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I haven’t been to Roosevelt Island in several years, and the times I’ve been were usually to pick up my daughters from their friends’ homes when they were younger. But now, starting next week (and for a select few, even this weekend) there’ll be another reason to head on over to the sliver of an island via tram or train. The Four Freedoms Park—a memorial to Franklin D. Roosevelt designed by the architect Louis Kahn before his death in 1974—is scheduled to open to the public on October 24th. Looking at the photos, I think it’s safe to say that there is nothing even remotely close to this park’s design in NYC to date and it’s especially exciting that this is the first and only Kahn work in the city. (If you are not familiar with Louis Kahn’s work, I highly recommend watching the documentary My Architect by Kahn’s son which is a lovely film on both an architectural and emotional level.)
Michael Kimmelman from the New York Times has previewed the park and calls it “…pure abstract art, a virtual walk-in sculpture that does more than honor the 32nd president…” Apparently there are polished inch-wide gaps between the huge blocks of granite that play with the natural light creating reflective slits that, through them, enhance the already spectacular views.
I’m sold, and love that NYC keeps making the most of its many beautiful waterfronts. And the Four Freedoms? You can read what they are in the extract from FDR’s 1941 speech engraved in the granite slab in the bottom photo—an appropriately peaceful sentiment that matches its surroundings.