After years of false starts, the construction of an FDR memorial at the tip of Roosevelt Island is picking up steam. Dignitaries gathered Monday to lay a symbolic cornerstone at the southern tip of the island and commemorate FDR's 1941 speech on the "Four Freedoms."
Those freedoms are freedom of or from speech and expression, religion, want and fear.
When Mayor Michael Bloomberg was asked why the city was funding this park while others were being closed, he said the new park continues his efforts to preserve waterfront land for the public.
"It is also something that reminds us every day, when we see it, whether we are looking at it from Queens or from Manhattan or live here, or fly over New York, visitors that come here, it will remind all of them what an impact this guy had," Bloomberg says.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn told the crowd that FDR was spoken of with reverence when she was growing up.
"I once asked my father, he turned 84 this past August, why he felt so strongly about President Roosevelt. And without a second's hesitation, he looked at me and said, 'Christine, because he saved my life.' That's what we will be reminded of here at this park," Quinn said.
The park was designed in 1972 for its current site by Louis I. Kahn. The plans were presented to the city when the island's name was changed from Welfare Island to Roosevelt Island in 1973.