Four Freedoms Park Conservancy 2018 Recap: Our Best Moments This Year

It’s been an action-packed year at FDR Four Freedoms Park State Park, with over 200,000 visitors stopping by to visit the presidential memorial on Roosevelt Island. Throughout spring, summer, and fall, Four Freedoms Park Conservancy hosted performances, art, and other activities that had students, families, FDR fans, and flocking to the Park. Here are four events that helped make 2018 a particularly memorable year at FDR Four Freedoms State Park.

1. April 21: Cherry Blossom Festival

The Cherry Blossom Festival was our most popular event with over 11,000 visitors coming to see Roosevelt Island’s cherry blossoms in bloom. Held throughout Roosevelt Island, the Cherry Blossom Festival’s main attraction – traditional Japanese music and dance performances – took place at FDR Four Freedoms State Park. Visitors were invited to sit on the Park’s monumental stair or explore the Park while talented musicians and performers like Shamisen Japanese String Ensemble and Soh Daiko drummers kept onlookers entertained until the event wrapped. This annual event is one of our most popular – stay tuned for more details on next April’s festival.  

 The Shamisen (Kicho Kai) Japanese String Ensemble looks out at the audience at FDR Four Freedoms State Park’s annual Cherry Blossom Festival. Photo by Jason Wang, Four Freedoms Park Conservancy.

The Shamisen (Kicho Kai) Japanese String Ensemble looks out at the audience at FDR Four Freedoms State Park’s annual Cherry Blossom Festival. Photo by Jason Wang, Four Freedoms Park Conservancy.

2. Fourth of July

What’s Fourth of July without a symphony of fireworks to celebrate? This year more than one thousand visitors were lucky enough to nab tickets to the waterfront firework viewing event at FDR Four Freedoms Park State Park. There they witnessed fireworks propelled into the sky from 75,000 shells located on seven barges in midtown on Manhattan’s East River. Check out the video below where you can see the fireworks reflected in the United Nations building from FDR Four Freedoms State Park. An incredible way to celebrate the legacy of FDR on the birthday of the United States.

 3. July 14: City of Water Day

Surrounded by rivers and the ocean, New York City has an inextricable relationship with its waterways. Each year Waterfront Alliance’s City of Water Day celebrates the importance of water through events and education activities. While many of the day’s events took place in the Seaport District, Four Freedoms Park Conservancy partnered with Freshkills Park Alliance to bring their Mobile Education Lab to the memorial. The Mobile Education Lab invited visitors of all ages — and especially our youngest visitors — to make field notebooks out of an invasive plant, phragmities, and explore the city waterways using telescopes.  

 Visitors to City of Water Day at FDR Four Freedoms State Park.

Visitors to City of Water Day at FDR Four Freedoms State Park.

 4. October 6: Roosevelt Island Fall for Arts Festival

The annual Roosevelt Island Fall for Arts Festival is filled with music, art, and other activities to celebrate the onset of autumn. Throughout Roosevelt Island, muralists turned plain walls into colorful art works, while visitors participated in activities like yoga, face painting, and story time. Two artists, inspired by the four freedoms, painted murals depicting their visions of freedom on the park’s lawn, while music from The Aaron Short Band, The Swingin’ Ray Abrams Big Band, and The Funktion sounded through the Park. The day concluded with a particularly exciting moment: the arrival of the one millionth visitor to the presidential memorial! We were delighted to share it with the hundreds of visitors who joined us at the Fall for Arts festival, and we’re looking forward to one million more!

 Revelers celebrating the arrival of our one millionth visitor to the Park. Photo by Cory Antiel, Four Freedoms Park Conservancy.

Revelers celebrating the arrival of our one millionth visitor to the Park. Photo by Cory Antiel, Four Freedoms Park Conservancy.