The transformation of New York City’s Roosevelt Island took another leap forward Wednesday with the dedication of a park devoted to the island’s namesake, President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Located adjacent to the future site of Cornell NYC Tech on the island’s southern tip, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park is a monument to the former president who led the nation through the Great Depression and Second World War.
The ceremony was presided over by television anchor Tom Brokaw and attended by many members of New York’s political elite, including former President Bill Clinton, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Calling the park “a monument to the inspired principles that guided him and that still animate our national purpose,” Bloomberg noted Roosevelt’s support for scientific research that benefited society. He said that Cornell’s new tech campus, located just north of the park, will “honor FDR’s vision of the future.”
According to the Associated Press, the park plans to work closely with Cornell on a nearby dock to transport people to the island via water taxi and ferry.
The park is named after Roosevelt’s 1941 State of the Union address, known as the Four Freedoms Speech. In it, the president laid out four essential human freedoms that the world should be based on: freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear.
While the park was designed almost 40 years ago, the project was halted amid the city’s financial difficulties. The idea was revived several years ago by former United States Ambassador to the United Nations William vanden Heuvel, who helped raise $53 million for the park’s construction.
“President Roosevelt made clear that the four freedoms were no vision of a distant millennium,” vanden Heuvel said Wednesday. “This park will be a constant reminder of that challenge.”