Columbus Day in Columbus Circle

by Amy Kraft on October 7, 2012

Have I ever given a bit of thought to Columbus Circle as anything other than where I go to Whole Foods and where Bouchon Bakery has those giant nutter butter cookies? Not really. Though I’ve sat under the statue of Columbus many times, I never really looked up at it or thought about this part of the city being named after such a complicated historical figure.

The Public Art Fund and Japanese artist Tatzu Nishi changed all that. For his installation, Discovering Columbus, Nishi built a temporary home around the statue, 75 feet off the ground. Climb up the stairs that flank the statue and when you arrive at the top, you’re greeted by the 13-foot-tall statue of Columbus nearly face to face as it looms large in… a pink, fully-furnished living room?

While I contemplated Columbus, the city, and the role of art in it, the kids made themselves at home. Ozzie took in the views of Central Park and 8th Ave. while Olive plopped in a chair and started reading Harry Potter.

This is a fascinating work of art worth taking the family to. The website doesn’t recommend it for ages under 5, but Ozzie certainly had a good time and didn’t destroy the place. Any kid who can make it up six flights of stairs is good to go. The exhibition is ADA accessible via a hoist, but strollers aren’t permitted.

The installation is up through November 18. Tickets are free, but you have to have them in hand when you go. Get them on the Public Art Fund website.

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