A Weekend In Socrates Park

Nature’s bounty from Hellgate Farm. Nature’s bounty from Hellgate Farm. After a long and stressful week, most people desire to sleep in and do nothing on weekends. Sleeping can be relaxing, but could precious time be put toward something relaxing and productive at the same time? At Socrates Park it can! Socrates Park has given New Yorkers and visitors alike the chance to have a Zen weekend of relaxation, reflection, and indulgence.

Following a Friday evening, visitors can head to Vernon Boulevard in up-and-coming Long Island City on a Saturday morning for free Yoga. Yoga has been a proven method to destress and unwind while stretching your body to release endorphins. Yoga gives people a chance to balance their minds and bodies. It builds and strengthens your core while centering your mind and giving you a chance to reflect upon your past week. Yoga is held from 9:30 am-10:30 am and 11:00 am-12:00 pm. Instructors recommend and ask participants to wear comfortable clothing and bring a mat or a towel.

Delicious morsels from Little Wildbranch Bakery. Delicious morsels from Little Wildbranch Bakery. After yoga, a walk to the Mini Market would be the perfect way to indulge. Samplings of pastries can put you right into the Saturday mood. Food comes from Little Wildbranch Bakery, Hellgate Farm, and The Connected Chef. Little Wildbranch Bakery is run by Kim Joseph from Youngstown, Ohio, who lives in Jackson Heights. She found her passion for baking after coming home from living in Japan for a number of years teaching English. She was welcomed home with two loaves of sourdough bread and was delighted by how light it was, as compared to normal bread. After eating rice for a number of years in Japan, she found that sourdough was a great alternative to the heaviness of ordinary bread. Ever since, she’s been baking sourdough for Socrates Park, as well as St. Mark’s Church in Jackson Heights. Hellgate Farm started in the backyard of an Astoria home. After eight seasons, they’ve grown to a Long Island City rooftop and offer services for their community in the field of agriculture. According to their official website, hellgatefarm.com, their aim is “… to retrofit (the urban landscape) from a rat race of thoughtless consumption to a place of thoughtful production.” The Connected Chef works with children to create an environment and ideal of cooking as a family, rather than rushing mealtime at the end of a day. They aid families in bonding over the culinary arts and agriculture. These vendors stay in the park on Saturdays from 11:00 am-4:00 pm until November 17. Cash is preferable; however, select vendors accept major credit cards.

Once you’ve had a bite to eat, you can head to your next activity of capoeira, a Brazilian martial art. Camaleao of Capoeira Nago Queens runs the class for participants to gain balance, flexibility, agility, and knowledge of the history of capoeira. This class runs until September 15, from 1:00 pm- 2:00 pm.

Sunday morning, you can head back to Socrates Park for another round of yoga from 10:00 am-11:00 am or you can sleep in a little more and wait for the park’s free tai chi class to start. According to Socrates Park’s official website, tai chi “…exercises the body, relaxes the spirit, uplifts the heart, and heals the soul.” This program is run by the Taoist Tai Chi Society who recommend you wear comfortable clothing and invites participants of all levels. Tai Chi runs from 11am-12:00 pm until September 16.

These events are all free and require no reservations or registration. They are perfect, especially this fall, for teachers and students as they stressfully prepare for the coming school year, as well as residents and visitors of New York to take the weekend and relax while maintaining their health of the mind, body, and soul. —Emily Sweeney

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2018-08-01 digital edition