Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Memorial to Louis Kahn or FDR at Southpoint Park?

RIOC President Shane alerted my attention to this letter to the Editor of the NY Sun by a famous architect who is a former student of Louis Kahn, the architect of the proposed FDR memorial at Southpoint Park. I believe the letter is in regard to this NY Sun article which was posted here as well. The writer states:

The FDR Memorial Park will not usurp this community garden, but will enhance it greatly. The formal clarity of the Kahn design will complement the Wild Garden scheme to the north.

In regard to the opposition to the Memorial by residents of Roosevelt Island (the total numbers of which are unclear) the letter writer dismisses as:
the survey of residents referred to in the article was in fact a very small sampling: only 38 people registered their opinion.

I inquired of RIOC President Shane:
Would the author's point that the survey is of no or little relevance because only 38 people were counted be different if a much larger sample of the population was oppossed to the Kahn/FDR memorial?

He replied:
I have no idea. Certainly, if of the 12,000 residents, there were a more substantial number whose opinion had been tallied, by scientific samoling techniques or in gross census, that opinion would have more standing as being representative of Island opinion. The dispositve value of that opinion, whatever it may be, is another matter.

My impression is that for many proponents of the Memorial, their support is based more upon the desire for a Louis Kahn project in NYC than to honor President Franklin D. Roosevelt, particularly since there is an existing FDR national memorial near the National Mall in Washington DC and Roosevelt Island as well the FDR Drive are named after the late President. If the purpose is, as stated, to honor FDR and there is a need for an additional honor, why not proceed with this suggestion from the NY Times City Room Blog Waterfront Expert:
You may be aware of the effort to create a Four Freedoms Memorial to F.D.R. on the southern end of Roosevelt Island, but as it is now the waters alongside the island are only generically known as the east and west channels. While I don’t know about Roosevelt’s impact on the Bronx or the Upper East River towards Long Island Sound, how about “Roosevelt Channel” for that little piece of water between the island and Queens?

I think this is a great suggestion for honoring FDR as well as maintaining the stunning views from Southpoint Park unobstructed by any permanent structure.


Anonymous said...

It would seem a meaningless statistic and fallacious argument, to argue that only 38 residents object to the monument when most are not event aware of its possibility, nor have had the chance to provide input on its desirability.