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Bethesda Terrace, New York City

#605 of 1,642 in Things to do in New York City
Architectural Building · Hidden Gem · Tourist Spot
Bethesda Terrace and Fountain overlook The Lake in New York City's Central Park. The fountain is located in the center of the terrace.Bethesda Terrace is on two levels, united by two grand staircases and a lesser one that passes under Terrace Drive. They provide passage southward to the Elkan Naumburg bandshell and The Mall at the center of the park. The upper terrace flanks the 72nd Street Cross Drive and the lower terrace provides a podium for viewing the Lake. The mustard-olive colored carved stone is New Brunswick sandstone, with a harder stone for cappings, with granite steps and landings, and herringbone paving of Roman brick laid on edge.Bethesda TerraceBethesda Terrace became a site for an outdoor luncheon restaurant at the end of the 1960s, then became a congregating spot for the Hair generation before devolving into a drug-trafficking venue in the 1970s. The fountain, which had been dry for decades, was restored in its initial campaign, in 1980 and 1981, by the Central Park Conservancy as the centerpiece of its plan to renovate Central Park. The Terrace, designed by Vaux with sculptural decoration by Mould, was restored in the following season, its stonework disassembled, cleaned, deteriorated surfaces removed, restored and patched and reset.Resodding, and 50 new trees, 3,500 shrubs and 3,000 ground cover plants specified by Philip Winslow followed in 1986, most of which, having matured into dense blocks, were removed in 2008, to make way for plants native to the United States. The Minton encaustic tiles of the ceiling of the arcade between the flanking stairs, designed by Mould, were removed in 1987, cleaned, restored, completed with additional new tiles and reinstalled in 2007.
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Bethesda Terrace reviews

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78 reviews
  • This is such a pretty place not to be missed if visiting Central Park. My 10 year old daughter immediately recognized it from Home Alone 2. There were multiple people taking pictures with...  more »
  • Bethesda Terrace in Central Park is one of the iconic places in New York. It is well known thanks to movies like Home Alone 2 and others. If you are a movie fun, it's a must see place. If not, it's...  more »
  • We visited Central Park on the last day of our trip for a few hours. Would love to go back and spend more time there. Bethesda Terrace was my favorite part of the park that we visited. The ceiling tiles are amazing and unique. There were musicians present during the time we were there and we enjoyed listening to them. There is a bathroom on site but is very crude but functional.
  • This is just an iconic place, great for photo ops. The lighted ceiling underneath is gorgeous. It's architecturally stunning. The steps are a great place for a picture, as is the fountain. You have to go early if you want to get there when it's not crowded. Early morning is is a great time to see lots of puppies. At night its beautifully lit. Worth the treck through the park. Also, there are bathrooms on the staircase down to the terrace.

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