Columbus Circle

by William Fellows

As I cross 59th St. on my way to Whole Foods in the Time Warner Center, I am shocked by the ease of walking effortlessly through the middle of Columbus Circle, never once having to break my stride or have to sprint or halt for an interminable amount of time as a result of car congestion. I can remember some twenty-five years ago what it was like to try and traverse the intersection – a torturous experience through a lifeless landscape. Today, thanks to the new Circle designed by Olin Partnership, the space has been transformed into a sanctuary of civic pride and civic identity right amidst the traffic rotary. To me now, no matter how many times I walk this route, it is astounding to note how well the new design works. What was once a contorted traffic diagram has morphed into a wonderful, inviting and fluid space. The new Columbus Circle is an exceptional reminder about how good design solves problems and transforms environments for general benefit.

At night Columbus Circle makes its mark.

At night Columbus Circle makes its mark.