On Tuesday, May 10, the New York Times published an article titled, "City and Nonprofit Clash Over Accessibility of Roosevelt Memorial." We wanted to take this opportunity to address the article with you directly and to reiterate that Four Freedoms Park Conservancy is - and always has been - committed to accessibility for people with disabilities. We have spent decades protecting and promoting the legacy of President Roosevelt and his Four Freedoms, and our obligation to the disabled community is of utmost importance to us. We invite people of all abilities to visit the Park, to experience the power of this unique place, and to become a part of our community.
Below is the letter sent to the Editor of the New York Times in response to the article.
To the Editor:
Re “City and Group Clash Over Accessibility of Roosevelt Memorial” (news article, May 10):
In 1921, at the age of 39, Franklin D. Roosevelt was given a diagnosis of infantile paralysis, or polio. He suffered an ordeal that many believe gave him the courage and character to become one of our greatest presidents. With infinite patience, he learned to move again, to rely on the physical support of others, never giving in to despair, to self-pity, to discouragement. Roosevelt is an icon to the disabled community, as well as to the Four Freedoms Park Conservancy.
The Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island has had thousands of disabled visitors who have never raised a single question about accessibility. We have worked closely and successfully with the Disabled Association of Roosevelt Island.
The portion of the park in question, a sunken terrace known as the “ha-ha,” is not accessible to the general public, let alone the disabled community, and it represents just 720 square feet of the memorial park’s four acres.
We invite interested visitors to come to the park and experience this extraordinary memorial for themselves.
WILLIAM J. VANDEN HEUVEL
Mr. vanden Heuvel is the founder and chairman emeritus of the Four Freedoms Park Conservancy, and Ms. Minard is its president.