Thursday, November 29, 2012

Land Grab By FDR Memorial Of Roosevelt Island Southpoint Park - Thirty Thousand Dollar Fence Placed Around Smallpox Hospital Without Approval By RIOC, Removal Demanded By Directors

Image Of Fence Closing Off Smallpox Hospital From Southpoint Park

During November 15 meeting of Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Operations Committee (audio webcast of meeting here), it was learned that the FDR Four Freedoms Park Boondoggle (FDR) installed a $30 Thousand fence surrounding the Smallpox Hospital

Image Of Fence Closing Off Smallpox Hospital From Southpoint Park

in Southpoint Park outside the area of the Four Freedoms Park without prior approval of RIOC.

This is the fence.



A visibly angry and outraged RIOC Director David Kraut demanded that the fence be removed telling FDR's Executive Director Gina Pollara that the fencing surrounding the Smallpox Hospital of RIOC property was:
 ... a land grab...
... you just can't do that...
...I am furious you would put a fence across Roosevelt Island...
and
... you don't have enough law or friends in high places to make us abrogate our responsibility...
RIOC Director Margie Smith said that she did not think there was any land grab. That it was a good faith mistake but that she does not like the fence either.

Here's the Land Grab discussion from RIOC November 15 Operations Committee meeting.



and part 2.



Roosevelt Island resident April Ward attended the meeting and comments:
Southpoint park is the green space, planted with native New York plants and the fenced Renwick ruin, directly before the entrance to the FDR memorial.

FDR has unequivocally and unapologetically over stepped the boundaries of their park to claim a vast swath of land from Roosevelt Island's Southpoint Park, fencing it in to lock it off from visitors according to their limited open hours. The ___foot tall iron picket fence blocks the once beautiful view of the United Nations complex and cuts off the end of the island in an abrupt, massive, physical affront. This "land grab" is an insult to every islander and can not be tolerated.

They have planted two non-native invasive plant species adjacent to Southpoint, some where it appears to be in Southpoint. In addition they want an institutional metal "security booth" stationed in Southpoint Park for their use, just outside the new entry point of this offensive fence.

It seems they did not plan well and now want more space for themselves. Poor planning on their part is no excuse for their want of yet more land and their recent fence construction. And it is absolutely not a reason for Roosevelt Island to simply hand them a few more acres of our green space, let them plant non-native invasives in the park and host their eyesore hut.
Today's RIOC Operations Committee meeting will include a discussion of the fence and the operations of the Park. According to the Agenda for the meeting:
3. Discussion of Southpoint and Four Freedoms Parks Fence and General Operational Issues
According to the FDR web site, here are the rules they are seeking the public to obey.
Park Rules

Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms State Park is a Presidential memorial. To preserve its sanctity and keep the memorial clean, let us all observe the simple rules below. Thank you for honoring this shared public space. Have a wonderful visit.

Please Do

Carry out what you carry in; no littering
Quietly stroll, but leave bicycles, roller skates, scooters, skateboards and amplifiers at home
Enjoy Nature but no tree-climbing, fishing or feeding of wildlife
Leave dogs and pets at home
Enjoy water but no food, alcohol or other beverages
Observe No Smoking policy
For Your Safety

No climbing of embankments or walls
No glass containers
Do not obstruct entrances or walkways
Thank You
Certainly does not sound like much of a park to me.

It will be interesting to see who sets the rules for the operation of the so-called park,


You Tube Video of Roosevelt Island Skateboarding in Southpoint Park

RIOC which controls the land or FDR and "their friends in high places" to quote Mr. Kraut.

79 comments :

YetAnotherRIer said...

I wonder what makes those rules sound that the Four Freedoms Park not a park? The only thing that stands out for me is "leave dogs and pets at home." I personally am a-okay with that rule but the others are pretty much boiler plate for all city parks.

CheshireKitty said...

I visited 4 Freedoms Park for the first time over Thanksgiving weekend and was also bemused by the fence, wondered about its placement since as far as I knew, the ruins are RIOC property and are within Southpoint Park. I thought at the time - wow, I didn't know the Renwick ruins are now part of 4 Freedoms Park - but you never know... maybe I haven't kept up with developments concerning the parks.. I didn't know what to make of it - figured if 4 Freedoms is a State Park, then maybe the States now considers Southpoint part of it (somehow) since RIOC is a State agency (?). So although I think the fence is fine given the remote location of the memorial and the need to physically secure it the days it's not open, I agree with RIOC that it should be moved further up to where 4 Freedoms Park actually is situated and not have it slicing off a portion of Southpoint Park. Can you imagine the uproar if a portion of Central Park was similarly fenced off and made off limits for 3 days a week? BTW an easy way to resolve the problem would be to have the FDR 4 Freedoms Park open the same days/times Southpoint Park is open. You could then simply use the one existing fence that secures Southpoint Park to secure 4 Freedoms Park as well - with no real need to have an additional fence.

RooseveltIslander said...

How many other parks have rules against people, kids and/or adults, running in them or prohibit bringing in food, other than water, for a picnic on the lawn?

If someone brings a ball or frisbee to throw in the park, do they have to "stroll" instead of running to catch it?

How about a kite? Can a person run while trying to get the kite in the air or do they have to only stroll?

How many parks prohibit joggers?

No, these are not rules for a park but for a cemetery.

RooseveltIslander said...

