Our Pride Weekend social event is a gathering at Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island. Call me Debbie Downer, but given the number of violent attacks against our community in the recent past I thought it prudent to find a place in NYC that exemplified the way life can be lived free from fear. Such a place exists right in our midst - smack dab in the middle of all the boroughs - Roosevelt Island. The island was used as a social experiment under the Urban Development Corporation that actually worked. This planned community has low income and the wealthy living side by side. Better yet, the low income housing is the best designed!
The island's history is peppered at efforts to redefine social institutions such as asylums, hospitals, housing, and schools. The island has also changed up how communities can deal with sanitation, traffic and energy generation. We'll have a first hand look. Get this, You can even be a family of geese and enjoy life as a free living animal here in NYC. Mayor Bloomberg and the USDA are kept at bay. Whether you're goose or human, the island has the lowest crime rate in all of NYC. Not a bad place to set up shop, eh?
Never heard of Four Freedoms Park? This is a memorial park named in honor for Franklin Roosevelt located at the south point of the island named in honor of him - Roosevelt Island! Now there's an ego boost!
“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” - The Universal Declaration of Human RightsDecember 10, 1948
The name of the park comes from the Four Freedoms Speech of 1941. FDR felt that all human life should be lived with:
- Freedom of speech and expression
- Freedom of worship
- Freedom from want
- Freedom from fear
1. 12:30pm - We meet at the F Train Roosevelt Island stop on the plaza just outside the subway entrance. (Can a subway stop be glamorous? This is the closest that the subway approaches eurocool. This is also one of the deepest stations in the system.)
2. 12:45pm - We walk or take the red bus ($0.25) to the park. Bring your own brown bag lunch and whatever you'd like to drink. I think it best that this not be a potluck as we'll be walking around. Lugging large containers of food may not be much fun.
3. 1:00-2:00pm - Lunch followed up by exploring the Four Freedoms Memorial.
4. 2:30pm - We will head to Main Street where the original Southtown of Rivercross, Island House, Westview and Eastwood stand. Southtown terminates with the Motogate - NYC's very own Venetian Palace rendered in brutalist concrete. We'll head back via the promenade on the East River.
5. 4:15pm - We ride the tram to Manhattan. A fitting way to end an afternoon on this wonderful island. The tram takes Metrocard, too.
Here is a recent article on from the NYTimes for further background:
Roosevelt Island is wheelchair accessible, as is public transportation to Roosevelt Island. The Tram and the Red Bus can accommodate wheelchairs, and there is an elevator at the Roosevelt Island F train station. There are nice private individual restrooms at the Four Freedoms Park and a restroom at the Tramway.