Come with me on a small journey. It's more of a walk really. It's not very far. It's just across Astoria. Start walking South on 47th Street until you get reach 31st Avenue. At 31st Avenue, take a right and walk West. We're going to walk all the way down 31st Avenue until we can't walk any more. We're walking in the direction of the Manhattan skyline. We're also walking toward the East River. Before we find ourselves in the river though, we are going to stop at the Socrates Sculpture Park.
Taken directly from the Socrates Sculpture Park website, the history of the park is described as follows: Socrates Sculpture Park was an abandoned riverside landfill and illegal dumpsite until 1986 when a coalition of artists and community members, under the leadership of artist Mark di Suvero, transformed it into an open studio and exhibition space for artists and a neighborhood park for local residents. Today it is an internationally renowned outdoor museum and artist residency program that also serves as a vital New York City park offering a wide variety of public services.
You can imagine my excitement to see the park. I had only recently heard about it from friends who live in Astoria. So I decided to take myself there on Tuesday. Now imagine you're me, full of expectations, imagining something on a grand scale. Large sculptural pieces that use the open air and space to breathe. Nothing to hold them back. Nothing to reign in the largeness. Well, it wasn't grand. I don't know if it's because Winter just ended and there is nothing new yet or if what is there currently is just what is there. I hope that as Spring turns to Summer there are more installations. Better installations.
As is, it was a park. That's for sure. There were people with dogs. The dogs chasing balls. Mother's with children. There were also ugly bare spots where the grass was completely warn away. There was a view of Manhattan, but only four benches on which to sit and look at it. None of those benches were in the shade either. It was a gorgeous, sunny day on Tuesday and all I wanted to do was sit in the park and read. I did sit and read when I finally found an unoccupied bench. What I left with though was a lovely red burn on the left side of my neck and on my left arm. I'm not complaining, really. I'm glad the outdoor space is there. I'm also going to go back and see if it indeed changes as the season progresses. As I am prone to do, I set myself up for disappointment with higher expectations than this park for creative expression could provide.
The trip to the park was not a complete waste of time. I did get to sit and read that book. I did find the bench in order to sit and read and stare at Manhattan. I also saw more of Spring in bloom. Again, I couldn't resist taking photos of what it looks like to be reborn after a cold, dormant winter.