The FDR Park says it does not have the money to keep it open the same days/times as Southhpoint Park

CheshireKitty said...

The park's website says it's
A Memorial to Franklin D. Roosevelt. http://www.fdrfourfreedomspark.org/
IMO, it should be renamed to reflect its stated purpose as a memorial - FDR 4 Freedoms Memorial Park. Although beautiful and impressive, it isn't a park per se. I wonder if there's a rule against sitting on the steps - probably there is. That incredible flight of steps form a natural seating area with the terrace with the 5 spreading trees a stage and the ruins the backdrop upon which a coordinating light show could be projected. I can imagine site-specific performances or even just concerts at the steps - though of course I doubt if the park/memorial would ever permit it.

CheshireKitty said...

Even though it was taken over as a State Park? That's hard to believe.

Jo said...

"leave bicycles, roller skates, scooters, skateboards" at home ??? Are you kidding me? Every child on the island owns a scooter - its practically the main form of transport! I suppose we should be thankful they didn't outlaw strollers too!

deetelecare said...

If anyone thinks that the so-called FDR Park will remove the horrible, ugly fence that no one on RIOC knew was being built (interesting how the obvious security need never came up before!), or give an inch of land back to Southpoint Park, is sadly delusional. The FDR staff have plenty of friends in high places--it became a State of NY Park--and now that it is up, no one has the power, least of all toothless RIOC or the Board, to make it come down. The normal course of events would be to bring FDR to court, but RIOC's standing legally is questionable, since RIOC is a ward of NYS.


It sounds from the meeting that any changes RIOC wants THEY will have to pay for! (That includes protecting the Renwick ruin, which should have been thought of before.)


The rules--when the FDR people were pitching how lovely this East German-1960s apt. block exercise would be for us, and all the enjoyment residents would have, no mention was made of any of this. Infrequent access, no running, no picnics and SHHH! on a large swath of what was ROOSEVELT ISLAND LAND? There are more rules on this patch of land than for the entire FDR Library in Hyde Park, which is NPS and National Archive!


And just wait till Cornell comes....has anyone determined that residents will have free access to the campus? Or will that be fenced off and restricted too, further blocking the entire south area of RI?

deetelecare said...

The steps are a walkway, therefore you cannot sit on it, if you read the rules.


It's all going to be shut most of the time anyway. Let's face it, RI-ers got snookered. It should be 1/2 the Stalinist size it is, and the small bit that is the actual monument fenced off.

CheshireKitty said...

Deetelecare - great comment, though sad. I didn't even see a bench except for the 2 large slabs within the Room where I guess it's OK to rest. I don't think there are any benches anywhere else and the entire complex seems designed to keep people moving - up the paths to the apex where they can experience the to me Panavision-style view from the Room, and then back down again. I really liked the idea of using the bombed-out looking ruins on the other side of the sort of terrace with the 5 trees at the foot of the steps as a stage, with the ruins forming the backdrop and the steps the seating area. The ruins - what was left of "old, bombed out" Europe post WWII, the monument - the new, forward-thinking US. Of course this is an oversimplification but the contrast between the two structures - the ruins, and the monument - is compelling and to me at least fascinating. OK, one thing we can say though - the ruins are definitely a RIOC responsibility and RIOC should have unimpeded access to them in order to be able to keep them up. I think any judge would agree that having a fence blocking them off from RIOC access is against the law. Also - even though there was a fence around the ruins for safety reasons, the adjacent area is of course part of Southpoint park and again up to RIOC to maintain. I think RIOC should sue - although as you say, it's like one branch of the State suing the other.

westviewgirl said...

Gina Pollara and her camp have their eyes on a bigger picture here for our little island in my opinion. Keep your eye on her. This whole thing of calling it 4 Freedoms park is just funny. It is not a park in any way. Listen, I have heard some people that had taken the tram over to go on a private tour with her talking to each other last Summer * I saw her pick them up in her car one Saturday at the Tram after they landed here * I over heard them saying on the ride over that the people of the island will be the ones to profit from the park, and this couple, also said in their conversation that they were very very anxious to see the museum when it was built and opened, and to visit the gift shop and cafe when it was " done " . Maybe that is why she had the ruins gated off, she wants that area for a money making machine, to sell tshirts and hot dogs and coffee. Also, I am curious, did she and her camp turn in and report any and all donations made from private donors, private tours she would give at night, from all the shing dig parties she gave to raise money, and also from all the huge fortune 500 companies and corporations for the building of this "park" ?
I think she and the builders should publish and account for every cent she collected in the name of Roosevelt Island and the Four Freedoms Park. Also, hmmmm, just a little curious if all her lunch parties at the Japanese place down in Southtown and any other dinners, drinking parties etc.. were those all company expenses paid for from donations to build the park? Has the State of NY or the Island RIRA or RIOC made her accountable ? I would like to see The WIRE or this site go to the 4 Freedomes Park board or panal and get a print out from Ms Pollara and ask for any and all documentation of funds she received, and where did all the millions go? Seems like to me just a huge advertising marble billboard for corporations to engrave their names, and the land cannot be enjoyed by any tourist or people that live here...and the tourists are still coming in flocks, and the tour buses are going to be looking for places to park for all the feild trips and what not. The tram on the weekends is more like a ride at disney land than a mode of transportation for islanders. That whole part of the island should have become an animal sanctuary and public park for all of us that live here and the city and state, The billions spent on all that marble cutting and erecting should be embarassing for the city of NY. So many in this city and state need help with food, medicine and cloths, education. This was deemed so important, amazing to me that the Mayor and Govenor put their stamp on this farce. Our island needs a bigger and better school for the children, the sea wall is crumbling, there should be a set of step up to the bridge for evacuation. There are so many things more important than that horrible looking masoleum that has been built.

westviewgirl said...

