Earth Model

Columbus Circle

Text and Photographs by Neil deGrasse Tyson

Natural History special issue

Part of City of Stars photo essay.

The earth model pictured in fromt of a skyscraper with the subway below.

The shiniest thing in the vicinity of Columbus Circle is a three-ringed, sheet-metal model of Earth, which stands in front of Trump International Hotel at the intersection of Central Park West, Central Park South, and Broadway. One can’t help think of it as a knock-off of the original Unisphere, built for the 1964 World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows, Queens—except that the Unisphere is 5 times greater in diameter and 125 times the volume of the Trump model. Not only that, the rings that circle the Unisphere serve to honor to the three tipped orbits of John Glenn, who had been launched to space two years before the fair opened. The rings of Trump’s Earth, however, are angled every which way—evoking neither the orbits of anythign in particular nor the pole-symmetric rings sometimes found in armillary spheres. It’s fun to look at regardless, provided you wear your shades.