Newsletter: Volume 2, Issue 5

Four Freedoms Park Conservancy Newsletter
Volume 2, Issue 5
One of the things we often talk about here at the Conservancy is community. How to create it, how to foster it, and what "community" really means to the people who visit the Park. These aren't easy ideas to tackle and a solution isn't static. To us, community means more than a shared geography, or a shared group of traits, or a shared love of, say, presidential history. It means the ability to come together and have a shared experience an understanding that we aren't all that different from one another, that in fact, we're pretty similar. 

On July 12, for the first time ever, we hosted a special event at the Park to celebrate Manhattanhenge— a semi-annual natural phenomenon in which the sun sets perfectly in line with the NYC street grid. Scores of photographers flocked to Manhattan intersections and prime viewing points along the water's edge to capture it. For many of these visitors, that night was their first trip to the Park. We watched couples dance to the latin jazz band playing under our Copper Beech trees, we watched families lay down blankets to see the sun set, and we watched photographers waiting patiently just north of the 'Room' for that single moment when the sun slid beyond horizon. Hundreds joined us to to experience this very personal, this very contemplative event, but within the Park, it became a moment of both introspection and connectivity.

That same week, two high school interns joined our team from Studio in a School's Bloomberg's Arts & Culture Internship program. Over the course of six weeks, rising seniors Isaiah Lee from Academy for Careers in Television and Film and Marie-Therese Ghunney from Talent Unlimited High School, worked with documentary filmmaker, Katherine Cheairs, to meet, interview, and film older New Yorkers about their experiences during the Great Depression and beyond. At the end of their internship, Isaiah and Marie will produce a short documentary film. We can't wait to share it with you in the near future!

Next month on Wednesday, September 21, we will host our biggest fundraising event of the year: the annual Sunset Garden Party. This year in honor of the 80th anniversary of Roosevelt’s Good Neighbor Policy, Four Freedoms Park Conservancy will honor the exemplar of this policy — the relationship of the United States, Mexico, and Canada. We are thrilled to present a special program that celebrates those who exemplify this policy. Expect an e-invite soon! 

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. We look forward to seeing you at the Park soon! 

All the best,

Sally Minard
President & CEO
Four Freedoms Park Conservancy




Over the course of six weeks, rising high school seniors Isaiah Lee and Marie-Therese Ghunney will work with documentary filmmaker, Katherine Cheairs, to meet, interview, and film local older New Yorkers about their experiences during the Great Depression and beyond.

Last week, we sat down with Isaiah and Marie to ask them about their internship, their progress so far, and their favorite part of working at Four Freedoms Park.

Read our Q&A with them here.

On Tuesday, July 12 the Park opened its gates after-hours to celebrate "Manhattanhenge," a semi-annual event in which the sun sets perfectly in line with the New York City street grid. 

This was the first time the Park hosted an event for Manhattanhenge and one of the rare times the Park stayed open to the public after sunset. For those who stayed after the sun went down at 8:27, they were treated to a clear night sky, with only the lights of Manhattan in the distance aglow. 

Check out photos from the night here!


This week, the Park received a special visit from the Boys & Girls Club of Harlem and New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. Thirty campers from the Club, ages 9-12, traveled to the Park to learn about the history of the memorial, FDR and his legacy, and to discuss how the four freedoms shape their lives today.

Check out photos from their visit here.

On Wednesday, July 13,  Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright, and Acting President/CEO/General Counsel of RIOC Susan Rosenthal visited Roosevelt Island and Four Freedoms Park.
Check out photos from their visit here.


Send us your favorite shots of the Louis Kahn-designed Park for a chance to win a $500 gift certificate to Adorama. The contest runs from June 15 through October 15, 2016 and the winner will be announced in December. 

Read our full contest rules and submit your photo here.


Celebrate with us at our annual fundraiser, the Sunset Garden Party on Wednesday, September 21 and help ensure the Park stays beautiful for years to come. All proceeds go directly to Four Freedoms Park's operations, and educational and public programs. Learn more about the event here; invitation to follow.

For sponsorship information, contact Howard Axel, Vice President of Development:


Music at Sunset:
Joyful Jazz with Sammy Miller and the Congregation*

Thursday, August 11
6pm - 9pm 

Get ready to feel good with Sammy Miller and the Congregation’s unique style of jazz – joyful jazz – a style that entertains, enriches, but most of all uplifts. Known for their relentless brand of upbeat jazz, Miller lives by the motto: Jazz is joyful. Life should be too!

