We thought it was time to check back on the progress of FDR Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island. On one of the hottest days so far this year, we managed to catch the breeze that will be a staple of the new park which will finally open in October 2012. A large portion of the park is complete, including the tree-lined promenade. The Room has recently been carved with Roosevelt’s Four Freedom’s speech and only awaits the bust of Roosevelt.
We had previously taken tours when The Room was completed in August of last year and when construction was just beginning in March of 2011. When the park is completed, the grassy lawn will be open to the public to picnic and lounge.
The most exciting news was perhaps the work being done on the Smallpox Hospital which the Four Freedoms Park organization hopes can serve as the visitor’s center. As a landmarked ruin, the city’s only one, there aren’t very defined rules on what can be done with it. In the last stabilization of the building, pieces were removed but the engineers are hopeful for its adaptive reuse after the investigatory work done last week.
FDR Four Freedoms Park, to be completed nearly 40 years after architect Louis I. Kahn initially designed it, is bound to elicit strong, discordant opinions particularly because the architectural style is somewhat foreign to New York City. Its white marble blocks, strong linear lines and imposition on the natural landscape contrast sharply with neoclassical monuments like Grant’s Tomb or the hallowed voids of the 9/11 Memorial, but new forms are certainly welcome as our city is increasingly filled with blue glass boxes even at sites as important as the World Trade Center.