Ms Pollara and her team have been collecting donations seems now for about 4 years or more. This is not her island to come in and take over, but myself and it looks like others are offending by her attempt to come in and cut herself a peice of pie out of the land with her project..a project that everyone that calls RI home should have been able to vote on in my opinion. Check out this site http://www.panachemag.com/Web/BeSeen/FDRParkNYC/Bookstein_Reception.asp

westviewgirl said...

The parties catering to the rich and famous to come and see the view from Roosevelt Island and where the FDR park will be. http://panacheprivee.com/Web/BeSeen/FDRParkAmb/FDR_Freedom_Park_Reception.asp

YetAnotherRIer said...

All those rich old people who don't know what to do with their money. I am glad they exist.

YetAnotherRIer said...

Ah, what would life be without the occasional conspiracy theory. Keep it going!

CheshireKitty said...

The last photo in the set of photos in this link above includes an illustration of FDR Park with what look like chairs under the trees bordering the central lawn - with no guy-wires anchoring the trees as there are now which make it impossible to have seating there and difficult to even walk along these strips. Unlike the illustration, which shows park visitors enjoying themselves as in a regular park, there is currently no place to sit down - benches or chairs - except on the 2 slabs in the Room, so the overall effect is to "hustle" the visitor in and out - almost like "paying respects" and then out. Plus there are now rules limiting activities that are shown as permitted in the illustration - such as running around. Although there are ledges one could rest on, I wonder if the guards really let visitors rest on those for very long, and we know we cannot run around or even speak loudly at the park, much less have a sandwich or read a paper. There are no garbage receptacles at the park. As another commenter confirmed, even the big flight of steps - which reminded me of the flight of steps leading up to the Met Museum of Art upon which people constantly rest, cannot be used to rest on, since these steps in FDR Park are considered a "walkway". When I was over at the Park on Thanksgiving, the impression I got, looking at those amazing, pristine, slanting marble walls, and the triangular shape, was of a truncated 3-sided pyramid - although 3-sided, a platform similar in shape to the Egyptian pyramids as they are thought to have looked before their smooth outer layer of masonry was removed bit by bit over the centuries. Of course visitors should be respectful at shrines, monuments or tombs. But this Park isn't a tomb - it's a public structure honoring FDR's call for 4 Freedoms. Should it be considered a shrine - similar to the Washington Monument? Or should it be a living constant reminder of these freedoms by being a real park where visitors have the freedom to read a paper, eat a sandwich, take in the view, and let their kids play and yell as they wish, or simply quietly sit on the marble slabs in the Room. Maybe the best way to honor FDR's 4 Freedoms is to let visitors be "free" in the Park. Would it be less of a tribute to FDR if visitors could scramble and run through it? Do we know what Kahn actually intended in his design - did he provide for seating in his plans? Doesn't freedom to run, bike, sit, read, skateboard, eat a sandwich, etc. without fear of running afoul of myriad park rules, honor FDR and the 4 Freedoms more than having visitors shunted in out for a quick look at the Room and the inscription before they walk out - because there is no place to sit down? The Park certainly cannot be used as a park as it is currently configured. Yet, I don't see why this site cannot be transformed into a park within which a designated "solemn" area, i.e. the Room, could be reserved for quiet contemplation. I think FDR's bust should overlook the park lawn as portrayed in the illustration - with kids playing and people resting on chairs under the trees, listening to headsets, eating sandwiches - a park lawn filled with life, celebrating FDR's living legacy, amid an incredible structure.

deetelecare said...

This is all beginning to make sense to me. Remember that foundations are self-perpetuating engines beyond their original mission--staff people e.g. Ms. Pollara want to keep their well-paid jobs and the fundraisers with well-meaning, wealthy donors (with bad jewelry and ill-fitting cocktail outfits) plus the big corporate bucks going. So the land grab (where else to put the gift shop and cafe), although we locals were never told about any of this nor was it on any paperwork.


Pollara has rightly figured the RIOC people for toothless tigers with no pull in Albany, the locals for chumps (we sure acted that way at the hearings--I was one of the bloviators who said this should never be built, but throw them a statue of FDR in a wheelchair and they'll shut up), and NYS and NYC (especially Tiny Bloomie) considering RI a big fat nuisance piece of blank land to be paved over for their special legacy projects (including CornellNYC). Listen to her comments in the RIOC meeting and see if I'm not right. Listen to the CornellNYC people and see if I'm not right.


I keep thinking that if RI-ers had demonstrated en masse (I mean in the hundreds) at the site before the first bulldozer came--and got press (as in TV and viral like YouTube), this could have been stopped. Wealthy donors don't like ornery people and bad press. But my own opinion is that we are done for--especially when you see all the RI-ers playing footsie with Cornell, which won't even proactively employ anyone here. We have too many UN-ers, too many transients, for anyone to even care anymore.

deetelecare said...

I think WestviewGirl is on to something. Gina Pollara is employed by Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, LLC. The park was also supported by the The Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute and they are interlocked. They have public documents. Someone with a legal background and more time than me should be checking into this. And somehow this is now a NYS Park.

