Okay, so it was no rival to Times Square.
But in its 20th century heyday, the former Grand Circle (laid out in the 1860s; the Columbus monument didn’t arrive until 1892) boasted an impressive number of eye-catching signs and landmark billboards.
Here’s the West side of Columbus Circle in a 1907 Library of Congress photo, where the Time Warner Center is today. Ads for cigars, booze, and Uneeda Biscuits dominate.
A slightly different camera angle in the teens or 1920s reveals more billboards: for cigarettes and cars.
The famous Coca-Cola ad, photographed in 1938 by Berenice Abbott (through another alcohol ad), stood for decades until the building supporting it was bulldozed in 1966.
The site then hosted the Gulf & Western Building, which was remodeled into the Trump International Hotel in the 1990s.
Tags: billboards New York City, Coca-Cola Billboard, Columbus Circle, cool signs in New York City, Gulf & Western Building, Upper West Side buildings, Upper West Side in the 1920s, Upper West Side photos, Upper West Side streets