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Seize This Season: What’s Up, FDR Four Freedoms Park?


At Four Freedoms Park, 2020 begins informed by last year’s dynamics driving forward. Freedom and human rights mark New York City’s most tranquil venue.

Reporting by David Stone

September, 2020, Coming Out of

We asked executive director Michael Heck what the park was doing while pulling itself up from the COVID crisis with the rest of us.”

Uni Project, Pop-up Library, FDR Four Freedoms Park, 202o.
Uni Project Pop-Up Library, Photo courtesy of FDR Four Freedoms Park.

We are planning on having our pop-up library for the next few Saturdays,” he said, and there’s more. Here are the details:

  • Outdoor Pop-Up Library at FDR Four Freedoms State Park
  • Saturdays, September 12, 19, and 26
  • Open 11am-4pm with story time at 12pm
  • Voter registration forms available
  • 19th Amendment sunflower installation on view through Sept 30
19th Amendment Staircase, Four Freedoms Park 2020

“Four Freedoms Park Conservancy’s 2019 programming had some great learnings for us that we will build on in 2020,” CEO Howard Axel told us.

The conservancy oversees all aspects of the park’s operations.

And his statement barely scraped the surface.

In 2019, the park hosted community events like the Cherry Blossom Festival and Manhattanhenge. But the conservancy best showed off its depth in Ascend With Pride and honoring the 75th Anniversary of D Day.

Ascend with Pride, Four Freedoms Park
In June, 2019, during Pride Month, Four Freedoms Park unveiled the largest gay pride flag in New York history.

“Probably what what we are most excited about is the opportunity of transforming the grand stairs into a giant installation that supports the conversation about human rights and inclusion,” Axel said.

“In June when we turned the stairs into the largest pride flag we discovered that FFPC could truly reach a broad audience.” 

So, what does that mean for Four Freedoms Park in 2020?

When you consider that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms Address, January 6, 1941, points to this tranquil place on Roosevelt Island, options expand.

FDR’s Four Freedoms Address, in effect his 1941 State of the Union, framed the freedoms in terms of human rights.

Most importantly, 2020 marks the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, passed on August 18th, 1920. It gave women the right to vote. It took 70 years with a movement started in 1848 in Seneca Falls, New York.

We have challenges today, but imagine a time when half of our citizens lacked a right to vote?

We have come a long way.

But that’s not all. 2020 is the 75th Anniversary of the end of World War II.

“So stay tuned about what this June will bring especially during this 2020 presidential election cycle,” Axel concluded.

And we will keep you posted as events shape up and Four Freedoms Park spends 2020 underscoring freedom and human rights.


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