Roosevelt Island Southpoint Park Closed For Construction, Opening Date Unknown - No Renwick Ruin Visits, July 4 Fireworks or Great Waterfront Viewing
Saturday is supposed to be a beautiful sunny day with temperatures in the upper 80's. Last week on a similar, though not quite so hot day, a reader asked:
How long will Southpark be closed?The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp. (RIOC) web site shows Southpoint Park as being open and it's hours of operations but that is not correct. It is closed No more visits to the Renwick Ruins Smallpox Hospital, July 4 Fireworks or enjoying the fabulous waterfront views for now. When Southpoint Park will reopen is a common question I have been receiving so I went to the source and asked RIOC President Steve Shane:
On a beautiful day like this I miss it already
Do you have an estimate as to how long Southpoint Park will be closed?Mr. Shane replied:
Also, Phase 1 of the Green Rooms/Wild Gardens project did not require closure of Southpoint Park. Is the current closure due solely to FDR Memorial or is there also something about Phase 2 of Green Rooms/Wild Gardens which requires closure as well.
As with most construction sites, until it is safe for the public to be admitted. Phase II requires closure for the fill and planting program. Heavy equipment is being used.Long Island City blogger LiqCity shows us some of the heavy equipment being used
Us Hunters Pointers tend to ignore our little friend to the west, Roosevelt Island, but these days it’s a little hard to, considering the bulldozers and huge piles of dirt sitting around on the southern tip of the island. Turns out it’s the construction for the LONG stalled memorial park dedicated to Franklin D. Roosevelt which has been dubbed Four Freedoms Park, after FDR’s famous speech.
The NY Times reported on Roosevelt Island's FDR Memorial groundbreaking at Southpoint Park:
... Ground was finally broken late last month for the triangular four-and-a-half acre Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park across the East River from the United Nations.and The Real Deal had this to say about the Louis Kahn designed Roosevelt Island FDR Memorial:
There was no ceremony or announcement. A formal groundbreaking will be this summer to celebrate the start of the final phase of Roosevelt Island’s planned development...
... Roosevelt Island remains mired conceptually and architecturally in the 1970s a decade which, you will recall, was not a happy one architecturally or otherwise for New York City. The predominant building stock was and remains one of brutalist poured concrete and those sharp angles that architects favored 40 years ago.Commenting on this horrible design for Southpoint Park, some Curbed readers remarked:
That style appears to be what informs Kahn's Roosevelt Memorial, and it is the same one that apparently will be executed, largely unchanged, at the 4.5-acre southern tip of the island: an abstract, simplified triangle, bordered by trees and culminating in a square platform that protrudes into the East River and contains a larger than life statue of the late president. Louis Kahn -- at his best. He was capable of greatness and we should surely welcome anything by him in New York City. The problem is that, while some of his projects, like the Kimbell Museum in Fort Worth, Texas have thus far stood the test of time, others, like his two museums in New Haven, have not done so to the same degree.
There is a real risk that the site will merely seem forbidding...
...As for the upcoming FDR monument, I fear that, even if it is successful in every other respect, it will soon languish out there at the southern tip of Roosevelt Island.
(one word) ... HORRIBLE!!!LiqCity readers had this to say as well:
What an ugly park design.and:
It looks like a concentration camp. Ugly ugly ugly.Art critic Thomas B. Hess had this to say about the design when first proposed in the 1970's
: ... the sort of political edifice that the Italian fascists loved and Speer perfected for the glory of the Third Reich... The site itself is treated heartlessly. What was a modest, picturesquely rugged shoreline has been disciplined to straight lines and symetrical angles that have no significance beyond the alarming one of man's ability to impose a meaningless geometry on nature. The ultimate irony is that Roosevelt, who fought totalitarians to the death, is commemorated in the harsh style propogated by the dictators.Can this taxpayer supported boondoggle be still stopped in it's tracks? Will the public financing of this project be withdrawn due to the ever worsening New York State and City Budget Crisis, particularly funding cuts for State and City Parks? Will private contributors to the project rethink their donations and withdraw them as well? Will sanity prevail and lance this boil on the tip of Roosevelt Island from being completed? Who knows but stay tuned for more.
UPDATE 5:25 PM - Even if Southpoint Park was open this summer, Newyorkology reports that we would not be able to see the Macy's 4th of July Fireworks from Roosevelt Island since they will again be moved from the East River to the Hudson River for the second straight year. According to Newyorkology:
For the second year in a row, the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks will light up the skies above the Hudson River, again snubbing the East River which had been the most frequent location for decades....and: ...
The fireworks were moved to the Hudson in 2009 as part of the festivities honoring the 400th Anniversary of Henry Hudson’s first arrival to the river that now bears his name. The move angered Brooklynites, Roosevelt Islanders and residents of Manhattan’s east side. But their loss was New Jersey’s gain, as well as everyone on the west side on Manhattan...