On The Avenue

A Liberating Night at The Four Freedoms Park

by AVENUE insider Photographed by Patrick McMullan
Friday, June 16, 2017

The Roosevelt Island Tram was stuffed to the gills on Wednesday as some of New York’s most glamorous social figures descended on the island in the East River for the Four Freedoms Park’s fifth annual Sunset Garden Party. Designed by Louis Kahn shortly before his death in 1974 (he was carrying the finished plans with him on the day he died), but unrealized until 2012, the park is a memorial to Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his famous “Four Freedoms” speech. In honor of those Four Freedoms—freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear—the park and the conservancy are dedicated to “safeguarding the memorial as a space for inspired use, fostering community and understanding and igniting conversation about human rights and freedoms today.”

This year’s gala was organized around the timely themes of “freedom of speech & expression,” and honored Tom Brokaw for “his incredible commitment and extraordinary leadership” in the defense of those vital American rights. More than just a gala for Brokaw; it was a homecoming, returning the news anchor back to the same park whose dedication he emceed five years ago.

Some 300 guests attended, and through their contributions the park raised $475,000. FDR once said “It is an unfortunate human failing that a full pocketbook often groans more loudly than an empty stomach.” Thanks to the generosity of the gala’s well-heeled guests, at least a few pocketbook groans were quelled on Wednesday night.

Others in attendance included FDR’s daughter-in-law Tobie Roosevelt, former World Bank president James Wolfensohn, Peter Duchin, Matilda Cuomo Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul and Nation editor-in-chief Katrina vanden Heuvel and her father William.


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