Columbus Circle, Manhattan, New York City
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Columbus Circle, named for Christopher Columbus, is a major landmark and point of attraction in the New York City borough of Manhattan. Completed in 1905 and renovated a century later, it is the site of the first traffic circle in the United States. It is located at the intersection of Broadway, Central Park West, Central Park South (59th Street), and Eighth Avenue, at the southwest corner of Central Park, with coordinates 40°46'05?N, 73°58'55?WCoordinates: 40°46'05?N, 73°58'55?W. The traffic circle was designed by William P. Eno, a businessman who pioneered many early innovations in road safety and traffic control, as part of Frederick Law Olmsted's vision for the park, which included a circle at Explorers Gate, its most important Eighth Avenue entrance.
Now, as then, Columbus Circle is a major transportation hub. The M5, M7, M10, M20, and M104 buses all stop at Columbus Circle. The circle is a major hub for the subway, connecting the A, C, B + D, and 1 New York City Subway lines at 59th Street-Columbus Circle.
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, an Italian-language newspaper, the monument consists of a marble statue of Columbus atop a 70-foot granite 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 Design, of Fountains of Bellagio fame), wooden benches, and plantings encircling the monument. The inner circle measures approximately 36,000 square feet, and the outer circle is approximately 148,000 square feet. 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.
Time Warner Center, the world headquarters of the Time Warner corporation, is located on the west side of Columbus Circle on the site of the old New York Coliseum. The complex also hosts the Shops at Columbus Circle, Jazz at Lincoln Center, and the New York City studio headquarters of CNN. On the north side of Columbus Circle is the Trump International Hotel and Tower, with its famous steel globe. Other notable institutions around Columbus Circle are the prestigious John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Fordham University, New York Institute of Technology, the Professional Children's School, and the Ethical Culture Fieldston School.
On the northeast lies the Merchant's Gate to Central Park, dominated by the Maine Monument. 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 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, now known by its address of 2 Columbus Circle, is an Edward Durrell Stone-designed building originally housing the now-defunct Huntington Hartford Gallery of Modern Art. Vacant since 1998, is listed as one of the World Monuments Fund's "100 most endangered sites".
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