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Exploring with James

Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island

Published 2013-01-25 · By James Bursa

One cold January day I decided to visit the new Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, on Roosevelt Island in New York.

I took the Subway to Roosevelt Island, which is in the East River between Manhattan and Queens (which is on Long Island). On exiting the subway, there's a view of the dense skyscapers of Manhattan's East Side. This image was assembled from four photos, but the ship moved as I was taking them and gained a duplicate crane on deck.

Manhattan's East Side from Roosevelt Island

Walking south along the riverbank takes you past a hospital, and then to the fenced-off ruins of the Smallpox Hospital.

Ruins of the Smallpox Hospital

Just past the ruins is the entrance to the new park. A plaza leads to a monumental staircase.

Monumental stairs in Four Freedoms Park

On either side of the staircase are riverside paths that lead to the tip of the island.

Riverside path in Four Freedoms Park

At the top of the staircase, a lawn also leads to the narrow tip of Roosevelt Island.

Lawn in Four Freedoms Park

At the south end of the island is a bronze of Roosevelt's head.

Tip of Four Freedoms Park

Behind the head, granite walls frame a view south along the East River.

FDR's head in Four Freedoms Park

The Williamsburg bridge is visible in the distance, with Brooklyn on the left and Manhattan to the right.

View from the tip of Four Freedoms Park

Looking back north, an excerpt from one of FDR's speeches is carved in a granite block.

FDR's speech in Four Freedoms Park

Here's the view looking north across the lawn to the Smallpox Hospital.

North view in Four Freedoms Park

Across the river in Queens is an area called Long Island City, with several new skyscrapers and the famous Pepsi Cola sign. The boundary between Queens and Brooklyn is just past these buildings.

Long Island City from Roosevelt Island

The ruins of the Smallpox Hospital have been reinforced with steel frames.

Facade of ruined Smallpox Hospital

I noticed this mysterious animal enclosure on the east side of the island walking back north. I can't find any information about its resident.

In the background is the Citibank tower, the tallest building in Queens.

Animal enclosure on Roosevelt Island

Flocks of Geese fly over the river.

Geese over the East River

Steam escapes under the Queensboro Bridge. The bridge has piers on Roosevelt Island, but there is no route from the bridge to the island.

Steam escaping under the Queensboro Bridge

The Roosevelt Island Bridge from Queens is the only road connection to the island. The chimneys belong to the Big Allis power generator plant.

Big Allis power plant and Roosevelt Island Bridge

I took the so-called Tramway back to Manhattan.

Roosevelt Island Tramway cabin

The Tramway runs alongside the Queensboro Bridge. This is the view from it back towards the island.

Queensboro Bridge from the Tramway

I finished my exploring with a Pastrami sandwich at 2nd Ave Deli, a short walk from the Manhattan station of the Tramway.

Pastrami sandwich at 2nd Ave Deli