Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

February 26, 2021

Dan Keefe | Brian Nearing
(518) 486-1868 |

State Parks Enhances Accessibility of FDR Four Freedoms State Park

$1 Million Project Will Add Ramp, Renovate ADA Compliant Pathways

Park Remains Open During Construction

The state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation announced today work will start on a $1 million project to enhance disability access at Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms State Park in New York City.

Starting next week and concluding in late spring, work will include a new incline platform lift at the granite Grand Stairway and renovation of two aggregate stone pathways to enhance accessibility.

"This project will ensure that all New Yorkers can enjoy equal access to this important memorial to a New Yorker who was one of our greatest leaders," said State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid. "At Parks, we value doing what is needed so that our Parks and historic sites are open to all."

The project is supported by a $250,000 allocation from New York City Council Member Mark Levine and $250,000 grant from State Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright, with the balance supported by NY Works.

Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright said, "I am proud to have given $250,000 in grant money that was needed to upgrade the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms State Park making it ADA compliant so that all New Yorkers can have access. The park has been a magnificent addition to the Roosevelt Island and New York City communities. During the pandemic we have relied on our parks and open spaces to be an escape and the Four Freedoms Park needs to be accessible. I commend State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid, Four Freedoms Park Conservancy CEO Howard Axel, and Vice Chair Sally Minard for seeing this need and getting the work done."

Senator José M. Serrano said, "As the State Senator representing Roosevelt Island and as Chair of the Senate Committee overseeing State Parks, I am very pleased that work will begin to make accessibility enhancements at Four Freedoms Park. These improvements will make it possible for every New Yorker to fully experience all that this treasured park has to offer. Thank you to Assembly Member Seawright and Council Member Levine for their support of the project and to Commissioner Kulleseid for his commitment to ensuring our parks and public spaces are accessible to New Yorkers living with disabilities."

New York City Council Member Mark Levine said, "Over the past year, I think everybody in our city gained a new appreciation for the importance of our public spaces and the need to make sure they are accessible and well maintained. Four Freedoms Park is one of New York City's true masterpieces in our park system, but needed overdue and important upgrades to make it ADA compliant. I am thrilled that funds from the City Council enabled work on this important project to start and eventually allow all New Yorkers to experience that magical ascent up the park's iconic stairs."

New York City Council Member Ben Kallos said, "Four Freedoms Park should be easily accessible to everyone. Thank you to the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation for committing to increasing accessibility in the park. Once completed the ramp will go a long way in helping many tourists and visitors enjoy access."

During construction, access to the park on Roosevelt Island will be limited to the western esplanade at the Manhattan side, the grassy area adjacent to the Room, and the Room at the southern tip of the park.

FDR Four Freedoms State Park is wheelchair accessible. Wheelchairs are also available for visitor use free-of-charge at the State Park entrance booth.

Designed in 1973 by architect Louis Kahn and completed in 2012, the four-acre memorial is located on the southern tip of Roosevelt Island in New York City. The park champions universal human rights as defined by President Roosevelt in his January 6, 1941 "Four Freedoms" speech.

Located just 1,500 feet across the East River from the United Nations Headquarters, the park offers panoramic views of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. The park is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and until 8 p.m. in summer months.

Since opening in 2012, more than 1.4 million people have visited the park.

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 parks, historic sites, recreational trails, golf courses, boat launches and more, which are visited by 78 million people annually. For more information on any of these recreation areas, visit, download the free NY State Parks Explorer mobile app or call 518-474-0456. Also, connect on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.