An Interview with FDR Four Freedoms State Park Park Director Angela Stangenberg

This week we, the Conservancy’s 2019 interns, sat down with Angela Stangenberg, the Park Director of FDR Four Freedoms State Park, to interview her about her thoughts on Roosevelt Island, the Park, and the Four Freedoms.

Angela Stangenberg has been working at FDR Four Freedoms State Park for five years.

Angela Stangenberg has been working at FDR Four Freedoms State Park for five years.

 FFP: What is one thing you love about Roosevelt Island?

AS: The layers of history where the Native Americans used it, the Dutch used it, the English were here, the Blackwell family was here, they had their homestead and their orchards. Then a chapter of institutions, and now we’re entering into another phase where there’s parks, green space, a college campus, and a different kind of residential vibrancy and a vibrant community.

FFP: If you could ensure one of the four freedoms for the whole world, which would it be and why?

AS: I would say freedom from want. If you don’t have your basic needs met it would be really hard to achieve any of the other freedoms. So I can relate it to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. If you have food you have sustenance you can move onto other self-actualizing feats. Also, poverty is so wide spread on a global scale. I think we forget that we live in a bubble here in a developed nation and in so many places people are suffering. They don’t have water, they don’t have food, and they don’t have basic needs being met. 

FFP: What do you believe should be someone’s biggest takeaway after visiting FDR Four Freedoms State Park?

AS: I think that I would want people to leave with an optimistic view that a better world is possible. And that it’s okay to be an idealist. We can make a better world through these democratic ideals through enshrining freedoms for all people. 

FFP: If you could go back in time and meet FDR what would you ask or say to him?

AS: So I would ask him what his Twitter handle would be. More seriously, I would ask him how he would approach the divide in the United States right now. There’s so much anger and vitriol and it seems like nobody’s happy no matter where you fall on the political spectrum. All parties are languishing and angry at each other, I would like to know how he would approach bringing the country together.