Even before the Columbus Day Parade became a New York City institution in 1929, Columbus Circle was the site of an annual wreath laying that commemorated Christopher Columbus’s historic voyage and the immigrants who followed his path over the centuries.  Members of the Italian Benevolent Society and the Knights of Columbus marched to the monument in a brief pilgrimage that recalled the event that changed the course of world history.

Today, the wreath laying is held under the auspices of the National Council of Columbian Associations in Civil Service in conjunction with the Columbus Citizens Foundation. The wreath laying features brief remarks by representatives of the Italian and Italian-American communities of New York and a short band performance.

In 1991, the Foundation raised $400,000 for the restoration and maintenance of the Columbus Monument, located at Columbus Circle in New York City.  Designed by Gaetano Russo in 1892 and unveiled on the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s historic voyage, the 13-foot tall marble statue of the navigator and the 26-foot tall granite column on which it stands had suffered nearly a century of neglect and the effects of pollution.  The conserved monument was unveiled in 1992 during the 500th anniversary of Columbus’s exploration.  The restoration was carried out by New York City’s Adopt-A-Monument Program.