March 26, 2015 By Michael Florio
The unveiling of a fourth and final statue at Athens Square Park is set to take place this Saturday—as part of the celebrations of Greek Independence Day.
Athens Square Inc., an Astoria nonprofit group, will officially unveil the sculpture of the famous Greek playwright Sophocles on March 28th at 12 pm.
The hulking sculpture, which was recently installed in the park, is seven-foot-six-inches tall and stands on a two-foot pedestal.
“Sophocles is one of the best playwrights in history,” said George Stamatiades, the treasurer of Athens Square Inc.
The sculpture will join three other existing statues in the park—including a bronze bust of Aristole, a sculpture of Socrates and the Athena figure. There are also three Doric Columns located in the park.
Stamatiades said the Sophocles figure will be a great addition to the park, which hosts events in the warmer months.
Councilman Costa Constantinides, who called the park an iconic part of Astoria, is a big fan of the statues.
“Families will learn about ancient democracy and Hellenistic values in an interactive way,” he said. “The park will continue to serve as a cultural and educational center with festivals and events held by neighborhood organizations.”
The sculpture cost $180,000 and was paid for by donations from residents and local businesses. Athens Square Inc. collected the donations over the past five years in order to pay for it.
The group has paid for all the statues in the park, raising money throughout the past 30 years, Stamatiades said.
Stamatiades said he was inspired by the Athenian Oath, which citizens of Athens would sign over 1,000 years ago, promising to leave their city better than they found it.
“Hopefully we [Athens Square Inc.] have accomplished that with Athens Square Park,” he said.
There will be cultural performances, such as dance, during the ceremony to celebrate Greek Independence Day.
Many local politicians from Astoria and even from Greece are expected to attend.