Socrates Sculpture Park
GOOD FOR: All Ages

Source:Outdoors with Kids New York City (AMC Books)
Address:Broadway and Vernon Boulevard, Queens, NY
Hours:10 A.M. to sunset daily
Fee: Free
Bathrooms: Portable toilets just inside park’s south entrance
Water/Snacks: None

USGS Central Park

This park is among the most inspiring examples of how New Yorkers are reinventing defunct industrial spaces as areas for outdoor recreation and creativity.

Eclectic sculptures and horticultural workshops help kids explore the outdoors at this park.
Photo by: Cheryl and William de Jong-Lambert

Socrates Sculpture Park is an eccentric gem developed from land that, by the mid-1980s, had become an abandoned riverside landfill.

After ascending from the Broadway stop of the N or R train, walk west on Broadway eight blocks (nearly 1 mile) toward the East River to the park entrance. Along the way you will see an extraordinary variety of shops and restaurants representing just a few of the racial and ethnic communities inhabiting Queens, New York’s most diverse borough. No single group maintains a majority, and the ten most widely spoken languages include Greek, Tagalog, and Hindi.

At the park, a coalition of artists and community members transformed neglect and urban blight into an outdoor museum. It is the only location in the city dedicated exclusively to giving artists an outdoor space to exhibit their work. Socrates Sculpture Park sponsors many outdoor events, from film screenings to periodic kayak trips on the East River. The Community Works Initiative Program also holds workshops to teach basic landscaping and horticultural skills to neighborhood residents.

Follow the stone paved path to the river. Across the water you will see Roosevelt Island (Trip 73), identifiable from the backdrop of Manhattan by the diminutive lighthouse on its northern tip. Follow the path north and then re- turn the way you came to wander around the sculptures throughout the park. Remember: Most of the time, artworks are not cordoned off, but they shouldn’t be touched unless a sign grants permission to do so.

Plan B:

Follow Vernon Boulevard approximately 2 miles south (head west at 48th Avenue) along the East River to Gantry Plaza State Park (Trip 43). This walk, past many power distribution centers, will give you an idea of the massive industrial undertaking required to electrify New York City.


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