RooseveltIslander said...

During Real Estate Committee meeting on Thursday, after much discussion, RIOC agree to allow FDR to keep fence on a "temporary" basis for what is describe as security purposes if they moved it further south next to Smallpox Hospital. The fence will still be on Southpoint Park property and visitors still cannot walk past the entire Smallpox Hospital or around it.



I asked RIOC for a diagram that was passed around during the meeting showing exactly where the fence will be moved to and was told they would not give it to me to share with the community but I would have to ask FDR Park for it.


The RIOC Board decided not to allow the "institutional metal" security booth to be placed in Southpoint Park.

Frank Farance said...

RIOC is free to dispose of trash on their property, regardless of how much one spent on the trash. RIOC is being nice by telling the FDR group to move the fence. Personally, I'd like to see the fence moved upward so we can walk around the ruins, e.g., putting a sliding fence at the base of the steps (i.e., the Mucus Plug of the FDR Womb Memorial).

CheshireKitty said...

Possible slogans: Down with the Fence. Free the Park. Firstly, if 4 Freedoms Park says it can't pay for security for the 3 days a week it's closed (which is rationale it gives for having the fence) if there's no fence then PSD could extend security from Southpoint to 4 Freedoms Park with little or no added expense since 4 Freedoms Park isn't exactly gigantic. Secondly, the same rules that apply to Southpoint should be extended to 4 Freedoms Park - that is, the area of 4 Freedoms that can be considered a park with lawn and trees. The Room with the inscription is more an architectural monument so if 4 Freedoms wants different guidelines (reverence, no loud voices, no eating in that area) for those who may visiting the Room, I have no problem with that. This way, 4 Freedoms becomes a functional extension of Southpoint Park, except for the Room itself. These 2 points are easy to understand and easy to implement, and could be listed on a banner to hang on the fence as a gesture of protest. Of course the banner will be taken down by PSD - but not before protesters have had a chance to photograph/videograph the banner. You could do a simple Youtube video of kids loudly and merrily playing by the fence, panning away to the banner and then to the view, with a voice-over of a parent saying, under the current rules, we can't go into this beautiful park unless our kids remain subdued and do not run around. For residents on a small island like ours, where park/recreation space is at a premium, this is quite a hefty price to pay to have this park. Also - it might have unintended negative consequences such as kids who might associate parks with sadness and silence; at least it will send mixed signals to kids about how they are supposed to behave in a park. If in one park (Southpoint) (pan over to Southpoint) you want them to play creatively and enjoy themselves, but once you and your kids cross the fence (pan back to fence) into Freedoms Park they are supposed to be silent and not run around, this could really confuse a kid. Once kids emerge from "Freedoms" park, then they can be "free" again? If you were a kid, you might give up on the whole thing and stop playing altogether. If you agree that the fence and the 4 Freedoms park rules targeting park users (especially kids) must go, like and share this video. For more info, click on link Free the Park. You can then gauge support by noting the number of times the video is liked/shared. Of course you could make an effort to drive support/views of the video as well. Locally, there could be an education/petition drive. Just distribute a flyer entitled "Free 4 Freedoms Park" or simply "Free the Park". Did you know that Lighthouse Park was so damaged by Sandy it may not reopen by next spring? That only leaves Blackwell Lawn and Southpoint Park - not much of a choice for families and kids. There is another park, though: FDR 4 Freedoms Park. Unfortunately it is closed to the public, locked up behind a tall fence 3 days a week. And even when it's open, visitors can't run, play, throw a frisbee, or even sit down there (because there is no seating). At this park, even eating a sandwich and drinking a soda are prohibited so there are no garbage receptacles. This park celebrates freedom but denies it to visitors, especially children. If you agree FDR 4 Freedoms Park should not be cut off physically and in terms of permitted activities from Southpoint Park, then please add your name to those of your neighbors below. Together, we can make a difference!

Denise Shull said...

To add a little bit of insult to injury, we were down there today and noticed a/the flock of geese resting within Four "Freedoms". As we turned back from the end, the guards (who were only doing their jobs we understand) were running at the geese, waving their arms and most likely shouting "shoo".

Really? Even the geese can't sit on the grass in a "Park"? It's oddly like being in a church and being oppressed by religion - I suspect FDR would not approve.

Frank Farance said...

Ms. Shull: Good point, geese are excellent poop generators, as they demonstrate on Firefighters Field. Maybe the geese will learn that Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday are poop generation days when there is no one to bother them. On Thursdays, will they clean three days of poop every week? The planners of the park hadn't thought about geese,

Bill Long said...

The sign at the FDR Shrine indicates that his worshipers believe that "four freedoms" is an upper limit. The only freedoms to which we are entitled are the ones that the government grants. It's very sad, really, that this attitude is taking hold more and more.

westviewgirl said...

yes, I have been reading more and more about Ms. Pollara and her boss Sally
Minard. These women have an agenda here, and anyone with an ounce of sense and a brain can figure this out. I have never trusted that women after meeting her 2 years ago. She does not care about the people that live here, animals that live here and I bet goes home and laughs at all of us and the RIOC board because she things us all buffoons! I would bet you a fifty dollar bill these women are thinking about charging people to come and visit this place they have built and charge they just might. Here is a little history about Ms Minard. They are both into advertising and big time. Maybe RIOC needs to read up on these people and know who they are dealing with.

