Bethesda Fountain – Angel of the Waters

John B. Moore
Bethesda Fountain in
Central Park.

Bethesda Fountain rises high above Bethesda Terrace, looking over the hundreds of visitors that come every day to enjoy the view of the Lake and relax at the “heart” of the Central Park. The sculpture that tops it, Angel of Waters, was designed by Emma Stebbins in 1873 and is one of the most recognizable icons in the entire park. Stebbins designed the statue to celebrate the new Croton Aqueduct which not only fed the fountain, but also supplied fresh water to a city that had long been plagued by infectious diseases caused by an unsafe water supply.

Besides being a favorite destination of park visitors in search of a cool place to spend a summer afternoon The Fountain is also a celebrity in its own right. It has probably appeared in more movies than any other monument in the park, exuding a timeless romantic charm that makes it a perfect backdrop for cinematographers. Literally dozens of well known movie scenes have been shot here including: Ransom, One Fine Day, Tommy Boy, Bullets over Broadway and Hair. In fact in, the 1973 feature “Godspell”, the fountain becomes a character in its own right, with the newly recruited disciples splashing joyously around in the pool. It is a fantasy that has surely occurred to generations of summertime vistors.

Location: Mid-Park at 72nd Street