Socrates Sculpture Park

Socrates Sculpture Park is a 4.5 acre, waterfront sculpture park located on the East River in Long Island City, Queens. Socrates Sculpture Park is one of the few places in New York City where large-scale, outdoor sculpture can be enjoyed by the public. Since its opening in the fall of 1986 the Park has presented a constantly changing selection of work by the most exciting artists working today. Sculptors from all regions of the United States, Europe and Central America have been joined by musicians, dancers, painters and filmmakers to create a multi-media modern art showcase.

Socrates Sculpture Park is situated In Long Island City, Queens, where private homes, factories and warehouses co-exist in an unpretentious neighborhood with breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline. Appropriately, the park is located on the border of the largest population of Greeks outside Athens.

Located at Vernon Boulevard and Broadway in Long Island City
(718) 956-1819
Fax: (718) 545-8548

From the Midtown Tunnel: After tolls, take immediate right, a second right and, after 1 block, a third right onto Vernon Blvd, Head North to Braodway (5 min.)

From the Queensboro (59th St) Bridge:
Upper Roadway: Exit 21st Street North onto Broadway. Continue to Vernon Blvd. Lower Roadway: First right, continue for 2 blocks, then right. Continue 9 blocks to Vernon Blvd.

History and Goals of Socrates Sculpture Park

Socrates Sculpture Park is a former illegal dumpsite leased from New York City's Department of Ports and Trade for $1 per year. The site required almost a year of work to clear and landscape before the first installation of sculpture was possible. Socrates Sculpture Park is the masterwork of the Athena Foundation, which was created in 1977 by the sculptor Mark di Suvero to encourage the arts, to expand the culture and to create a space for the harmonious interaction of people and art.

After a year of clearing what was once an illegal garbage dump, the Park opened its first exhibition of contemporary, outdoor sculpture in 1986. Since that time, Socrates continues to revitalize the economic, social, educational, and cultural life of this community via activities that encourage creative interaction between artists, their art, and the community through visual arts and outreach programs. The Park's existence is based on the belief that reclamation, revitalization and creative expression are essential to the survival, humanity and improvement of our urban environment.

At a ceremony on May 23,1993, Socrates officially became part of the NYC Dept. of Parks & Recreation. As the newest addition to Park land in over a decade SSP is the only NYC park dedicated solely to the creation & exhibition of contemporary sculpture. In 1995, Socrates was designated as one of sixty three "Great American Pubic Places," testimony to the fact that the Park is an exemplary model of the built environment. Although our new relationship with the City of NY guarantees our existence for years to come it does not provide support for our outreach programs for youth or community residents.

Synopsis of Ongoing programs include: Community Collaborations Initiative

Since its inception the Park has operated outreach programs for youth and neighborhood residents. In 1990 SSP founded the Education Department, offering a variety of innovative & alternative programs to some of NYC neediest youth from the local community, as well as off-site in NYC public schools. Many of our program target youth from high risk backgrounds. These workshops further the Park's goal to redefine the role of the art institution as a purveyor of alternative education in the schools, community and eventually society.

Through our Community Collaborations Initiative, Socrates is able to design on a one-on-one basis special hands on art workshops. While many schools have lost funds for fine arts programs, Arts Education is now recognized as an essential part of healthy development and a rounded education.

Return to Cultural Activities Homepage

Return to Queens, New York Homepage