The birds and rosebuds of Bethesda Terrace

Split-level Bethesda Terrace, near 72nd Street overlooking the lake, was designed in the 1860s to be the heart of Central Park—a grand place of people-watching and socializing.

It’s the site of some of the park’s most beautiful features: Bethesda Fountain, the “Angel of the Waters” sculpture, and the tiles adorning the ceiling of the ground-level arcade.

But don’t overlook the gorgeous ornamental stone carvings on the staircases leading to the fountain.

British-born designer Jacob Wrey Mould created these whimsical reliefs of birds and foliage—a lovely reminder of spring and summer all year round.


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9 Responses to “The birds and rosebuds of Bethesda Terrace”

  1. The cat and bird carving in Prospect Park « Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] a lot like the stone carvings of Central Park’s Bethesda Terrace. No wonder: Both parks were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert […]

  2. Tom Says:

    Thank you for providing a name for the artist who created these wonderful pieces. Whenever I pass through the terrace I have to stop for a longer look at them. They are not simply generic carvings, each panel is different. You can identify each bird and plant. It’s one of those little details that pop out at you all over the park. Could the steps have been left unadorned? Certainly. Yet when I look at these sculptures I get a feeling of joy at their beauty and I wish that my hands and mind were clever enough to do something as lovely.

    • Ronald Korcak Says:

      Above you state the one can identify each bird. Do you know of anyone who has attempted to do so?
      With the assistance of a Audubon retiree we have been trying to do so.
      Do you know of any keys that have all birds (and plants) identified/

      Ron Korcak

  3. A spooky look at Bethesda Terrace at night | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] one of the most enchanting parts of Central Park: two elegant staircases uniting two levels in the middle of the park, linking the Mall to the Lake and culminating at […]

  4. The anonymous men who built Central Park | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] [Below, finishing the staircase at Bethesda Terrace] […]

  5. A dazzling City Hall fountain sprays Croton water | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] 1871, when a new fountain designed by Jacob Wrey Mould (he designed bridges in Central Park and decorative elements at Bethesda Terrace) replaced […]

  6. All the ladies on the Central Park Mall in 1901 | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] in 1863, Bethesda Terrace was one of the first structures to go up in Central Park—and it’s also one of the most […]

  7. What happened to the sheep of Central Park? | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] Wray Mould, who designed many of Central Park’s loveliest structures as well as the carvings along Bethesda Terrace, built a Victorian-style sheepfold near West 64th Street (below, in 1884) that housed the flock at […]

  8. General Grant’s first tomb on Riverside Drive was a lot more modest | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] temporary vault was designed by Jacob Wrey Mould, chief architect of New York City’s Department of Public Works. “With outside dimensions of […]

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