A whimsical Victorian fountain in Central Park

Bethesda Fountain is the one tourists flock to. But just to the west is an ornate beauty dating to 1860, made with frosted glass bowl lamps, gilded black goblets, Minton tiles and topped by a golden spire.

This is Cherry Hill Fountain, in a part of the park overlooking the Lake and near the Ramble ringed by cherry trees.

It’s delicate and pretty, but it also served a purpose, providing “people on horseback or in carriages a place to rest, admire the view of the Lake, and water their animals” in the trough at the base.

Used as a parking lot for many years, it was finally restored in the 1990s. Once again, its gentle waters flow through eight ornate flowers.

It’s one of those hiding-in-plain-sight gems that most people walk right by on their way to some other park attraction.

Horses are no longer allowed to drink from it (as they do in this 1870s photo), but it’s still a lovely scenic spot.

[Photo at left: Central Park Conservatory]

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9 Responses to “A whimsical Victorian fountain in Central Park”

  1. Joe R Says:

    I think that this is the fountain that is incorrectly thought by some to be the fountain used in the opening sequence of the TV show “Friends”.

  2. wildnewyork Says:

    Yes, I read about that while researching the fountain. Apparently all the pedicab drivers say this, when the opening sequence was actually filmed on a Hollywood lot.

  3. marylandis Says:

    Reblogged this on Hints and Echoes and commented:
    Ephemeral New York is another of my favorite blogs, and Central Park, a priceless legacy of the 19th century, is my favorite New York place!

  4. Lovely fountains for city horses and other animals « Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] are a few other old horse troughs around Manhattan, one in Central Park and another hiding in the East […]

  5. Newport Carl Says:

    I love this fountain and I love this blog site … Thank you

  6. wildnewyork Says:


  7. Audrey Burtrum-Stanley Says:

    I love the idea of providing a trough for the horses – both the transportation from another century as well as the enjoyment of riding a horse today. This Central Park fountain is a multi-functional thing-of-beauty.

    I regret I cannot remember WHERE I saw another fountain that had a similar ‘thought’ behind the design.

    The fountain had been built for the human eye to enjoy the overall enjoyment of the pretty, trickling waterfall; Then, there was a ‘water-the-hoss’ area; However, the best portions of the fountain, were the low, framed pools created at just the right height for thirsty canines and other critters. What a thoughtful addition for all living creatures that might meander nearby the fountain on a hot summer afternoon…

  8. How a “Ladies Pavilion” ended up in Central Park | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] many park structures, the pavilion fits in well with the Victorian style of nearby bridges and fountains. But it’s actually only been here since the early 20th […]

  9. A 1908 fountain where Central Park horses can drink | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] not Central Park’s most ornate horse water fountain. That honor likely goes to the Victorian-era Cherry Hill fountain, which to my knowledge no longer works but is quite beautiful, with frosted glass lamps and black […]

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