Posts Tagged ‘Bethesda Fountain Central Park’

The Mall: the only straight path in Central Park

March 16, 2015

Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux set out to recreate nature when they designed Central Park, laying out windy paths and serpentine walkways that would follow the woods and pastoral settings they had planned.

But they did allow one formal concession, the only intentional straight line in the park: a quarter-mile “promenade,” as they called it in the 1850s, where New Yorkers could mingle.

Centralparkmall

The Mall was “specially designed to accommodate the width of carriages passing through its bounds,” explains centralpark.com.

“Around the turn of the century, these carriages would drop off their wealthy inhabitants at the Mall’s starting point, where they could enjoy the natural scenery and mingle with people of lesser status. When these visitors finally reached the Bethesda Terrace, their carriages would be waiting to bring them to their next destination.”

And for the little ones, goat and donkey cart rides!

A spooky look at Bethesda Terrace at night

October 7, 2013

It’s 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 Bethesda Fountain.

Bethesdaterracepostcard

By day, it’s crowded and lovely. But at night and under a full moon, it sure looks empty, misty, and ghostly—at least judging by this 1908 postcard.

Bethesdaterrace1862Here’s a photo of Bethesda Terrace under construction in 1862. The park has officially opened, but much work still needed to be done.

It was supposed to be called the Water Terrance. That changed when the fountain was put in place, whose name, Bethesda, references the Pool of Bethesda in the New Testament.