We, the Conservancy’s 2019 interns, sat down with Ray Valentin, FDR Four Freedoms State Park Cobblestone Technician. We interviewed him on his thoughts on the Park, Roosevelt Island, and FDR’s Four Freedoms.
FFP: What is one thing you love about Roosevelt Island?
RV: The view, the landscape, the fact that you can come here, and anywhere on the island you can actually enjoy yourself and feel free.
FFP: If you could ensure one of the Four Freedoms for the whole world, which would it be and why?
RV: I would say freedom from fear. The reason why I say this is because I hate oppression. And I stand for people that are afraid and people that aren't willing to speak for themselves. I believe that is fair for everyone: just to be able to accomplish and do things without being afraid of someone judging you.
FFP: What do you believe should be someone’s biggest takeaway after visiting FDR Four Freedoms State Park?
RV: Well of course the statue itself, the fact of the work that was put into making this park, you know? And the staff that is still here maintaining the Park. I think that should stay inside their mind and hopefully have them leave a donation, publicize the Park more, and just spread the word basically.
FFP: If you could go back in time and meet FDR what would you ask or say to him?
RV: Well what I would say to him is thank you. He came at a time of depression. I believed he had three Rs, relief, recovery and reform. I would tell him thank you for that. He was one of the presidents that actually took initiative. He also believed that if we tried something and it doesn’t work we’d try something else and I agree with that theory.