October, 2022, marks the tenth anniversary for FDR Four Freedoms Park, but the Louis Kahn magic just got a lift. As construction fencing came down, last week, the wonders of the place became open to everyone for the first time.
By David Stone
When Louis Kahn died in Penn Station in 1974, plans for FDR Four Freedoms Park were in his pocket. But it took almost forty years for their magic to be realized. In the meantime, supporters collected funds while fending off alternatives like turning the area over to hotel builders.
To be sure, getting from paper to park required development, endless consulting and brilliant landscaping. But today, the effect is Louis Kahn magic, a serene slice of space at the tip of Roosevelt Island.
About the 1970s Louis Kahn magic – something was missing…
Designed before public awareness of accessibility issues and laws meant for making spaces open to everyone, Four Freedoms Park, out of the box, left some areas restricted by obstacles. That was especially concerning for a park dedicated to a physically disabled national hero.
So, the conservancy overseeing the park, New York City and State got together and made a plan for making the magic more perfect.
Last week, with construction fences down, a crew worked on getting the bugs out of a lift giving wheelchair visitors easier access to the park’s graceful lawn.
A shady lane of trees skirting the meadow is obstacle free, now.
Our friend, photographer Irina Hage (Irina Island Images) captured this image of the lift about ready to go.
Final tests insure that as the summer season of activities begins — and as anyone seeks the peace and serenity enabled by Louis Kahn’s magic — it will be full there for all.
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