Socrates Sculpture Park

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  • Socrates Sculpture Park

  • Socrates Sclupture Park

  • Socrates Sculpture Park

  • Socrates Sculpture Park

  • Socrates Sculpture Park

  • Socrates Sculpture Park

  • Socrates Sculpture Park

Socrates Sculpture Park

40 mins from midtown

Long Island City is known for its art scene, and for its places to see and be seen outdoors—P.S.1 and Water Taxi Beach are among the nabe’s most beloved spots. But tucked away on Vernon Boulevard, Socrates Sculpture Park (32-01 Vernon Blvd at Broadway, Long Island City, Queens; 718-956-1819, socratessculpturepark.org) offers the best of both venues: In 1986, artists and activists created this 4.5-acre city park over a landfill. Now it hosts large-scale sculpture exhibits year-round, along with free community programming.

Every summer since 1998, the Outdoor Cinema series has highlighted a different country’s culture, celebrating the ethnic diversity of Queens. Curated by the Museum of the Moving Image, the event draws upwards of 2,000 people each week. Wednesday 12 marks the penultimate screening, as Kazakhstan gets the limelight with Sergei Dvortsevoy’s Tulpan (2008), starting at sunset (around 8pm). Plus, there’s a presentation by the NYC Cultural Center of Kazakhstan, featuring traditional Kazakh performers and art.

At the start of the warm season, the area morphs into an airy summer school: On weekends, fitness buffs can take in free yoga, tai chi, capoeira and Pilates classes (check the park’s website for times) from expert instructors. And on Sundays at 1pm, beginners’ kayaking lessons are offered (to anyone who can swim) by the LIC Boathouse, departing from SSP’s Hallets Cove.

Of course, SSP earned its name for being a gallery space as well as a green space. Currently on display on the Broadway Billboard is Amarillo, Texas, July, 1972, a photograph by Stephen Shore, who was among the first artists to work in color film in the ’70s. Be sure to journey back to the park on August 29 or 30 at 2pm to experience the biennial exhibition “Float,” a selection of temporary artworks. “It’s interactive, and serves in part as a festival,” says Staller. We’ve been told Yoko Ono has contributed a piece—here’s hoping it’s performance art, and that Sean Lennon joins her for a musical interlude.—Monika Fabian

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