Bethesda Terrace: The Heart of The Park

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Featured Review on this writing by Steve Fettinger

An informative article, I wrote, about a historic and majestic creation inside of New York City's Central Park.

Bethesda Terrace

The Heart of The Park




As many have traveled to view, one of the earliest structures built in Manhattan’s Central Park is the Bethesda Terrace—as construction began in Eighteen-Fifty-Nine, completing in Eighteen-Sixty-Three. Its existence would be a masterpiece by Calvert Vaux, tagged with Frederick Law Olmstead. To the lower end of the Terrace, features a fountain on the platform, that stands the “Angel of the Waters”, a sculpture designed by, the talented, Emma Stebbins. The Bethesda Fountain, itself, had been created to celebrate the “New Croton Aqueduct”, a water distribution system of the city, as the “Old Croton Aqueduct” had been unsafe for health, with the water carrying many infectious diseases.

Nicknamed “The Heart of the Park”, the Terrace has taken part in many great movies. Scenes filmed at the Terrace was by “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York”, “John Wick 2”, “The Avengers”, “Enchanted”, “Stuart Little 2”, and “One Fine Day”, just to name some. A wedding scene for a season finale of the drama series “Gossip Girl” took place at the Terrace, also.

The Bethesda Terrace is built with New Brunswick sandstone, paved of Roman brick. It covers over eight hundred and forty acres of Manhattan’s Central Park, in New York City. There’s an interior walkway, titled “The Arcade”, majestic with nearly sixteen thousand Minton ceiling tiles forming forty-nine panels. The lower-level of the platform meets with the Mall of the park, a wide walkway that is midway of Central Park, which runs between 66th Street and 72nd Street. Centered on Bethesda Terrace is the Bethesda Fountain, mentioned about towards the beginning.

As you may have guessed, the name “Bethesda” originates from the New Testament. In Jerusalem, Israel, it was a pool said to be where a paralyzed man was healed by Jesus. “House of Mercy” or “House of Grace” is the Hebrew meaning of “Beth hesda”. The word “Terrace”, simply, refers to a brick or paved platform by a building.

The fountain centered on Bethesda Terrace has a width of ninety-six feet, while the bronze angel, above, is eight feet tall. “The Angel of the Waters” stands above four cherubim—representing peace, health, purity, and temperance. She, the angel, carries a lily in one hand, laying a blessing above the fountain using her free hand. Emma Stebbins was named as the first lady given a public art commission in New York City. Also, of her work is “The Statue of Horace Mann” and “The Statue of Christopher Columbus”.

Designing the fountain, was by Jacob Wrey Mould—who lived to be an architect and more, born in Chislehurst, United Kingdom. He, too, designed the stone-carved birds leading the grand fountain, as well as designing the original Minton tiles belonging to the Arcade. Bringing up Mould’s marvelous designs, it is said the Arcade stands alone on the globe for having encaustic ceiling tiles.

The southern shore of Central Park Lake, a water body of twenty acres, is overviewed by Bethesda Terrace. Up until Nineteen-Fifty, when Wollman Rink opened, the lake was used for ice-skating during the winter, where many New York residents and visitors spent their time. Then and now, boating is a common activity during the summer.


By Troy "The Ghost-Bull" Powell

Submitted: August 13, 2021

© Copyright 2021 The Ghost-Bull. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:


Steve Fettinger

Thank for minds tour. I enjoyed the read.

Mon, October 11th, 2021 10:43am


No, thank you! This won't be the last I write this year.

Wed, October 27th, 2021 2:55am


Informative. Thank you.

Wed, October 13th, 2021 1:47am

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