It took 40 years, some 14,600 days, between the creation of Roosevelt Island to the ribbon cutting today for Four Freedoms Park, a memorial to the 32nd president at the island’s southern tip. Today was the greatest of all those days, not simply because Louis Kahn’s dramatic, elemental vision for the park had finally been realized, but also it was a beautiful day, one full of promise, just like the memorial itself.
The bright blue sky, the beaming sun, the crisp fall air, the weather truly was suited to this place. Mayor Bloomberg joked with Governor Cuomo before the ceremony began that he had sent all the rainy weather that had been expected upstate, to which the governor responded that was fine, he would just bottle the water and sell it back to us.
But beyond the levity of friends, families and dignitaries, beyond the excitement of one of New York’s longest-suffering projects being realized, there was an twinge of trauma. The weight of history hung heavily on this place. Seasoned politicos and power brokers jammed the folding seats arrayed on Kahn’s sloping emerald lawn. They were all too well aware of the challenges facing the nation, in many ways as great as when Franklin Roosevelt invoked his Four Freedoms almost seven decades ago. Read More