what  sculpture • plaza

the sculpture

The sculpture depicts a joyous moment when FDR has turned away from his work to greet a young girl who, like FDR, wears braces on her legs. She has tucked both of her crutches under one arm in anticipation of shaking hands with the president, who we know must be an extraordinary role model for her. Sculptor Meredith Bergmann was inspired by photographs, like the one below, of similar encounters.

As the first major public work of art dedicated to FDR's disability, the sculpture is unique in its frank depiction of FDR’s condition, with a strong upper body, thin, weakened legs, and an energy and confidence in his posture and warmth in his expression that belies his physical challenges.

the plaza

The intertwined history of FDR + Roosevelt Island + polio will be told in a timeline on special granite pavers on the plaza. Learn more about that story.