Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, Greek officials and members of the Athens Square Inc. celebrated the unveiling of the latest edition to Athens Square Park – a bronze bust of Aristotle, a famous Greek philosopher. The statue was a gift from the Halkidiki people to the City of New York.
“The Parks Department is proud and honored to display the bust of Aristotle from the generous people of Halkidiki and made possible by Athens Square Inc.,” said Commissioner Benepe. “In the spirit of Aristotle’s words, ‘The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance,’ this sculpture is a little piece of Greece to our parks.
The Aristotle bust was sculpted by George V. Tsaras of Greece and is a gift from the people of Halkidiki, a peninsula in the Greek region of Macedonia, to the City. Since the 1980s, the Athens Square Inc. has been bringing Greek culture to Athens Square Park by adding a meeting place designed to look like a Greek amphitheatre. The square features three other sculptures including three granite Doric columns that replicate classical Greek architecture, statues of the Greek icons philosopher Socrates, and the Greek goddess of heroic endeavors Athena, which was given to the park from the City of Athens, Greece.
Athens Square Park is named after the capital city of modern Greece where literature, art, science and philosophy once flourished. In 1963, Parks and the Board of Education acquired the one-acre-site for a playground for the school P.S. 17. In 1990, $1 million dollars was allocated for capital reconstruction of the park to create a meeting place for the many Greek residents who populate the area in Astoria.
Since 1967, collaborations with art organizations and artists have produced more than 1,000 public art displays in New York City parks. Parks & Recreation’s public art program has consistently fostered the creation and installation of public art in parks throughout the five boroughs. With more than 1,300 works, including more than 300 sculptures, New York City parks are the largest municipal outdoor art museum in the United States.