Designers: Calvert Vaux 1824-1895 &
Jacob Wrey Mould 1825-1886 England
Outstanding in every way, Bethesda Terrace
is the architectural achievement that
defines the heart of Central Park as it seamlessly
joins the Mall with a Terrace overlooking theLake and the wooded Ramble beyond.
built of New Brunswick sandstone in a
mixture of styles, Romanesque, Gothic
and Classical with decorative elements
designed by Mould. His amazingly intricate
sandstone carvings reflect upon natures
significance, as it features birds and
seasonal plants that appear along the
stairways and also on the terraces main
posts. This magnificent split-level Terrace
creates a heavenly atmosphere with its
upper terrace and grand stairways on
either side topped with flower filled stone
vases that descend to the grand walkway
Many visitors stand on the Upper Terrace
and gaze out toward the famousBethesda Fountain at its center while the
Lake and the shoreline of the Ramble are
in clear view beyond the Terrace edge
some distance away.
As you descend the stairways, you can
sit on stone benches built into the lawns
Terrace walls and watch the tranquil drama
of people rowing, a wedding unfold or visitors
taking photos from every conceivable location.
On a fine weather day, musicians, actors
or dancers can usually be found performing
to a diverse and captive audience.
At the Terrace shoreline there are several
curved steps that actually lead into the water.
At one time, this location was a boarding spot
providing people a way of entering or
exiting from passenger guided boats that
sailed across the Lake.
At the southern approach to the Terrace Bridge from the Mall a
see the seven arches of the Arcade, a
columned passageway with walls on either
side forming a blind arcade adorned with
trompe loeil paintings. The large ceiling,
which is part of the original design of
Central Park, was first installed in 1867
and originally contained 16,000 brilliant
encaustic tiles, weighing about 50 tons
and handcrafted in Stoke-on-Trent, England.