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NYC: Columbus Circle from The Shops at Columbus Circle | by wallyg
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NYC: Columbus Circle from The Shops at Columbus Circle

Columbus Circle, located at the intersection of Broadway, Central Park West, Central Park South (59th Street), and 8th Avenue, on the southwest corner of Central Park is the official point at which distances to and from New York City are measured. 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 its Eighth Avenue entrance. Construction was completed in 1905.


About ten thousand people, including Italian, Spanish, and American dignitaries, gathered in Columbus Circle on October 12, 1892, the 400th anniversary of the arrival of Columbus in the “New World.” Together they dedicated the Columbus Monument, designed by Sicilian sculptor Gaetano Russo and donated to the City of New York by the Italian-American community. The monument consists of a statue of Columbus posed on a column mounted on a base surrounded by fountains; an allegorical figure depicting the Genius of Discovery stands on the base. Both Columbus and the latter figure are carved of Carrara marble. Bronze elements include two bas-reliefs (1,2) portraying Columbus’s journey, as well as an American bald eagle and lotus-shaped cresting. In addition, bronze ships’ prows and anchors adorn the granite column. The total height of the plinth, pedestal, column and sculpture is 77 feet, enabling passerby to see the monument from miles away on a clear day.


The Time Warner Center, by David Childs, was built in 2000-2004 for the Time Warner media conglomerate. Originally developed under the title New Coliseum or Columbus Centre (then briefly as the AOL Time Warner Center before "AOL" was dropped from the company name in 2003), the building replaced the Robert Moses-era monument, the Coliseum (1954-1956). The development was designed from the beginning with 59th Street demapped, facing Columbus Circle in a sweeping 7-storey curve two blockfronts wide. An extensive six-level retail complex, with the four above-ground floors built around a glass-walled atrium space, form The Shops at Columbus Circle and The Restaurant and Bar Collection. These feature six high-end restaurants and 40 luxury and specialty retailers. Three performance spaces with a total of 2,000 seats comprise the Jazz at Lincoln Center on the 5th and 6th floors underneath the north tower. The atrium wall facing Columbus Circle is made of laminated glass panes attached to a non-rigid, 45 m high and 26 m wide cable mesh frame, the largest glass wall of its kind in the world.Literally topping the whole are the 228.5-meter residential and office towers at 25 and 80 Columbus Circle. The tower shafts rise from 20- and 24-storey setback tower bases, all with parallelogram plans and curtain wall facades of dark glass. The towers, separated by 26 meters and featuring vertical stripes at the top recall the Central Park West apartment towers of the thirties.


In 2007, the Time Warner Center was ranked #105 on the AIA 150 America's Favorite Architecture list.

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Taken on July 8, 2006