While every neighborhood in New York has its own special flair, that thing that in a way “defines” it—be it the nightlife of the Lower East Side, the fashion of SoHo, the theater and spectacle of Midtown—there is one neighborhood that stands out in myriad ways, from nature to culture to nightlife: Columbus Circle. With the epicenter of this neighborhood at the intersection of Broadway, Eighth Avenue, and West 59th Street, Columbus Circle is the gateway to Central Park. It borders trendy Hell’s Kitchen, the bustling Theater District, and the tree-lined Upper West Side. A quick ride on the A, B, C, D, or 1 train to 59th Street – Columbus Circle gets you to this area alive with culture and nightlife, nature and beauty. Here, we present a quick guide of things to check out in this explore-worthy neighborhood.
10 Columbus Circle
One of the pinnacle experiences of Columbus Circle is a trip to The Shops at Columbus Circle in the Time Warner Center. Whether for shopping, dining, living, vacationing, being entertained, or simply experiencing spectacular views, The Shops at Columbus Circle deliver the best of the best. Consider: the hotel therein (Mandarin Oriental) has five stars; the luxury residential condominiums above the shops display 360-degree views of the Manhattan skyline. Jazz at Lincoln Center, a home for jazz education, performance, and broadcasting, boasts as its Managing and Artistic Director the acclaimed Wynton Marsalis. Its performance venue, Dizzy’s Club, was voted #1 jazz club by NYC hotel concierge. If you go there to dine, you’ll find the largest collection of Michelin-starred restaurants under one roof, with world-renowned chefs like Masayoshi Takayama and Thomas Keller. And options for shopping are top-notch, with a diversity of shops and boutiques ranging from Michael Kors, Coach, and Lululemon to Bose, MAC, Moleskine, and Williams Sonoma. Special events happen regularly, be they culinary, cultural, or fashion-focused. Explore Clean Beauty demonstrations throughout August, or the Conscious Fashion exhibit through September.
Beneath 8th Avenue, between 57th and 58th Streets
From the heights of the Time Warner Center to the depths of the underground, an equal, opposite, and no-less satisfying experience in Columbus Circle is a visit to the Turnstyle Underground Market. Dubbed “the market that never sleeps,” Turnstyle is an underground international food hall and shopping complex that keeps long hours, to cover the schedules of most New Yorkers. Just below Eighth Avenue, with seven street-level entrances, Turnstyle is connected to the 59th Street subway station. It’s one of the reasons this subway stop is New York City’s top-reviewed station. But you don’t need a MetroCard to enter. Once you do enter, it’s like the Epcot Center of cuisine, with 19 international food vendors ranging from Bolivian and Venezuelan to Russian, Mediterranean, and Taiwanese. There are ten shops and eleven kiosks, including places to get your wine, your doggie accessories, your hair cut, your makeup, or your new favorite t-shirt. So whether you need your early morning coffee or your late-night noshes, your cellphone fixed or a drink at a truly underground bar, Turnstyle has you covered.
Enter at Sixth Avenue off 59th Street
Columbus Circle is the gateway to Central Park on the park’s southwest corner, a majestic entrance to the serene beauty that is Manhattan’s backyard. Spanning 59 blocks and 1.4 square miles, there is much to do, see, and experience in Central Park. If you don’t know where to start, check out the information kiosk located at the Sixth Avenue entrance off Central Park South (59th Street). Here you’ll find directions, maps, and information to get you started.
Focusing on the south end of the park alone is more than a day’s work. For a great family day, the Central Park Zoo features the favored sea lion pool, as well as the Tisch Children’s Zoo with its Enchanted Forest and daily performances at the Acorn Theater. Or see why Central Park is called the lungs of New York City by taking a stroll through the Mall and Literary Walk, a quadruple row of American Elms which canopy the park’s widest pedestrian path. Sit by The Pond or lounge in Sheep Meadow, or have some fun at The Carousel. Exercise your mind at the Chess and Checkers House or your body at Wollman Ice Skating Rink in the wintertime. Whatever your pastime, you’re sure to enjoy your day at the south end of Central Park.