Photo of the day: CIRCLING COLUMBUS – Columbus Circle, named for Christopher Columbus, is a major landmark and point of attraction in New York City, located at the intersection of Eighth Avenue, Broadway, Central Park South and Central Park West.
Completed in 1905 and renovated a century later, the circle was designed by William P. Enos – a businessman who pioneered many early innovations in road safety and traffic control – as part of Frederick Law Olmsted’s vision for Central Park, which included a “Grand Circle” at the Merchants’ Gate, its most important 8th Avenue entrance.
The monument at the center of Columbus Circle, created by Italian sculptor Gaetona Russo was erected as part of New York’s 1892 commemoration of the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ landing in the Americas. Constructed with funds raised by Il Progresso a New York City-based Italian-language newspaper, raising the money from Italian immigrants with their pennies, nickles and dimes, the monument consists of a marble statue of Columbus atop a 70-foot (21 m) granite column decorated with bronze reliefs representing Columbus’ ships: the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria.
If you are fan of the classic TV show “The Odd Couple”, the fountain was featured in the opening and closing credits in the later runs of the show. At the time the monument was sitting within a fountain, the design of which now has been renovated. The credits’ scene is where Felix meets Oscar by a big fountain in New York City’s Columbus Circle: Oscar throws a cigar butt in the fountain, Felix barks at him to pick it up, and Oscar scoops it up with his shoe then places the wet and soiled cigar butt in Felix’s pocket.
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 36,000 square feet (3,300 m2), and the outer circle is approximately 148,000 square feet (13,700 m2). Day or night, it is still of the most majestic places in Manhattan.