Newsletter, Volume 1, Issue 5

Park News & Events, August 2015
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People often ask us, "What’s it like to work at Four Freedoms Park?" We thought it might be nice to share an answer to this question by way of a summer newsletter. We have an incredible onsite staff at Four Freedoms Park: they are thorough and kind, and work to make every visitor enjoy his or her time at the Park. We cannot thank them enough for their hard work.

On a typical day, a Park manager and a few rangers arrive at Four Freedoms Park roughly thirty minutes before the gates open to the public at 9am. Many travel through Manhattan, hopping on the tram at 59th St. and passing, in mid-air, dozens of Roosevelt Island residents on their way into the city.

A manager’s day begins with a brief walk around the Park to check the condition of the granite and trees, to pick up any stray scraps of garbage, to relieve our overnight security team, and to read the pesky love letters in glass bottles that wash up on the rip-rap shoreline each day. Dear Four Freedoms Park Managers… (Just kidding! We haven’t received any messages in a bottle…yet.) The managers send the Conservancy staff a brief report of scheduled activities, tours, and maintenance projects, and then unlock the Park gates for the first of many visitors.

There are the runners – they come daily, no matter what the temperature is – and the walkers. There are the parents with strollers, the architecture lovers, the historians, the lovely couple who traveled from Europe just the day before, the teachers, the students, the photographers, and the dancers. Sometimes there are people dressed in costume, and sometimes, someone gets down on one knee and asks to spend a lifetime together with their loved one.   

Throughout the day, Park managers and rangers, a small team of 13 seasonal and full-time employees - Angela, Cisse, Eric, Franklin, Jamila, Janyll, Jason, Jodi, John, Mark, Minhaj, Osborne, and Paul - care for the Park. They wash the granite using water and soap, clean the gifts left behind by our friendly flock of geese, pull any offending weeds from between cobblestones, and weekly, they trim the lawn using a push mower; a process that given the size of the green area, can take much of the day. They take moisture readings to monitor the trees, and manage our small Park gift shop. They patrol the area to provide visitors with any assistance they may need, and when someone needs help getting to the Park, a manager or ranger drives one of our open-air shuttles to the tram station and ferries the passenger to our gates.  

If there happens to be a special event – a family art workshop or musical performance – Park staff sets up tents, tables and chairs, and readies any needed equipment. They greet visitors at the gates and point them in the right direction – “yoga classes meet on the lawn,” or “free tours are held at 1pm,” and sometimes, “of course, you can dance along with the band.”

Sometimes, Park staff receives special visitors. Like this month, a visit from Google Maps who used a special camera to capture 360-degree views of memorial. The images will be stitched together to form a seamless photo-log of the Park so that anyone with an Internet connection can visit (albeit virtually). (We will share more details with you when the footage becomes available in a few months.)

Other times, groups visit the Park for private tours, like the 44 interns from the Clinton Foundation who toured the premises before eating lunch at our picnic tables, or the group of college students from Mount St. Joseph’s in Cincinnati studying current issues in human rights.

At 7pm, after all the visitors have left and the sun has begun its slow descent behind the Manhattan skyline, managers conduct a final survey of the Park, and then lock the gates.

And that is a typical summer day at the Park. Read more about what else happens over on our blog – meet our high school interns, check out photos from past events, and more. As always, please let us know if you have questions or ideas to make the Park even better, or if you simply wish to say hello. Thank you for being a part of our community – we look forward to seeing you at the Park soon. 

All the best,

Sally Minard
President & CEO
Four Freedoms Park Conservancy
Upcoming Events & Public Events
Renowned jazz musician, Art Baron, will entertain Park visitors with the sounds of the Harlem Renaissance and the Jazz age! 

American jazz trombonist and a former member of the Duke Ellington Orchestra, Art Baron will perform music from the early Jazz Age to get audiences on their feet dancing. FREE!

The Katchkie Farm Food Station will be selling beer, wine, and various snacks from 6pm-8pm.
MONDAYS AT 4:15PM, AUGUST 10, 17, 24 & 31
Along with their caregivers, children ages 12 and under are invited to learn Tang Soo Do techniques, increasing their flexibility, strength, memory and coordination. 

Suggested donation $5; free for members. No registration required.
Join Roosevelt Island teachers for hour-long classes surrounded by the New York City skyline.

Vinyasa class with Lauren
Kids & Family yoga with Jax (ages 4-7)
Hatha class with Keren
Class focusing on core with Jax 

Bring your own mat! 
Suggested donation $5. Free for membersNo registration required.
On August 10, 1921, Franklin D. Roosevelt's life would change forever. On that day at age thirty-nine on a family vacation in Campobello, Maine, FDR contracted polio, losing the use of both legs permanently.

Roosevelt fought until his death to regain mobility, yet despite the fact that he would never again walk without assistance, Roosevelt's struggle with polio is a lesson in the power of perseverance. He returned to politics in 1924, and went on to be elected for President three four times by the American people. [Editor’s note: Thanks to all who pointed out this error. Our apologies!] A few years later, he established a polio treatment center in Warm Springs, Georgia, and later founded the March of Dimes. The research sponsored by the March of Dimes eventually led to the development of the polio vaccine. Today, polio is active in only three countries. 

In his eulogy following Roosevelt's death in 1945, Winston Churchill commented, “President Roosevelt’s physical affliction lay heavily upon him. It was a marvel that he bore up against it through all the many years of tumult and storm. Not one man in ten millions, stricken and crippled as he was, would have attempted to plunge into a life of physical and mental exertion and of hard, ceaseless political controversy. Not one in ten millions would have tried, not one in a generation would have succeeded...."

Read more about Roosevelt's struggle and his work to combat polio worldwide here.

Photo: Pictured here at the “walking court” in Warm Springs, GA in 1928, Roosevelt fought to regain his mobility.
Four Freedoms Park Conservancy is a 501(c)(3) organization.  A copy of our last filed Financial Report and Registration may be obtained by contacting us at 1110 2nd Avenue, Suite 301, New York, NY 10022, 212-204-8831 or by contacting the Office of the Attorney General, Department of Law, Charities Bureau, 120 Broadway, New York, NY 10271.
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Cover photo by Mick Hales
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