Located right above the waters of the Lake and north of the Terrace Drive, Bethesda Terrace with the fountain in its heart is one of the most renowned architecture landmarks in Central Park. The terrace, which has two levels connected by three stairways, was constructed between 1959 and 1963. The fountain was added a year later, which makes the complex one of the very first amenities in the newly created park.
Main idea of the two architects who designed the area was to create a spot where people can both socialize and be close to nature and with the architecture ensemble they achieved it extraordinarily well.
Below the second floor of the terrace is located an arcade hallway, which connects the nearby Mall with the central part of the park. Its ceiling is covered with colorful tiles, made in Britain the middle of the 19th century, which in the past were cleaned and reinstalled before the arcade was opened again for the public in 2007.
On the lower terrace, in the center of circular pool full of lilies, is located the magnificent Bethesda Fountain. It is the first major art project, designed by a woman in New York. It features female angel standing above 4 cherubim: Health, Peace, Temperance and Purity. The bronze statue is not the only biblical feature of the ensemble – it was named after the Pool of Bethesda, presumably located in Jerusalem and described in the Gospel of John.
Throughout its long history the terrace survived many metamorphoses. In the late 1960s a restaurant was located on it, while several years later it became a popular place for hippie gatherings and drug trade before it was restored in the 80s.
Because of its popularity the Bethesda complex was featured in a ton of video games, movies, TV series, books and even several musical videos. Some of the most famous of them include the Grant Theft Auto video game and the films “The Avengers” and “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York”.
Visitors of the park can enjoy walking in the area as well as the beautiful view over the Lake. Street artists can also be seen performing on the terrace. Other notable Central Park Attractions are Belvedere Castle, Turtle Pond and Strawberry Fields.