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New York City’s largest Pride flag covers Louis Kahn’s Four Freedoms State Park

Happy Pride

New York City’s largest Pride flag covers Louis Kahn’s Four Freedoms State Park

2022 Progress Pride Flag at Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island in New York City. (Steven Pisano)

It’s Pride Month and that means New York City’s largest Pride flag, located at Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms State Park on the southern tip of Roosevelt Island, is back and more colorful than ever. Painted on the Grand Stairs of the public park and spanning over 100 feet long by 30 feet wide, the 2022 Progress Pride Flag is a reprisal of the installation in 2019, but with new colors including black and brown (in expression of People of Color) and pink, blue, and white (to symbolize transgender).

“The 2022 Progress Pride Flag places greater emphasis on inclusion and progression with added colors representing marginalized LGBTQIA+ communities of color and transgender communities,” stated the Four Freedoms Park Conservancy (FFPC) in a press release.

“We are proud to send this bold message of inclusion and acceptance at FDR Four Freedoms State Park,” added commissioner Erik Kulleseid of New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation, a state agency that partnered with FFPC to realize the installation. 

People in colorful outfits dancing on rainbow painted stairs
Latinx dance group Ballet Hispánico on the painted steps at Four Freedoms State Park. They will lead a class at the Free To Be You festival this upcoming Saturday, June 18. (Steven Pisano)

The 2022 Progress Pride Flag was also installed in part to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Four Freedoms Parks, which opened to the public in 2012 nearly 40 years after Louis Kahn competed its design. The 4-acre granite memorial honors the Four Freedoms proclaimed by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1941–Freedom of Speech and Expression, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear–in both its name and mission. For the FFPC, the Progress Pride Flag is emblematic of those rights in today’s context. 

“Four Freedoms Park Conservancy’s mission is singular and simple: we create public programs, commission public art and produce installations to ignite conservations about basic human rights,” said Howard Axel, CEO of the Four Freedoms Park Conservancy in a press release. “President Franklin Roosevelt in 1941, articulated these, in what now seems stunningly prescient: Freedom of Speech and Expression, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want and Freedom from Fear. This is what The Progress Pride Flag stands for – inclusion means inclusion in all the freedoms from economic security to freedom from fear and of course freedom of expression.”

To kick off Pride Month and celebrate the launch of the installation, the FFPC invited nationally recognized Latinx dance company Ballet Hispánico to perform at the site–a fitting choice, as the dance group has been a leading voice in the intersection between arts and advocacy. 

“Ballet Hispánico is thrilled to have been selected to help launch the 2022 Progress Pride Flag, an installation which aligns with our mission of representation, inclusion, and accessibility through culture and dance,” said Ballet Hispánico Artistic Director and CEO Eduardo Vilaro.

Ballet Hispánico will return to Four Freedoms State Park this upcoming Saturday on June 18th for the park’s Free to Be You Festival, which is free to the public. Other available programs include Drag Story Hour and face painting and, of course, a photo op with New York City’s largest pride flag. 

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