Roosevelt Island

Franklin D Roosevelt is considered to be one of the greatest presidents of the United States, so in some ways it is a little strange that in NYC his name has been stamped predominantly on a relentlessly busy highway and a mid-river island that for decades was home to the quarantined, the criminal and the crazed. Now there is a new memorial that marks the remodeling of Welfare Island to Roosevelt Island, and gives the cable-car ride from 63rd street or the bike-laned Queensborough Bridge across the East River a more promising push.

The Four Freedoms Park is freshly planted and paved. Sitting south of the ruins of the old smallpox hospital ( designed by the same architect that built Saint Patrick’s Cathedral ) the space has views down to the Williamsburg Bridge and across to the United Nations, where the official First Lady of Roosevelt’s Presidency oversaw the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The words from FDR’s ideology about freedom are predominant in stone, as is a massive bust of the man in all his glory. With respect, and building on the contemplation that the Park inspires, the block formation of the sculpture suggests another bust could later be added, that of Eleanor Roosevelt. Her contribution to the world is not so chiseled, but her words are equally wise and much quoted. The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience… And then – completely unrelated – is my favorite… Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art…

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5 Responses to Roosevelt Island

  1. Dallas Colley says:

    Thank you Gabrielle for Eleanors wisdom and the picures taken on a beautiful sunny day on Roosevelt Island
    A wonderful reclaiming of an important historical site.

  2. Tess says:

    Yes I too love Eleanor’s wisdom … great pictures as usual Gabriel.

  3. Louise says:

    I think Eleanor’s words are your motto for life, Gabrielle: “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience”
    Thanks for the great blog!

  4. Jan Wilson says:

    I bookmarked your info re Roosevelt Island for next visit. I went to NYC in November 2014 and i chose the coldest day to make my trip to the island. I found it inspirational. I was ecstatic to be there in bright sunshine with -3 C degrees . I had the pleasure almost alone. I hope it does not become the great tourist attraction like the Highline. You certainly provide interesting places to explore.
    Jan Sydney

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