Located in Central Park on the lower level of Bethesda Terrace, Bethesda Fountain, or “Angel of the Waters,” features a neoclassical eight-foot-bronze angel holding a lily on top of a tiered fountain. Bethesda Fountain is considered not only one of the most beautiful fountains in New York, but also in the world. It is one of the city’s largest fountains, at twenty-six feet high by ninety-six feet wide. The angel, designed by Emma Stebbins, was the only sculpture commissioned as park of Central Park’s original design. During the initial stages of Central Park’s planning, the idea was to create a welcoming “open-air hall of reception” where visitors could enjoy views from a terrace overlooking the lake. They also wanted something that blended in with the surrounding nature, which was to be the focus of the park. Bethesda Fountain was a fitting choice then, and still is today. Additionally, when the Croton Aqueduct was opened in 1842 to bring fresh water to New York City, Bethesda Fountain was used to commemorate this purification, which is why the angel carries in her outstretched hand a lily, the symbol of purity. She also stands about four small cherubim, which symbolize peace, health, purity and temperance.
You can view Bethesda Fountain from 6am to 1am. To get to Bethesda Fountain by subway on the West Side take the A, B, C, D lines to 72nd Street. If traveling on the East Side, take the 4, 5, 6 lines to 68th Street.