Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Sign My Petition: Modify the FDR Four Freedoms Memorial Park Design To Recognize FDR's Legacy as a Disabled American

I have created an online petition on line which states the following text regarding the ongoing call to modify or add to the Louis Kahn design of the FDR Four Freedoms Memorial Park, planned for Roosevelt Island, to recognize FDR's legacy as a disabled American:

To: FERI, RIOC, All Federal, State and Local Govt Officials

We, the undersigned, believe that the FDR Four Freedoms Memorial Park, as currently designed by Louis Kahn, and planned for Southpoint Park on Roosevelt Island within New York City should be modified to include a depiction of FDR in some form recognizing his disability.

(1) By recognizing FDR's disability it would further strengthen FDR as a role model to all those with disabilities and again prove that being being differently abled is not a bar and individuals can transcend any impediment placed before them.

(2) By recognizing FDR's disability it would further tie the Memorial to the unique history of Roosevelt Island (formerly known as Blackwell's Island and later Welfare Island) as a home to hospitals and instititions dedicated to the health and well being of individuals who are differently abled.

(3) By recognizing FDR's disability it would additional tie the Memorial to Roosevelt Island recognizing that as a planned community reborn a core component of its rebirth was to enable its disabled citizens to live and function at a level not reached in other communities.

For these reasons and others, we, the undersigned, call upon the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute and the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation, and each of the elected officials representing Roosevelt Island to modify the park's current design to include a depiction in some form of FDR as a disabled American as that fact is as much a part of his legacy as is the Four Freedoms that he brought to this nation.


The Petition can be found HERE.


  1. I can only shake my head about this. If you have your own vision about an FDR memorial why don't you get somebody to commission you to create something. The thing is that Roosevelt Island has been the place that is supposed to get a *Kahn* memorial. Not anybody else's. This whole petition is like asking a painter to redo his painting because the community would like to see this or that.

  2. What if we don't want the memorial at all? Also, to the previous commenter, public art is modified and designs are changed all the time to accommodate a variety of concerns: economic, political, and yes, aesthetic. Kahn's design is no more inviolate than any other. For recent examples see Liebeskind's original Freedom Tower or Calatrava's WTC transportation hub.

  3. I understand. The thing is that this memorial was never about FDR's disabilities. Doing that now changes the entire meaning of the memorial (and not just aesthetics). Southpoint Park is going to be big enough that other viewpoints can be incorporated on the peripheral.

  4. To the person making the first comment.
    Your statement exhibits the very reason why FERI's proposed Memorial must be stopped.

    Roosevelt Island is not supposed to get a "Kahn Memorial". It is supposed to get a Franklin D Roosevelt Memorial!

    To the person making the third comment. A memorial showing FDR in a wheelchair is not just an inspiration to the large disabled population on Roosevelt Island and across the United States but to anyone who has overcome great hardships and challenges in their life. Such a memorial would certainly be more inspiring than the bust contained in the death box sculpture room as currently contemplated.

    In order to maintain a Four Freedoms theme, the four sides at the base of a wheelchair sculpture could contain the 4 Freedoms.

  5. Yes, an FDR memorial designed by Kahn. FDR's disabilities can be showcased somewhere else in Southpoint Park. I think this is a fair compromise UNLESS this is all about making sure that the Kahn memorial is not going to be built at all.

  6. At this point I have no problem with the current design keeping the bust of FDR's head but my goal is that somewhere else, not necessarily the focus, as that is the Four Freedoms, I would like there to be as part of the larger park's design recognition of FDR's disability.

    I think it is important for the reasons stated in my petition for that recognition to be there from day one of the park's completion. If the funding for this added design element must be raised privately so be it but I think it woudl go a long way for all parties if this would be considered and worked into the project.