Colorful Tile and Stone at Bethesda Terrace

For me, yesterday was filled with such great magic.

A day wandering New York City was capped with the US CD release party for Patrick Wolf, making for the most inspiring and beautiful of my recent days.

When wandering uptown a bit into Central Park, keeping the idea of blooms and colours in mind, I revisited a favourite place of mine in the park. That favourite place is Bethesda Terrace, where the Bethesda Fountain has stood for one-hundred-twenty years.

For me, a sanctuary
The terrace serves an overlook for a lake just before the forested Ramble section of the park. The stone used is mostly light brown in the stairs and walls, and the walkways are a worn brick red. The terrace also serves as a walkway for pedestrians above and below, in that there is a tunnel that leads underneath the between the terrace and the rest of the south end of the park. I’ve seen the inside of this tunnel before, and I took to sitting inside of it during the summer, listening to a man play violin and sing with a complete vocal range.

What it’s all about:
The Bethesda Terrace has one of the park’s central features, which is the Angel of the Waters Fountain, or the Fountain of the Angel Bethesda. The concept behind the fountain is based on the fountain depicted in The Gospel of John, Chapter 5, wherein a fountain is described to have sprung up where an angel had touched down to the earth. Bathing in that fountain meant to be cleansed of all physical ailments, and the correlation between the one of legend and the one in New York City is that the Croton Aqueduct which was one of the first fresh sources of water for the public, bringing overall greater health to the people of the city. The fountain was unveiled in 1873 and has been celebrated ever since.

Now, after the rework:
Inside the tunnel, there are so many beautiful tile murals and designs, but in my visits, it had been worn and lackluster. In the past two or three years, I had returned to the terrace to find my sanctuary closed, but it was finally open yesterday. It’s not complete yet, with some lighting features not yet installed and some of the stone work yet to be redone, but what is done and being shown makes for even more beauty than I’ve seen there already. The vibrance of colour and elaborate tile designs are something to behold in awe. The stone work of the terrace is incredibly beautiful and ornate, but subtle in colour and inoffensive.

Here are some of the photos that I took yesterday inside the tunnel at Bethesda Terrace:

Tile and stone from outside

Stone pillar detail.

Blue and green tile detail.

Tile detail brown and gold.

Ceiling detail.

Stone upper-archway detail.

Author: ruecian