The local Greek community in Astoria has planned a special event for the unveiling of the 7-foot Sophocles statue that was placed in Athens Square Park, New York. The unveiling ceremony will take place on March 28 as part of the Greek Independence Day celebration. It will include Greek dances and other performances that will begin at noon.
Sophocles’ statue is a bronze figure, created by local artist Chris Vilardi. It stands at 7-foot-6-inches, while resting on a 2-foot ceramic pedestal. The ancient Greek playwright statue is the final Hellenic statue that the community plans on installing in the park. It will be displayed along with other Greek monuments, such as the large fluted columns, a bust of Aristotle and figures of ancient Greek philosopher Socrates and the goddess Athena.
The Greek culture monument that adorns Athens Square Park was the vision of Greek civic leader Dennis Syntilas who passed away earlier this year, at the age of 85. “He wanted to have a little cultural environment where people could come and sit and chat,” said George L. Stamatiades, Athens Square Inc treasurer.
Athens Square Inc is a non-profit neighborhood organization that organizes events at the park during the summer. The park hosts events from late June through August, with Greek performances every Tuesday, Italian music on Wednesdays and occasional performances from other cultural groups.
The NGO raised 170,000 dollars, over the course of five years in order to pay for the new bronze statue’s construction and annual maintenance.