Socrates Sculpture Park is the only site in the New York metropolitan area specifically dedicated to providing artists with opportunities to create and exhibit large-scale work in a unique environment that encourages strong interaction between artists, artworks and the public. 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.
Socrates Sculpture Park itself was an abandoned riverside landfill and illegal dumpsite until 1986 when a coalition of artists and community members, under the leadership of artist Mark di Suvero, transformed it into an open studio and exhibition space for artists and a neighborhood park for local residents. Today it is an internationally renowned outdoor museum and artist residency program that also serves as a vital New York City park offering a wide variety of public services.
Socrates Sculpture Park is located in the Astoria neighborhood of Manhattan. Astoria is the western-most neighborhood in Queens, running from the East River west to Northern Boulevard and 49th Street, and from Ditmars Boulevard south to Queens Plaza. It is just north of Long Island City, of which Astoria once was and is sometimes still considered to be a part, and is bounded on the north by Steinway and by Woodside on the east. Nestled in one of the most suburban boroughs, Astoria peeks across the East River at Manhattan from its squat houses and commercial buildings. Largely residential, the neighborhood has gone through the usual waves of immigrants over the course of the centuries; first, the Germans, then the Italians and Jews, a massive and significant influx of Greeks, and most recently, Middle Eastern, African, and Eastern Europeans have made Astoria their new home. For a neighborhood that takes its name from John Jacob Astor—once the richest man in America—it remains remarkably middle-class, with a strong sense of community and ethnic heritage, making it a very tight-knit neighborhood. There are, of course, many great ethnic restaurants of all stripes in Astoria, from favorites like Uncle George's Greek Tavern, Il Bambino, and the Bohemian Beer Hall & Garden to Malagueta, Mojave, and The Queens Kickshaw. For drinking, there's the Quays Pub, cocktails at Sweet Afton, and The Barn. For attractions, there's the wonder Noguchi Garden Museum, showcasing the amazing work of the famed sculptor, even more artistic action at Socrates Sculpture Park, and the Museum Of The Moving Image.
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