Fodor's Expert Review Bethesda Fountain
Few New York views are more romantic than the one from the top of the magnificent stone staircase that leads down to the ornate three-tiered Bethesda Fountain. The fountain, dedicated in 1873, was built to celebrate the opening of the Croton Aqueduct, which brought clean drinking water to New York City. The name Bethesda was taken from the biblical pool in Jerusalem that was supposedly given healing powers by an angel, which explains the statue The Angel of the Waters rising from the center. The four figures around the fountain's base symbolize Temperance, Purity, Health, and Peace. Beyond the terrace stretches the lake, filled with swans, gondolas, and amateur rowboat captains. At its eastern end is the Boathouse, home of an outdoor café for on-the-go snacks, and a pricier restaurant for more leisurely meals.