In 1986, Ms. Minard co-founded Lotas Minard Patton McIver, an advertising and marketing communications firm that developed programs for companies and institutions, including New York Hospital Cornell Medical Center, Coty, Novogen, NYU Stern School of Business, Mead Johnson, Hearst Corporation and Proctor & Gamble. During her tenure at LMPM, Ms. Minard served for two years as president of Advertising Women of New York, and as director and treasurer of the American Association of Advertising Agencies. Prior to founding LMPM, Ms. Minard held management positions at Lord Geller Federico Einstein and Lintas. Affiliations/Honors/AwardsEdit | HistoryDirector, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute
Ex Officio Trustee, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Member, Board of Advisors, New Democracy Project
Board member, LORAL Space and Communications
Co-Chair, Women's Leadership Forum of the Democratic National Committee
Board member, The New School
Board member, American Red Cross in Greater New York
Past President, New York Women's Agenda
Past President, Advertising Women of New York

Someone said the steps at FDR reminded them of the step at the Met Museum of Art. Ms. Minard worked with them. Maybe they have plans on hearding people in and out of that park and charging admission? Something is not right and I think that they all have figured all of us that live and work here to not be very bright and maybe just plain dumb not to figure out what they may be about to do over here. RIOC may need to get an attorney, a very good one, as I believe they have be lied to and manipulated by these people and they are planning on coming in and taking over this place.

westviewgirl said...

RIOC needs to get an attorney and fast, these 2 women, Ms. Pollara and her boss Ms. Minard have an agenda here, and they plan on doing something big. I can feel it..do they plan on using this island as a money making machine for them and their organizations, and with Cornell coming in, it makes sense...they both have worked with Cornell before, are they holding hands in all of this now and nobody knows about it? wonder what the admission to the FDR park will be and how much a tshirt is gonna cost? Maybe I am wrong, but there is something not right about them both, they have not built a park, they have built more of a monument and more of a museum down there. RIOC you better take note, you are about to if not already, to get played!

Frank Farance said...

Mr. Long, you misinterpret the words. A "world founded upon four essential human freedoms" does not preclude other essential freedoms, these are a starting point (i.e., the use of the word "founded").

As for the focus upon government, it's not individuals that were taking away their own choice of religion, but government. Ditto for freedom of speech/expression. The third freedom isn't necessarily derived from government, but its "healthy peacetime life" could be achieved through other means - our own Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness can be satisfied (some say: intended to be satisfied) without government.

One cannot fault FDR for thinking about the Freedom From Fear (a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in the position of commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor) when, in 1941, the world was in the middle of an all-out war, right?

So your feelings towards the first two freedoms (which are incorporated in our own Bill Of Rights) is: "The only freedoms to which we are entitled are the ones that the government grants. It's very sad, really, that this attitude is taking hold more and more".


Maybe you can explain why you don't like the Bill Of Rights. Or is it that you're still suffering from an Election Hangover?

westviewgirl said...

Ms. Pollara and Ms. Minard are on the Board of the Directors of the park, and they are also collecting donations? Is this a conflict of interest? Check it out:

http://www.fdrfourfreedomspark.org/pages/contact

westviewgirl said...

"Your contribution counts
Your support is an invaluable part of the Park’s continuing operation. We are glad to have you with us as we work to memorialize President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Four Freedoms: freedom of speech & expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear"
Words right off the FDR 4 Freedoms park site, one stating Ms. Pollara and Ms. Minard as Board Members of the park also,

westviewgirl said...

noticed that the hundreds of tourists are still coming over on the tram to see this " park " they are calling it? Here is how they all know how to get here...just wait till summer, there will be thousands! http://www.fdrfourfreedomspark.org/pages/planning-your-visit

CheshireKitty said...

It might be nice if they didn't charge to see the memorial - the big Pres memorials in Washington are all free of charge. But NYS historic sites sometimes charge adm and vehicle use fees. The park may be viewed as another money maker - maybe the State wants another revenue stream from it. It's a good question how the proceeds of current fund-raising by Ms. Pollara & Minard is divvied up (if at all) with the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Do they turn over the money to NYS? If not, are they raising money for their organizations to "coordinate" having a gift shop built so they can make more money? Is the point of the whole enterprise to build a money-making historic site, rather than a monument within a new park open and accessible to the public like any other park (which is what we were lead to believe)? Interestingly, FDR himself wanted no stone monuments - he's on record as having said so when he was alive. The only memorial FDR wanted was a plain block of (any type of) stone about the size of his desk with no ornamentation whatsoever other than a simple inscription "In Memory Of..." to rest on the grounds of the National Archives in Washington. Here's a link to a pic of the only monument he wanted, which was unveiled 20 years after his death, in 1965: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jfholloway/3354984649/in/set-72157606775602193

CheshireKitty said...

No doubt FDR would not approve. I'm surprised, though, the guards were running and shouting - since that's a violation of park rules. :-P

deetelecare said...

Frank, FDR was a 'progressive' of the first generation of grabbers, but even he would have blanched at this so-called park, quite different than the Hyde Park site (and satellites) which is a museum, library, park and interpretive site.


This is set up by a bunch of wealthy elites who think they are doing good for the 'masses.' I disagree with Bill that this wasn't government granted, but it is state land and who are we, in a representative government, but the people who should be the bosses of the State of NY? You have to question the mixture of NYS park and private foundation essentially privatizing the south end.


