10. FDR Four Freedoms Park Is Louis Kahn’s Only New York City Work

  • Four Freedoms Park as seen from above
  • Roosevelt Bust at Four Freedoms Park

The FDR Four Freedoms Park, which was finished in 2012, took 40 years to finally complete. Over the years, economic crises and political sensibilities halted progress on the park until architect Gina Pollara revived the project. As such, Roosevelt Island’s Four Freedoms Park is the only establishment designed by Louis Kahn in New York City. The city commissioned architect Louis Kahn for the memorial, which was his last major work before his death in 1974. Kahn died of a heart attack in Penn Station, with a final rendering of his completed design for Four Freedoms Park in his briefcase at the time.

All materials for the memorial were shipped in via barges, which were loaded up in New Jersey and sent down the East River. An excerpt of Roosevelt’s 1941 State of the Union speech outlining his Four Freedoms is inscribed on the back of the stone frame that holds up his bust, Each granite paving stone is a cube and measures four feet by four feet by four feet. Four Freedoms Park also neighbors a cat sanctuary just to the north inside Southpoint Park, At the opening ceremony, Governor Cuomo said the park was a testament to Louis Kahn, whose design lay “dormant for years but could be picked up and be as vital and current as it was when he designed it.”