The monument at the center, created by Italian sculptor Gaetano Russo, is the point at which distances to and from New York City are officially measured. It was erected as part of New York's 1892 commemoration of the 400th anniversary of Columbus' first voyage to the Americas. Constructed with funds raised by Il Progresso, a New York City-based Italian-language newspaper, the monument consists of a marble statue of Columbus atop a 70-foot granite rostral column decorated with bronze reliefs representing Columbus' ships: the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa María. Its pedestal features an angel holding a globe.
Renovations to the circle completed in 2005 included new water fountains by WET, of Fountains of Bellagio fame; wooden benches; and plantings encircling the monument. The inner circle measures approximately , and the outer circle is approximately . The redesign, by the Olin Partnership of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was the recipient of the 2006 American Society of Landscape Architects’ General Design Award Of Honor.
On the northeast lies the Merchant's Gate to Central Park, dominated by the Maine Monument designed by Harold Van Buren Magonigle. An imposing Beaux-Arts edifice of marble and gilded bronze, it was built in 1913 as a memorial to sailors killed aboard the battleship USS Maine, whose mysterious 1898 explosion in Havana harbor precipitated the Spanish-American War.
The neighborhood around Columbus Circle is vibrant and eclectic. Within one mile (1.6 km) are Lincoln Center, the American Museum of Natural History, the Plaza Hotel near Grand Army Plaza, Hearst Tower, and Times Square. The Hell's Kitchen and Midtown neighborhoods lie to the south and the Upper West Side to the north.
One of the buildings adjoining Columbus Circle, 2 Columbus Circle, was designed by architect Edward Durrell Stone, originally to house the Huntington Hartford Gallery of Modern Art. Vacant since 1998, it is listed as one of the World Monuments Fund's "100 most endangered sites".
Columbus Circle also appeared in the movie Ghostbusters as the site where the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man begins his trip towards 55 Central Park West, and is used as the somewhat serendipitous dominant location in the movie August Rush.
New York's Columbus Circle gets a facelift: more than 18,000 square feet of granite was used for the restoration of this New York landmark, which sits at one of the city's major intersections.
Nov 01, 2005; Among the many famed landmarks in New York City is Columbus Circle, one of the principal entries to Central Park and the...