Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park


Located on the southern tip of Roosevelt Island, the Park serves as a monument to Franklin D. Roosevelt and celebrates the four freedoms he articulated in the 1941 State of the Union address. It was designed by Louis Kahn in 1972, but only just completed in 2012 due to funding issues. The  project was carried through by Mitchell Giurgola Architects, who stayed true to the original design, except to raise the entire site 15” to accommodate a 5” rise in the East River since the 1970’s. The four-acre park was conceived by Kahn as a garden and a room. The symmetrical, triangular shape of the memorial and forced perspective toward the water feels inspired by naval architecture, a nod to FDR’s love for the sea. It extends and narrows out into the East River and offers breathtaking views of the United Nations, Brooklyn Bridge and Statue of Liberty. The weight of the granite hardscape surrounding the gently sloped lawn is lightened by the double row of little leaf linden trees. The southernmost point of the memorial, or the room, blurs the line between architecture and abstract art, much like his work at the Salk Institute.

(2012) Kahn and Mitchell | Giurgola
Photos: Paul Warchol

Getting there:
The Roosevelt Island tram leaves from 2nd Avenue and 59th Street in Manhattan.  To get there from the Hudson Hotel, walk to the N/Q/R stop at 57th Street/7th Avenue and take the Queens bound train to Lex Ave/59th Street (only 2 stops).  This will take about 25 minutes.

The tram runs every 15 minutes on Sunday and only accepts Metrocards ($2.50 per ride).  The trip is about 4 minutes.  Visitors are encouraged to come with a pre-paid Metrocard as there is only one vending machine on site.  After exiting the tram, Four Freedom Park is about a 15 minute walk. Alternatively, you can take the F train which is probably a little bit faster, but not nearly as much fun.

For more information:


Four Freedoms Park by Louis Kahn


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