If you are in Manhattan you will probably pass through the Columbus Circle square, at the southwest corner of Central Park. This circular square is made famous not only for having the statue of Christopher Columbus, from which among other things it takes its name, but also to be the point from which all official distances are measured from New York. If you want to reach the zero mile point of New York or the zero kilometer of the city, you just have to go to Columbus Circle!
- What is Columbus Circle?
- Where is it and how to get there
- Why visit and what to see
- Where to sleep in the area
What is Columbus Circle?
At the intersection of some of the most important streets in New York, the Columbus Circle roundabout is one of the most famous squares in the city. It is located between Central Park to the northeast, Lincoln Square and the Upper West Side to the northwest, Hell's Kitchen to the southwest and the Theater District to the southeast.
Columbus Circle is a very important geographical landmark: from here historically all the official distances from New York to the rest of the world are measured, although Google Maps preferred to use New York City Hall.
Columbus Circle is also the point from which a radius of 25 miles is calculated in which those who have obtained a C-2 visa can transit, or the visa that is given to those who must go to the United Nations headquarters in the nearby United Nations Plaza. Columbus Circle is also the reference point for local companies to calculate whether a business trip is long-distance or not: if it exceeds the area of 75 miles from the center it is.
The square was commissioned by Frederick Law Olmsted as part of Central Park and the works to build it began in 1868. Initially the square was called 'The Circle' or even 'The Grand Circle'. In 1892, as a tribute to the 400 years since the discovery of America, the statue of Christopher Columbus it was positioned in the center of the square and has since become Columbus Circle.
The elegant present-day appearance of the square is due to the reconstruction wanted at the beginning of 2000 and completed in 2005: the circular square now measures 13.700 square meters and its inner circle 3.300 square meters with trees, gardens, seating benches and a fountain with 99 jets designed by Water Entertainment Technologies. In the center of the square, of course, the statue of Christopher Columbus still stands today.
Where is it and how to get there
Columbus Circle is a circular plaza located at the intersection of Eight Avenue, Broadway, Central Park South (West 59th Street) e Central Park West.
Reaching it is very simple. You can take the bus M5, M7, M10, M20 and M104 or, if you prefer, take the metro and get off at 59th Street – Columbus Circle Station. The lines that reach this metro station are even six: 1, 2, A, B, C and D.
For more details on how to use the New York subway, I suggest you read our article where you will find useful information and tips to move without problems between one attraction and another.
Why visit and what to see
We have already mentioned the cultural value of this square: a tribute to a great Spanish navigator, a geographical landmark, an important city hub, a metro station served by many lines, the southwestern access to Central Park.
In the past this was also the site of rallies, especially at the beginning of the twentieth century. And for those who love cinema it is impossible not to remember the scenes at Columbus Circle by Taxi Driver, the Walt Disney film Enchanted, the thriller Columbus Circle from 2012 and The Irishman by Martin Scorsese from 2019 ... in addition to the epic arrival of the Marshmallow Man in Ghostbusters!
All New York Film Locations
Today Columbus Circle is a square surrounded by clubs, shopping malls, museums and important skyscrapers. But let's go in order starting from central fulcrum of the square: the statue of Christopher Columbus. The monument is 23 meters high and consists of a pedestal with an angel holding a globe, a granite column of almost 9 meters and a white marble statue of just over 4 meters representing the Genoese navigator. As you will see, the three caravels stand out on the column, the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria. The work of the Spanish sculptor Gaetano Russo was financed by Il Progresso, a New York newspaper published in Spanish.
On the west side of the square you will find two twin skyscrapers 230 meters high: they are the Deutsche Bank Center, formerly called the Time Warner Center, which is home to the Shops at Columbus Circle, the Jazz Theater at Lincoln Center, CNN Central Studios, and the 5-star Mandarin Oriental, New York hotel. Inside the mall you will find some world famous restaurants such as Per se and Masa… starred French cuisine the former and Japanese the latter. Excellent but not for all budgets!
On the north side of the square is the imposing skyscraper Trump International Hotel and Tower and in front of it the Columbus Circle Globe by the artist Kim Brandell.
On the northeast side is the entrance to Central Park known as Merchant's Gate. Here you will also see the USS Maine National Monument from 1913: the fountain by the Tuscan Attilio Piccirilli supports the monument of Harold Van Buren Magonigle with the triumphant statue of Columbia in gilded bronze to pay homage to some American soldiers who died in the war in Havana.
On the south side you will find the complex known as 2 Columbus Circle which houses the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD), a museum dedicated to the arts and design with particular attention to the creative processes and materials used to create unique contemporary works. Additionally there are several historic residential buildings such as 240 Central Park South and Gainsborough Studios. From this side you can also see the 5 Columbus Circle with its triangular shape dating back to 1912 and the skyscraper 220 Central Park with its 70 floors and some of the most expensive apartments in New York. One of its units, in fact, sold for $ 238 million and is the most expensive apartment sold in the United States to date.
Where to sleep in the area
If for now you don't have a few million dollars to buy a house on the Upper West Side, you can always decide to book a hotel in this area and spend pleasant evenings in an area full of things to do and see but also relatively quiet and less. Times Square or other areas of New York.
Read our article on where to sleep in New York by clicking on the link below and you will find some names of places we liked near Columbus Circle.
Our tips on where to sleep in New York