City may put LIC’s Socrates Sculpture Park on the map

photo courtesy of parks
Photo courtesy of the Parks Department

Socrates Sculpture Park, a 30-year-old outdoor museum and park in Long Island City, may soon be considered official parkland and added to city maps.

The park is owned by the city but maintained and operated by Socrates Sculpture Park through a licensing agreement. The city wants to officially map the parkland to secure it as open space and make sure that the land will not be developed, according to Socrates Director John Hatfield.

“This action will make the park a mapped park, thereby securing it for the future,” Hatfield said.

Hatfield and a representative from the Parks Department presented their plan in front of Community Board 1 on Tuesday. Along with the official mapping, the plan would also allow the Parks Department to acquire a piece of land used by the park through an exchange with neighboring Costco.

The piece of land has “looked and acted” like the park for 30 years, but is actually owned by Costco, located right next door. In the exchange, Costco would receive the development rights for another parcel of land.

Hatfield said this agreement is “the result of over a decade of conversations with the Parks Department and the property owner.” If Socrates Sculpture Park acquires the land, they will look to add trailers for office space and an area for children’s programming.

CB 1 approved the proposal on Tuesday, which must also be approved by Borough President Melinda Katz and the City Planning Commission.

The outdoor museum and park, a former abandoned landfill and illegal dumping ground in Long Island City, was established by Mark di Suvero in 1986 as a place where artists can present their sculptures and multimedia installations.

More than 150,000 people visited the park in 2015, which is opened 365 days of the year and is free to attend.

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