In the middle of this traffic circle is an iconic monument that celebrates the great explorer and marks the transition from the city to the relaxing atmosphere of Central Park.
Columbus Circle is a roundabout at the southwest entry point to Central Park. Within this grand memorial space are places to sit, unwind and watch the passing rhythms of this “city that never sleeps.”
Columbus Circle is one of four individual plazas that act as a gateway between the city and Central Park. The open, circular area was originally a turning place for horse-drawn vehicles. The monument at the center was created by Sicilian artist Gaetano Russo and in 1892, on the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the Americas, it was donated to the City of New York by the Italian-American community.
Stroll around the sculpture and admire the Carrara marble figure of Christopher Columbus. He stands atop a foundation of water fountains that are modeled on the water features in Rome. Notice on the base the allegorical Genius of Discovery as well as the bronze reliefs showing images of Columbus’s travels, a lotus crest and a bald-headed eagle. On the granite column see the bows of ships and anchors.
Take a seat near the monument, people-watch and admire the buildings and the open views. Listen to the sounds of the water fountain, watch street performers and pick up an Italian snack at one of the surrounding cafés. Visit at night to see the monument illuminated by lights.
Explore the buildings surrounding Columbus Circle. Check out the Time Warner Center and the Museum of Arts and Design. Surrounding the monument is a great selection of shops, including men’s and ladies’ fashion, homewares and beauty stores. During the Christmas season, shop at the Columbus Circle Holiday Market. Afterwards, head to Central Park for a relaxing stroll amongst nature.
Columbus Circle is located at the intersection between 59th street, Eighth Avenue and Broadway, and sits atop a subway station by the same name.