And can you tell me, since you are much more wired into local stuff than me, about how much access we're going to have when Cornell takes a BIG chunk of land over at the south?

deetelecare said...

So....RIOC caves again! No big surprises here from the Toothless Tiger.

deetelecare said...

They could put it to far better use than this.

Frank Farance said...

My sense is the access won't change. The service road will be wider (40-feet, like in front of Southtown buildings), RIOC will own the promenades, and Cornell will be the "island" where Goldwater sits.



RIOC's land comes up to "A Line Parallel to and Five Feet Distant from all Faces" of both hospitals (Annex III and IV in the RI Master Lease). That's not a squared box, so RIOC is negotiating with Cornell to smooth out some of those edges, which involves giving back land to the City (so they can give it to Cornell), which involves termination fees (according to the lease), and thus ESDC's interest in their portion of those fees, because of the billion dollars RIOC owes ESDC.

Frank Farance said...

Memorial to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945)

In the northwest corner of the grounds of the National Archives building on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC, is a plain white rectangular stone about the size and shape of a desk. On a plaque near the sidewalk:

“In September 1941 President Franklin Delano Roosevelt called his friend, Supreme Court Justice Frankfurter, to the White House and asked the Justice to remember the wish he then expressed:

“If any memorial is erected to me, I know exactly what I should like it to be. I should like it to consist of a block about the size of this (putting his hand on his desk) and placed in the center of that green plot in front of the archives building, I don’t care what it is made of, whether limestone or granite or whatnot, but I want it plain without any ornamentation, with the simple carving, ‘In memory of ______’”

"A small group of living associates of the president, on April 12, 1965, the twentieth anniversary of his death, fulfilled his wish by providing and dedicating this modest memorial.”

See "http://www.flickr.com/photos/jfholloway/3354984649/in/set-72157606775602193".


[Photo link provided by CheshireKitty]

Jesse Webster said...

I agree, they're only being polite by not tearing the fence down.

YetAnotherRIer said...

Right. But his wish does not mean that other architects do not see something entirely different in him and erect monuments the way they want them to be.

YetAnotherRIer said...

How can Bill "misinterpret the words"? An interpretation is an opinion framed in a specific context and sometimes shaped with an agenda. Your interpretation is not the only "right" one. There is no such thing as a "false" interpretation as long as it creates a discussion.

YetAnotherRIer said...

What cultural institution was not "set up by a bunch of wealthy elites who think they are doing good for the 'masses' with their donations and cocktail parties?"


It's old or bored people with too much money. We should be glad they give us things like the Met, Central Park, Four Freedoms, etc. etc. etc.

YetAnotherRIer said...

That's a matter of opinion and mine differs entirely from yours.

YetAnotherRIer said...

Yes, they will take over the island and turn into something evil... I can feel it, can you?

Frank Farance said...

True.

Frank Farance said...

Mr. Long says there is "an upper limit" for four freedoms, i.e., it is impossible that there is a fifth or sixth freedom. There are no words that prohibit more than four. If FDR intended the list to be exhaustive (i.e., no other possibilities) then he would have used the word "only" or some other limiting word.

You're right, there may be multiple valid interpretations, but Mr. Long's interpretation is not a valid one. Simply saying "another context" doesn't turn Mr. Long's interpretation into a valid one. As told by a friend's law school professor about their exam: "There is no Right Answer, but there are Wrong Answers".

Westviewer said...

Huh?

deetelecare said...

And I thought I was the cynical one here. Actually most foundations, institutions, voluntary societies and charities have ongoing purpose to them that goes beyond building an edifice, improving culture, education or improving health, as instances. How they execute on that purpose we can debate. How active donors get is another. But it seems that the sole purpose of donations and cocktail parties here was to build a superfluous granite and bronze memorial on state land, call it a park because of some trees and an 'allee', gate it off and THAT'S IT.

Perhaps as an active, interpretive historian, who sees small museums and endeavors all around that preserve (or ARE) history and which are staffed by dedicated people, I look askance and in dismay at cold granite alone. These small museums and non-profits are in the hundreds (Fraunces Tavern, South Street Seaport and the Soldiers’, Sailors’, Marines’, Coast Guard and Airmen’s Club) are starving for funds and active boosters. But they are low on smart cocktail parties.

deetelecare said...

See above for my explanation on why Four Freedoms 'Park' is rubbing people the wrong way.

deetelecare said...

I can feel something else...that you are not interested in an honest discussion of what may be going on here. Or what is called a site pest. Your snark is uncalled for here. Doubt you even live here.

deetelecare said...

Cheshire, my only comment on your excellent remarks is that 'carry in, carry out' is accepted at most parks, state and National. When you visit most parts of Gateway National Seashore (NPS) that's the policy and an understandable one. We have plenty of places on RI to dispose of our refuse appropriately!

deetelecare said...

WestviewGirl, I just focused in on the 'museum' part of the conversation. For one, I would not mind a museum...it might give all of this park some MEANING...except that a museum was never part of the discussion of the plan! So maybe Minard and Pollara are raising money on false premises?

deetelecare said...

Mistakes such as fence placement do not happen by 'accident.'

deetelecare said...

Frank, let's keep this discussion tasteful. Kindly edit out your last sentence; it doesn't bear on the situation here.

deetelecare said...