No registration required; free.


* Food, beer, and wine will be available for sale at the Katchkie Truck for our Music at Sunset Series. Members receive two complimentary drinks. Become a member today
Imagination Playground & the Uni Project
Saturday & Sunday, August 20 & 21
12pm - 4pm

The big blue building blocks and our pop-up reading room return to the Park. Come read, draw, and play! 
All ages.
No registration required; free.

Horticulture Club
Saturday, August 27
10am - 1pm

Join our Horticulture Club and help us keep the Park beautiful while learning new horticulture techniques.
Registration recommended; free.

Drop-in Yoga
May 2 - August 27, Ages 18+ 
Mondays, 6pm - 7pm: Vinyasa 
Fridays, 6pm - 7pm: Hatha 
Saturdays, 10am - 11am: Vinyasa

Bring your own mat.
Suggested donation $5. No registration required. Free for members.

The Good Neighbor Policy and Mexico

An excerpt from The Good Neighbor Policy

Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Good Neighbor Policy had significant impact on relations between the United States and its nearest neighbor to the south, Mexico.

Determined to establish and maintain a rapport with Mexico, FDR appointed Josephus Daniels as U.S. ambassador to the country when he became president in March 1933. This appointment struck many as surprising. As U.S. secretary of the navy while FDR served as assistant secretary from 1913 to 1920, Daniels had been FDR’s boss, and the two had not always seen eye to eye on policy matters. In addition, Daniels had been the official charged with carrying out President Woodrow Wilson’s orders to dispatch the navy to occupy the Mexican state of Veracruz on the Gulf of Mexico in 1914. This intervention in the Mexican Revolution had not been popular in Mexico, and Daniels’s arrival there as ambassador was marred by protests outside the American embassy and a cool reception by Mexican officials.

But Daniels quickly established himself as one of the most effective and well-regarded ambassadors in the history of U.S.-Mexican relations. In this, he was helped greatly by FDR, who remained steadfast in his determination to maintain a policy of nonintervention in the affairs of sovereign American states, articulated and agreed to at the Pan-American Conference of December 1933 in Montevideo, Uruguay.

The election of Lázaro Cárdenas del Río as president of Mexico in 1934 also seemed auspicious for the future of U.S.-Mexican relations. As a social reformer who admired FDR’s New Deal, Cárdenas instigated a number of policies and programs aimed at improving the lives of the Mexican people. He instituted land reform, promoted a secular public education system, and established workers’ cooperatives that would help Mexico’s industrial laborers secure better wages and working conditions.

Not surprisingly, however, American corporate leaders doing business in Mexico regarded Cárdenas’s workers’ rights reforms with alarm. His government’s efforts to abolish religious education, meanwhile, were widely viewed by American Catholics as an attack on the Church. By the spring of 1935, Americans opposed to Cárdenas’s education reform had launched a vigorous campaign to reverse this policy by demanding the recall of Ambassador Daniels and by attempting to pressure the U.S. Congress into launching an investigation into alleged religious persecution in Mexico.

FDR flatly refused to support these initiatives, however, insisting that he would not permit his government “to undertake a policy of interference in the domestic concerns of foreign governments” that would “jeopardize the maintenance of peaceful relations.” Continued here.

Photo: A 1943 poster issued by the U.S. Office of War Information to promote inter-ethnic solidarity in the American war effort. In a domestic application of the principles of the Good Neighbor Policy, the government reached into Spanish-speaking neighborhoods with the message that people of Mexican descent were welcome—and needed—in defense industry jobs, the armed services, war-bond drives, and other activities of the cause. Leon Helguera is made possible by its lead donor, Stavros Niarchos Foundation. 
Copyright © *|CURRENT_YEAR|* *|LIST:COMPANY|*, All rights reserved.

Photo credits:
Cover Photo: Daniela Velasco
Manhattanhenge: Daniela Velasco
Boys & Girls Club of Harlem: Beatrice Moritz
Photo Contest: Paul Jung, Winner of the 2013 Four Freedoms Park Photo Contest
Sammy Miller & the Congregation: Courtesy, Sammy Miller & the Congregation
Imagination Playground: Daniela Velasco

Four Freedoms Park Conservancy is a 501(c)(3) organization.  Contributions help to further the mission of the Conservancy and are tax-deductible as provided by law.  Membership categories and benefits are subject to change.  A copy of our last filed financial report may be obtained by contacting us at 1110 2nd Ave, Ste 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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