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Columbus Statue Vanishes As Public Art Project Takes Shape

Standing atop a 70 foot pillar in a traffic island for over a century, the statue of Christopher Columbus at Columbus Circle has seen a lot of traffic go by. But soon the Italian explorer’s likeness will have comfier surroundings: a couch, a TV, and a coffee table.

Workers are now building a living room around Columbus, as part of a public art project. And, like many Manhattan abodes, it’s a walk-up. Visitors will have to climb six flights to be able see Columbus’s new digs.

Nail Yetim, a pedicab driver, expects it to be a big attraction with his customers, as well as a potential danger.

"Can you imagine how many drunk people in New York City will fall down?" Yetim said.

Sharonn Caldwell, who works nearby, said the scaffolding over the sculpture is already generating a lot of interest.

"People always want to know what it is. But it's cool. I always tell them, I'll invite you over as soon as they make the living room," she said.

The installation "Discovering Columbus" by Japanese artist Tatzu Nishi opens on September 20.