I wouldn't mind hundreds or even thousands over the summer, who might come over here to stroll by the tram, visit the little RI museum (Judy Berdy's going to be busy), and maybe support our local businesses and RIVAA if we can point them northward. But this will be short-lived -- once the teardown of Goldwater and construction of Cornell gets going, it's gonna be a war zone.

Westviewer said...

Oh you are so right. There has never been any construction in New York City.

deetelecare said...

I meant it becomes less attractive to walk from the tram through the outskirts of a large demolition/construction site to the park. It will likely cut down on visitors. That's all I meant, and the snark is not appreciated.

deetelecare said...

I had no idea this even existed, and I visit the FDR Library and Museum in Hyde Park every year at Memorial Day for a historical event. Thank you for sharing it with us.

Frank Farance said...

deetelecare, it is a reference to my longer post about the art-architecture interpretation of the FDR memorial when I visited it the first time a couple weeks ago. Here was the full post, so you can see the context:

[Nov 18] Vicki, Westviewer, and Cindy inspired me to Check It Out, so here are my impressions of the FDR Memorial:

MADONNA WITH CHILD.

Arriving at the Hill With Stairs makes no sense. It's just a mound of dirt that cramps the Ruins and that mound of dirt serves no purpose because you're going to climb those stairs (A Metaphor For: The Struggle In Life) which you descend back down again on the other side (A Metaphor For: The Ultimate Letdown Of Life Itself) and walk through the antiseptic rows of trees (A Metaphor For: The Infirm Years And Hospice Care) that narrow and focus upon the bust of FDR (A Metaphor For: The Self-Reflection Upon One's Life, i.e., We Are Not As Great As FDR) that take you to a room of FOUR freedoms with only THREE walls (A Metaphor For: The Degenerative Mental State Of Delirium), the shallow pool with rotten leaves (A Metaphor For: The Indignity Of Incontinence), and finally the flocks of seagulls awaiting chum from another fishing boat (A Metaphor For: The Final Agony Resulting In Death), surrounded by the East River (A Metaphor For: Purgatory), with little Belmont Island in the distance (A Metaphor For: The Afterlife). One turns around and there are Parks Department people in pairs that have interesting but historically inaccurate tidbits about the Island, the place, and the monument (A Metaphor For: The Bureaucracy Of Death, Hearses, Morticians,Burial Fees, And Such).

As I was leaving I discovered I might have it all wrong. This is not about Death, but about Life! Maybe even about Birth! Yes, we are starting at the room not of FOUR freedoms, nor of THREE walls, but a room of TWO sides (A Metaphor For: The Ovaries) as the park visitor (A Metaphor For: The Sperm) passes the Bust Of FDR (A Metaphor For: The Embryo) within the lawn and trees (A Metaphor For: The Uterus), the trees as PLANTS themselves (A Metaphor For: Uterine Wall Im-Plant-ation), the smooth long stone slabs along the park's edges (A Metaphor For: The Placenta), the stairs are now seen as an obstacle in the positive sense (A Metaphor For: The Mucus Plug That Protects The Uterus), the walkway in front of the Ruins (A Metaphor For: The Birth Canal), that transitions us from the FDR Memorial (A Metaphor For: The Sterility Of The Womb) to Wild Gardens (A Metaphor For: The Chaotic Vibrancy Of Life).

In other words, the true exhilaration comes from leaving the memorial and returning back to life. Or said differently, the FDR Monument with the Wild Gardens is a MADONNA WITH CHILD presented in an architectural setting. Louis Kahn is a genius.

:-)

Seriously, immerse yourself in the Monument and notice on the way out how the Ruins look more beautiful than you'd had ever realized. Maybe you'll even see how the rows of trees have their best look now (i.e., leaf-less).

[Note: Having several college roommates majoring in literature, art, and architecture, I've borrowed some of their finest writings and insights.]

CheshireKitty said...

Re-purpose the ruins as a museum?

CheshireKitty said...

He's right Westviewer - the businesses along 2nd Ave in the UES are still suffering. The FFP looks like a ship's prow - why not have ferry service to and from FFP? If the ruins are converted to a museum/interpretive center/cafe - then you have the all-in-one-destination - no need to trek through the Cornell construction zone.

CheshireKitty said...

Is FERI involved with Hyde Park? Do you know who was behind the monument (with the statue of FDR & his little dog) in Washington? FERI? Either way, I'm sure these 3 locations will "cross-promote" each other in literature/events (if there are events at the FDR monument in Washington).

Denise Shull said...

Why do I think Gina Pollard overlooked this - assuming it is true - in her fundraising?

Frank Farance said...

Ms. Shull, because YetAnotherRIer is right in that other architects may wish to erect a shrine. Simply: Beautiful Plot Of Land + Popular President + Unassailable Theme + Pedigree Architect ... now just get it funded ... wait 40 years later. If you had a project that could claim stake to this plot of land, would you give it up? Neither would I. :-)

deetelecare said...

OK, get that it is Satire. When you pull it out of context it does sound strange.

deetelecare said...

"...this couple, also said in their conversation that they were very very anxious to see the museum when it was built and opened,"

I didn't hear this conversation, WestviewGirl did, and it's the first time I've heard of a museum. Don't know if re-purposing the ruin is the intent, and that would be another land grab from RI. A museum, gift shop and cafe do not appear in any plans I've seen, nor on the website--but if they are discussing future plans with donors and raising money on that basis, we need to find out what is the truth.

deetelecare said...

