Socrates Sculpture Park
31-42 Vernon Boulevard
Despite the area’s picturesque views of Hell Gate, the site of Socrates Sculpture Park remained an abandoned riverside landfill until artist Mark di Suvero led the effort to convert the space into an outdoor sculpture garden. The coalition named the sculpture garden after the famous Greek philosopher Socrates (469-399 B.C.), paying homage to the large Greek community living in nearby Astoria. The park’s tenuous existence depended on a short-term lease from the city until a proposed luxury apartment and marina complex prompted Mayor Giuliani to declare it a permanent park site in 1998. Founded as a unique space for artists to design and display large-scale sculpture and multimedia installations that engage with the public, the park has hosted the work of over one thousand artists. A large billboard presiding over the entrance features one or two new installations each year that reference the other exhibits inside the park.