What Times Square is to New York, Piccadilly Circus is to London. Dating from 1819, the circus sports the statue of Anteros (the twin brother of Eros) by Alfred Gilbert, erected in 1893 in memory of the Victorian philanthropist, Lord Shaftesbury. Today, however, the statue is commonly regarded as depicting Eros, the Greek god of love. That symbol of love is about the only thing that occasionally brings together the diverse group of people who converge on the circus. This is the traffic hub of London, and you're at the doorway to "theaterland" if you'd like to cap your visit to the West End with a live theater experience.
In this context a circus, from the Latin word meaning a circle, is a circular open space at a street junction. Picadilly Circus lies within the City of Westminster.
Piccadillies were collars sold by a merchant whose establishment was on this avenue when it was called Portugal Street; the name change took place in 1743.
When the statue was first unveiled, many objected to the depiction of a naked male youth as too sensual, so the name was changed to Angel of Christian Charity; however, the name change didn't stick.
The phrase "it's like Piccadilly Circus" is commonly used in the UK to refer to a place or situation which is extremely busy with people.