Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City


Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City Queens

One of New York City's great under-hyped little gems is Long Island City's Socrates Sculpture Park, set on a patch of Queens riverbank. The art here–large outdoor sculptures–is always fun and interesting, the setting unique, the atmosphere festive and communal, the views of the water and Manhattan's Upper East Side wide-open and fairly stunning. Recently installed here and open every day from now until next spring is the Emerging Artists Fellowship Exhibition, featuring 18 newly commissioned works by an energetic group of up-and-coming artists. 

Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens fake helicopter wreckage

A little back story on the Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City. For decades this small plot of land at the end of Broadway in Queens was essentially an illegal garbage dump, derelict and ruined. Then, in 1986, a coalition of artists and local residents reclaimed the land, cleaned it up, and installed this unique public space that ever since has been hosting art shows, summer movie nights, free concerts, and, of course, loads of families, dog walkers, huggy young couples, picnickers, strollers, and urban adventurers and art appreciators of all stripes.    

Socrates Sculpture Park colorful floating houseboat


Stacked Sponges Queens Socrates Sculpture Park

The current show, the Emerging Artists Fellowship Exhibition, offers a great introduction to the space. There are lots of good pieces at the Socrates Sculpture Park, including Crash and Burrow (above) by Jonathon Durham; a crazy plastic-bottle-sided shack Coastal Hermitage by Gavin Anderson (also above); the simultaneously towering and burrowing Sponge Pieces For Socrates by Jory Rabinovitz, (immediately above); the climbable fort-facade Everything Fought For by Jess Perlitz, immediately below; and the dense metal grid Untitled by Frank Haines, further below. And if you want to make a whole day out of your journey here to the wilds of Long Island City, there's a huge Costco right next door, and the beautiful Noguchi Museum is just a short walk–three or four blocks–away. 

Socrates Sculpture Park Long Island City Queens


Socrates Sculpture Park steel works Long Island City Queens

Socrates Sculpture Park Details 

The Socrates Sculpture Park is located in Long Island City, at the end of Broadway, on Vernon Boulevard. It's easy to get to: just take the N (or, on weekdays, the W) train to the Broadway stop, and head down to the East River. It's about a three-quarters of a mile walk, mostly very unscenic, which, perhaps, makes the Park seem even more of a hidden treasure. The Socrates Sculpture Park is open every day from 10:00 a.m. until sunset. For lots more information, please see the Socrates Sculpture Park website.     

Manhattan Skyline Long Island City Socrates Sculpture Park

Back for 2015, Socrates Sculpture Park again brings a host of stunning works. 


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