Why Columbus Circle is New York’s Hottest Neighborhood
New York City has always been a city of neighborhoods, each with its own personality. With over 400 neighborhoods spread across five boroughs, some of these locations have come and gone, while some just continue to improve over time, until one day, the place you thought you knew so well is suddenly red hot. Case in point: Columbus Circle.
When Manhattan was at its nascent stages a couple of centuries ago, the area that is now known as Columbus Circle was pastoral farmland owned by a man named John Somerindycke. But the march of civilization has a way of changing things. As the city crept northward, along came urban development and a dramatic new green space called Central Park. Eventually, this crossroads was transformed into a circle dominated by a statue of Christopher Columbus — the exact spot from which all points in Manhattan would be measured.
And so it began that Columbus Circle would become the center of New York City. But it took another hundred years or so and a number of personality changes (working-class area, vaudeville entertainment hub, convention center) before Columbus Circle would start to resemble what it is today: the hottest neighborhood in the city.
You could say that the ultimate transformation began with the opening of The Shops at Columbus Circle, a buzzing destination that attracts millions of people a year. Whether you’re looking for Michelin-starred restaurants (Per Se, Masa), glamorous lounges (Ascent Lounge New York, Center Bar), designer shopping (BOSS, Ted Baker London), stellar entertainment (Jazz at Lincoln Center), a luxury hotel (Mandarin Oriental New York), or even a sprawling condo, there’s no better spot. It’s a world-class address with world-class views of the Manhattan skyline and the treetops of Central Park.
Like bees to honey, The Shops at Columbus Circle keeps attracting trend-setting restaurants (Momofuku Noodle Bar, Bluebird London), new shops (wellness outfitter lululemon, hipster kids' store Toytoise, fashion boutique Montmartre), and neighbors who have been helping to establish Columbus Circle as the place to see and be seen.
When Nordstrom, the cult-like West Coast department store, was looking to set up shop in New York City, guess which neighborhood it picked? Columbus Circle. The men’s store, which opened at 3 Columbus Circle, will be joined in October 2019 by Nordstrom NYC, its Manhattan flagship. Target, a favorite of budget-minded fashionistas, will also soon be opening nearby. Then there are spots like The Museum of Arts and Design, a cutting-edge cultural center just across the way. There's even a scene going on underground: Near the 59th Street subway entrance, you’ll find Turnstyle, a cool market with food stands and pop-up shops.
The area has also become the latest pre- and post-theater dining destination, with locals and travelers flocking to The Restaurant and Bar Collection before Broadway shows and Lincoln Center performances. The draw? The red-hot restaurant and bar scene, plus Columbus Circle’s ideal location, just a short walk away from the Theater District and Lincoln Center. Plus, with so many subway lines and easy parking, it’s a breeze to get there and back.
And that's the thing about a neighborhood like Columbus Circle: You really can't think of a better place to be in a New York state of mind.