by Grace Currie Phillips, Contributing Writer
Socrates Sculpture Park, Queens, NY
Although Socrates Sculpture Park isn’t technically a dog park, it is dog friendly and it is a perfect excursion on a summer’s day. The park itself is a 4.5 acre green space in Long Island City that used to be an abandoned landfill, until it was reclaimed by a group of artists in 1986 and turned into a beautiful outdoor museum. The park’s mission is to “create and exhibit large-scale sculpture and multi-media installations in a unique outdoor environment that encourages strong interaction between artists, artworks and the public”. Our interpretation of that is “we like cool stuff and we think you probably do too, so come check it out.”
And it’s free! So it’s more than worth your time. There are so many different styles of sculptures that something is bound to catch your eye, and the exhibits are constantly changing as artists create new installations. The art ranges from beautiful to industrial to whimsical, but all of it is worth a look. You can spend hours wandering around the small park and looking at everything from different angles. You can take pictures near the water with Roosevelt Island as your background, or you can explore their gardens and see what’s in bloom.
There are performances throughout the summer, as well: the Metropolitan Opera, theater companies, dance companies, orchestras, and more. On Wednesday evenings through mid-August, the park shows movies, which are prefaced by performances from local musicians and dancers, and accompanied by food from the neighboring restaurants. And if you want to be as fit as those dancers, you can check out the yoga or tai chi classes offered on weekends. There’s also a farmer’s market every Saturday from June to November where you can get fresh fruits, veggies, breads, and maybe even a treat for the dog looking up longingly at you.
Which brings us to the most important question: what about the pup? Well, Socrates Sculpture Park encourages people to bring their canine friends, and it’s a lovely space for them to meet new dogs and explore new smells. There are two main gates that allow entrance to Socrates Sculpture Park, and it is bound on one side by the river. The rest of the park in enclosed by a line of trees and bushes. However, if your dog is prone to roaming, she could certainly run through either one of the gates and into Long Island City. Or, if you’ve got a water dog who will make a beeline for any body of water given half a chance, you could end up with a wet and smelly pal by the end of the day. So use your discretion regarding leashes. The website requires that all dogs be leashed in the park, but from what we’ve observed, that isn’t enforced. [Editor’s Note: Please bring your leashes as they are required]. As long as your dog is well behaved and isn’t trying to escape the park, it seems like you won’t have a problem. There may be days when it is enforced – and it might be during performances – but on our trip, there were no leashes in sight. Picking up after your dog is a must, of course.
Free admission, weird and wonderful art, friendly dogs, classes, performances, movies, and farmer’s market: really, there’s no way why you should ever leave Socrates Sculpture Park this summer. So leash up, we’ll see you there!
Open 10am – sunset year-round
Address: 32-01 Vernon Blvd. at Broadway, Long Island City, NY 11106
- Via subway: Take the N or Q to the Broadway stop in Queens and walk west towards Broadway to the intersection of Vernon Boulevard.
- Driving directions: www.socratessculpturepark.org/visit/directions-and-hours.html
Exhibition information: www.socratessculpturepark.org/exhibitions/exhibitions/current.htmlTake a day trip with your dog to Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens,