My TONY Subscription Is Stressing Me Out: Socrates Sculpture Park

HeaderTo see why TONY is stressing me out, look here.

As if going to a park isn’t boring enough, now I’m asking you to read about one. That’s right, it’s time for another installment of my quest to see whether it’s ever worth it to leave the house and this month I chose a sculpture garden, so fasten your seat belts. At the very least this post will have a whole bunch of pretty pictures and I know a lot of you like that so here goes:

Time Out New York recently did an issue that highlighted all of the beautiful outdoor spaces the city has to offer and there was one on the list that I’d been meaning to visit for a while now, so seeing as I just got a brand new bike, I figured a trip to the Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City would be the perfect excuse to test out my new wheels.


After a four minute ride I was wiped. Thank God there was a place to sit immediately upon entering the park.

Squatting among what appeared to be cut outs of a white picket fence with fun house mirrors attached to it, I contemplated what I wanted my experience of the park to be. I mean this was “art” right? Should I move through the space trying to interpret the meaning of what I was seeing?


After staring at the grass bottoms of the first exhibit with my face all twisted up for about thirty seconds straight, I quickly decided I would not. Besides, this little kitty came running out of the bushes to play with me.


He was so friendly. He kept circling my legs and banging his head into my shins so I hung with him for while before moving on.


One of the cool things about this park is that it appeared to also be a work space for artists, so if you’re lucky you can catch some of them in the middle of fashioning a sculpture like this sad bear looking after a dying woman.


I noticed some of the exhibits in the garden required closer inspection in order to really appreciate them. Take this wooden skeleton for example. At first I thought it was a work in progress but when I looked closer I saw that inside there was a chandelier.


I have no idea what the significance of this is supposed to be but it looked pretty.


Some people thought it was cooler than others, like this guy who stood here for a solid two minutes trying to hug it.


Then there were these bottles all tied up with string. Initially I was like OK, that’s sort of interesting, right?


But then later when I viewed it from a new angle I was like Ohhhh! …I still don’t get it. But it looked really cool against the city as a background.


One of my favorite parts of the park was the wishing tree.


I suppose the park had a lot of things you would expect to see in a sculpture garden but none of it really took my breath away. I’ve been to other sculpture parks where the experience is quite surreal and you feel almost like Alice In Wonderland which is really cool. Socrates Park seemed more like a place to walk your dog or play your flute along the river, only with weird statues here and there.


This guy was whistling away nearly the entire time I was there making me feel like I was walking through some modern art version of Sherwood Forrest which was nice however, I didn’t want him to catch me taking pictures of him so I hid behind two placards and got the best shot I could.


Before I left, I made sure to say goodbye to my little buddy.


Look, he’s missing part of his ear.

I think if I had to do this over again, I would choose to go to the park for one of the many events they hold there. They have cinema nights and dance and music performances as well as festivals like one on the summer solstice with a drum circle and art workshops. I would find it hard to recommend the park to someone coming from any further than the couple of minutes it took me to ride my bike there just to see the structures though.


I mean, I might be somewhat annoyed if I came all the way from The Bronx to look at a spray can strapped to a mop.

That’s just me though.

  • Gabriele

    Jeff & I went there last Spring. Not all of the displays you speak of were there. I must say, it was not the highlight of our day. We just stood there looking at some of the pieces and saying…OK…I don’t get it. There was a “White House” with white elastic bands which you could spread to enter the house. I was compelled to go in…and then out. You could see through the house that nothing was in there, (Nope, no chandalier) yet I still went in. It was the weirdest park ever. As for the “sting art” piece. Really? You don’t get that one? After your previous posts! It was a person who had a string art kit, like yours. He/she couldn’t do it either. Became very frustrated, drank a lot, and wrapped the shit out of those bottles and said, Voila! Now what do I do with this. I know…and the rest is history. One of you pieces should be out there as well. FYI… Jeff and I also saw a Kitty. However, I don’t think it was the same one. It was one of the more interesting events of the park! Thanks for sharing,,,I think. 😉

    • Kelly

      Never thought that may be a string art project gone awry! Thanks for shedding some light on the situation. It all makes sense now.

  • Emma

    Eh…I didn’t get the bottles with the string either.

  • Erika

    How you feel about this park is how I feel about most modern art museums. :) Thank you!

    • Kelly

      Haha! Yup. I try so hard to be cultured sometimes and it doesn’t always work for me.

  • Velvet Barentine

    The kitty is totally the best part of the park. I’m glad to see its left ear was clipped; that usually signifies a “Trap, Neuter, Return” meaning that it won’t produce tons of new stray kittens, so that may be the best sculpture in the park. I’m all for art no matter the medium, but I am with you in that if I traveled any distance at all to see some of those things, I would drink enough afterwards to make the trip worth it (and maybe my own string art sculpture)!

  • Vanna

    I love how there was a cat involved on your trip to appreciate art, or whatever that stuff is. I liked the bottles w the skyline behind them but I must say I am getting a little tired of all the stuff passing for “art.” I mean some of it is interesting but it’s kind of funny that I have seen similar stuff in other places. What has happened to originality in the creative world? I will give props to the artist with the sad bear looking at the dead woman. If I see that anywhere else, I think the art world may have to take a break and regroup.