I started out this morning walking, climbed on a bicycle through the streets of Manhattan, rose above the city and a flowing river, and soared to the highest heights of aspiration for humanity. It was quite a journey.

Roosevelt Island received its name in 1973 in honor of the longest-serving and one of its most beloved presidents. The reason for the visit to the island was to see the Cornell Tech campus with its The Bloomberg Center, a new technology innovation campus inaugurated in 2017. I received a tip from a colleague, an educator in Design at The New School that this campus, apart from being new and beautiful, may be a good place to seek serendipitous mutual interests in technology for society. Being nearby and always happy to rejoice in the inspiration of a bicycle ride with a purpose, I picked up a Citibike at one of my usual Upper West Side stations and headed south and east, Feelin’ Groovy, to the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge (previously known as the 59th Street Bridge).

The ride was simple enough, though to get from one part of the borough of Manhattan to this other part of the borough of Manhattan required biking across two bridges connected in Queens, a different New York City borough. One hour biking! The free riding time on Citibikes is 45 minutes, so I docked the bike briefly during the trip to avoid paying more for the trip than needed.

My first impression of the island was the row of shops with a village atmosphere reminiscent of my bike trip in Europe years before. I made my way south and took these pictures of the gorgeous campus buildings. I walked further south into a park with a monument. The landscape was beautiful and the view of Manhattan was spectacular.

Which park was this? Hint: The name of the island is Roosevelt Island.

“Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park is the first memorial dedicated to the former President in his home state of New York. Located on the southern tip of Roosevelt Island in New York City, it is the last work of the late Lous I. Kahn, an iconic architect of the 20th century. The Park celebrates the Four Freedoms, as pronounced in President Roosevelt’s famous January 6, 1941 State of the Union Speech.” (fdrfourfreedomspark.org)

These four freedoms are:

  1. Freedom of speech and expression;
  2. Freedom to worship God in one’s own way;
  3. Freedom from want; and
  4. Freedom from fear.

I came away really inspired by the celebration of this pronouncement. President Roosevelt covered all the domains of human reality: Thought (freedom from fear, mental health); Word (freedom of expression); Deed (physical needs, food, shelter); and Spirit (freedom of worship, pursuit of oneness with the Creator).

In terms of what an initial “future picture statement” might be for an overarching superordinate goal for humanity, this statement seemed like a very good starting point.

Kevin