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Frederick Douglass Circle

Central Harlem

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Frederick Douglass Circle is a traffic circle located at the Northwest corner of Central Park at the foot of Frederick Douglass Boulevard and of Cathedral Parkway in the New York City borough of Manhattan. The traffic circle is named for the American abolitionist, women’s suffragist, editor, orator, author, statesman and reformer Frederick Douglass.

Although a ceremony was held to name the circle after Frederick Douglass on September 17, 1950, the pedestrian plaza in the center of the intersection was not completed until June 2, 2010. In 1993, local residents and the Central Park Conservancy began developing plans to redesign the circle and make it symmetrical with Duke Ellington Circle at the Northeast corner of Central Park. Construction on the pedestrian plaza began in 2004 and was to be completed in one year. However, due to numerous construction delays, the plaza was not completed until June 2, 2010.

The traffic circle features a complex colored paving pattern that alludes to traditional African American quilt designs. Harlem-based artist Algernon Miller designed the paving. Additional features, including wrought-iron symbolic and decorative elements, a water wall, and inscribed historical details and quotations representing the life of Frederick Douglass and the slaves’ passage to freedom. A central bronze sculpture, depicting a standing Frederick Douglass, has been crafted by Hungarian-born artist Gabriel Koren.

Sites & Attractions Sites & Attractions: Public Art Central Harlem

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