A number of city agencies celebrated working together to give Columbus Circle a glorious makeover yesterday, marking the end of the circle's long restoration. The mess of construction at one of the city's most infuriating intersections (or roundabout, rather) seemed to linger on forever, and then suddenly, there were fountains and benches! The Mayor was joined by the Commissioners from the Parks, Tranportation, Design and Construction and City Planning Departments, as well as TimeWarner CEO Dick Parsons, to cut the ribbon at the circle (break out the big, yet still safe scissors!). The Mayor invoked the circle's namesake in his remarks, "It has been a long and difficult journey -- much longer than Columbus' voyage, in fact. But unlike him we've actually accomplished what we set out to do, and today we are out to mark the end of the road." Seriously, who writes his stuff?
Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe had a Linda Richman-ism: "For much of its history Columbus Circle was neither a circle nor a good public space." Discuss! There was, however, a statue of Christopher Columbus, which Mayor Bloomberg had said would put back in place next spring.
The Village Voice looked at the new Columbus Circle recently. And it turns out that the fountains were designed by WETDesign, who designed not only the fountains at Rockefeller Center and the Brooklyn Museum, but also the fountains at the Bellagio.