Friday, July 8, 2011

NYC Image Of The Day: The Monuments At Columbus Circle, 1913

I must admit that I never really considered who New York's Columbus Circle is named after. That'd be Christopher Columbus... Pretty dumb, huh? Located at the intersection of Eighth Avenue, Broadway, Central Park South and Central Park West, at the southwest corner of Central Park, the landmark was completed in 1905 as a practical solution to navigating traffic at the four points.

With New York's love for statues, Italian sculptor Gartano Russo was commissioned to build the Columbus Monument as part of NYC's 1892 commemoration of the 400th anniversary of Chris Columbus landing in the Americas, with funds raised by Il Progresso, a prominent Italian newspaper. The marble statue is 70 feet high with bronze reliefs on top representing the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria, while its pedestal features an angel holding a globe.

In addition, in 1913, the USS Maine monument, positioned on the Central Park side of Columbus Circle, honors the 262 seamen who died when the battleship Maine mysteriously sank in 1898 off Havana. The 44-foot limestone pylon is crowned at the top with a glistening gilded bronze sculpture of a seashell chariot pulled by three sea horses, signifying the United States' dominance of the seas. At the base are the mythological figures Victory, Peace, Courage, Fortitude and Justice.