New York City owes much of its history to water. As a city shaped by its bountiful harbors, it’s a natural assumption that NYC is also a city full of must-see fountains, and you’d be right.
BETHESDA TERRACE FOUNTAIN
NYC’s most recognizable fountain is the Bethesda Terrace Fountain. This magnificent Central Park fountain has been featured in pretty much every movie and television show filming in NYC, including Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, Elf, Enchanted, Doctor Who, Gossip Girl, 27 Dresses, and The Avengers.
Among the most recognizable features of Bethesda Terrace Fountain is the Angel of the Water standing atop the masterpiece. Now, New Yorkers love our Angel of the Water but when she was first unveiled, people were horrified! They saw an element of the angel as lewd and crude. What was the element you ask? She was showing her ankle! Yes, her ankle. The angel is gently lifting up her skirt to reveal an ankle, which in the mid-1800s when the statue was unveiled, was the equivalent of Miley Cyrus swinging naked on her wrecking ball. New Yorkers soon toughened up, realizing ankles weren’t so scary after all.
The fountain was also the first major work of commissioned NYC art that a woman designed. The artist responsible for the Bethesda Terrace Fountain is Emma Stebbins. Emma Stebbins was also openly LGBTQ+, which was extremely radical for the day. Emma Stebbins was definitely a woman ahead of her time.
A visit to the Bethesda Terrace Fountain today will include seeing many lively street performers. On any given day you can see classical musicians, hip-hop dancers, mimes, a man carrying a giant snake, and an artist who creates giant bubbles! If you’re truly lucky, he might even make a bubble big enough to cover your entire body, which is quite the photo opp! Truly one of the best things to do with kids in Central Park!
WASHINGTON SQUARE PARK FOUNTAIN
The Washington Square Park Fountain is at the heart of Washington Square Park. The fountain was designed by Jacob Wrey Mould who helped design the buildings for the Metropolitan Museum of Art(opens in a new tab) and American Museum of Natural History(opens in a new tab).
32,000 gallons of water flow through the fountain and local New Yorkers can often be found dipping their feet into the fountain on a hot day. Occasionally you’ll see a toddler or two using the Washington Square Park Fountain as a make-shift swimming pool in the middle of the hottest summer days.
Surrounding the Washington Square Park Fountain is vibrant Greenwich Village. This neighborhood is full of street performers, jazz clubs, unique boutiques, and restaurants. For a truly New York experience, spend a day people-watching around the Washington Square Park fountain, then catch a music performance at nearby historic Cafe Wha?(opens in a new tab)
The Pulitzer Fountain is located on prime New York City real estate. You’ll find the Pulitzer Fountain nestled between the famous Plaza Hotel(opens in a new tab) and Central Park. This location has launched the fountain to Hollywood fame being featured in several movies and television shows.
This famous NYC fountain features the Goddess of Abundance holding a basket of fruit. The sculptor of this statue, Karl Bitter, died just after completing the plaster cast for the statue. Sculptor Isodore Konti completed the statue and it was originally unveiled with little or no pomp and circumstance.
The Pulitzer Fountain is named for the famed newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer. This Hungarian immigrant had quite an impact on New York City. In addition to providing $50,000 in funds in 1912 to the creation of the Pulitzer Fountain, Joseph Pulitzer was also instrumental in raising funds for the Statue of Liberty.
After taking photos at the Pulitzer Fountain, head down Fifth Avenue for an afternoon of shopping, then visit Top of the Rock (opens in a new tab)to get a bird’s-eye view of the Big Apple!
Visit these beautiful fountains with one of our local tour guides today(opens in a new tab) and learn more about the history of the fountain and the surroundings on a private tour of NYC!