"In the coming weeks and months there will be a number of ways for you to get involved with the Park. From becoming a docent, to volunteering at events, there is a way for everyone to be a part of FDR Four Freedoms Park."

* Docenting usually involves a display of some kind and a steady flow of visitors, neither of which apply. I guess this applies to private tours and during the summer.
* Events--really? Is the park going to be used for private parties? That was also not part of the plan presented to us at those 'hearings'. Does that mean that the guests will be able to eat, hear music, and not worry about carrying out their trash or someplace to sit? Things that are not available to the rest of us visitors even if we bring in and carry out.
* Everyone is part of Four Freedoms Park--except the Roosevelt Islanders.

deetelecare said...

They mention events on their website. I'm sure they will all be PRIVATE FUNDRAISERS.

CheshireKitty said...

A 9/12/12 Times article about FFP states that "The sober ruin of an adjacent 19th-century smallpox hospital, designed by James Renwick Jr., architect of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, is to become the park’s entry pavilion..." http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/13/arts/design/louis-kahns-franklin-d-roosevelt-four-freedoms-park-to-open.html
So, evidently the Times writer knew something that RIOC (and all of us) aren't aware of - that the "plan" *is* to re-purpose the Renwick ruin as an "entry pavilion" to FFP. Hence, the placement of the fence blocking off the ruins - slated for "re-purposing".

Frank is right (on this at least): No matter what the person being honored wanted, politicians use the construction of projects, sometimes in the form of memorials, sometimes even memorials to politicians who never wanted memorials - to construct their own legacy.

Yet, why didn't FDR's descendants try to have FDR's wishes honored about not having elaborate memorials built? As Denise said - did fund-raising for FFP ever mention that FDR did not want elaborate memorial(s) built? Unlikely. Is it possible FERI "uses" FDR's memory to self-perpetuate? Likely.

CheshireKitty said...

Yep - so it seems. See my comment of a few minutes ago, where the Times evidently knew back in Sept that the ruins are going to be re-purposed as an "entrance pavillion". That must be what the couple meant by the "museum". Obviously more fund-raising is in order, and undoubtedly those events will be held at the FFP - thus the need for docents etc. As you say, it's nice that we - including RIOC - are the last to know..

CheshireKitty said...

Incidentally, for anybody interested, the Wash. FDR Memorial, although elaborate - and, as we know, not what FDR would have wanted (since he didn't want any elaborate memorials) - tries to convey an overview, in the form of various sculptures, inscriptions, waterfalls, the placement of boulders, and "rooms" as well as following a winding path through the 7.6 acre site, of FDR's entire presidency. In its own way, it humanizes FDR (and to me is quite moving). In not portraying FDR as a larger-than-life figure (although one FDR scupture is physically larger than lifesize, it simply shows FDR seated, resting with his little dog) it is unique compared to the other big Presidential memorials in Wash. Here's a link to info about this memorial http://history1900s.about.com/od/people/ss/FDR-Memorial.htm The pages on this site are worth clicking on - they only contain brief descriptions of the site's spaces, sculptures, waterfalls and so forth.

Westviewer said...

Somehow we managed to live through the construction of Manhattan Park, the redevelopment of the Octagon and the building of Southtown and I suspect that we will live through this, too.

deetelecare said...

The FDR Presidential Library and Museum cross promotes Four Freedoms Park and FERI (Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute, a/k/a Roosevelt Institute) in every email and on site. Oddly they don't promote the Washington DC National Mall site or Campobello in ME. The reason for that I suspect is that the Hyde Park site is split between NARA (National Archives) and the NPS, and the National Mall is NPS. Since the Roosevelt Institute supports both the Library & Museum and FFP, thus the linkage.

Denise Shull said...

Everyone - except anyone with kids or dogs.

YetAnotherRIer said...

There is no such thing that does not rub anybody the wrong way. Plenty of loud people here on RI who keep complaining about the memorial. Plenty of silent people enjoy it or don't care either way. The memorial is not going anywhere. Time to make peace and move forward.

YetAnotherRIer said...

I've got kids. We have been enjoying the park just fine and nobody kicked us out for bringing children. You guys are reading way too much into this. Has anybody gotten into trouble, yet?

deetelecare said...

Exactly what have you been doing with the children, and have park rangers or guards been there while you've been there? Just askin'

deetelecare said...

So they should grab all the Southpoint Park land and construct the fence wherever, right? Hey, that would take it off RIOC's plate! I do agree with you that most people just don't care, or they're still fighting the old battles of Manhattan Park and the Octagon.

Denise Shull said...

Obviously this is the opposite way the FDR people are leaning but the compromise of having the very end - the room and anything "south" of the grass as the memorial while the rest of the park is a park - i.e. picnics, people sitting, dogs ... would be a totally reasonable compromise. It wouldn't hurt the memorial in any way and would make the park much more popular and enjoyable.



But the odds of pulling back out of Southpoint let alone out of their own shrine seem low. A true shame, imo.

westviewgirl said...

HUGE conflict of interest, if anyone cares,

Ms. Pollara and Ms. Minard are on the Board of the Directors of the Four Freedoms park, * odd name for it does not represent much freedom here at all to me * those two women are also or have been collecting donations and giving parties to collect money in the name of the park.

http://www.fdrfourfreedomspark