of Southpoint. There’s a stop right out front. Buses run at 15 minute intervals.
Southpoint Park features natural space for strolling and short hikes along rolling, tree-filled rises. It makes a nice stop on the way to Four Freedoms. Convenient public restrooms are near the main entrance.
Smallpox Hospital Ruins, RIOC Southpoint Park
Reach Four Freedoms Park by passing the Smallpox Hospital, an historic site designed by James Renwick, now under restoration.
Pamphlets for visitors and advice awaits after the front gate, and make a voluntary contribution as you pass. Inside, spectacular skyline views emphasize the quiet in this big city oasis.
Your choice of trails includes the most popular, barrier free walk along the waterside toward the monuments below.
A similar path passes the Queens side, but if a few steps is okay, enter the meadow directly after a brief climb. (Shown here: Temporary installation of the City’s largest Pride Flag in 2019.
Four Freedoms Park Dedication on the Steps
On the steps, engraved tributes to those who made this park possible.
In season, the tapered meadow hosts events like Kite Flight for Peace on International Peace Day.
Tapered Lawn, FDR Four Freedoms Park
But in winter and early spring, it’s a tranquil stroll toward the bust of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Tree-line Path in Four Freedoms
For some, a hike through Four Freedoms Park is best experienced through the intricately shaded path below still leafless tree branches.

It’s about peace, tranquility and FDR’s dream for human rights…

America’s greatest president greets visitors as the bottom of the meadow.
West walkway Four Freedoms Park
Spectacular views continue as you near the monuments area at the south end of Four Freedoms Park.
Four Freedoms Monument
Keynoting The Room, FDR’s Four Freedoms carved in stone for all time. It was his 1941 State of the Union, so impactful the terms became the central theme of the United Nations Charter.
Before your return hike through Four Freedoms Park, pause where Roosevelt Island tapers into the East River, like an unmovable promise for world peace and human rights.

Get to know Roosevelt Island historic sites and their stories in books…

Hike Four Freedoms Park
Your return is a remarkable walk though history. The 19th Century Smallpox Hospital is in view and, beyond it, the The House, an ultra modern passive house at Cornell Tech.

Graceful spans of the 115 year old Queensboro Bridge hold the frame for a tranquil park, a gem for the State system and Roosevelt Island.


Four Freedoms Park is currently open every day, except Tuesday, from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.

The hike and the peace are free, but voluntary contributions are accepted.

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