Bethesda Terrace Arcade in Central Park

Bethesda Terrace Arcade in Central Park

You’ve probably seen this in movies or on TV — the Bethesda Fountain is the heart of Central Park, and the subterranean arcade features a 50-ton ceiling made of encaustic tile designed by Jacob Wrey Mould and made by the famed Minton Tile Company.

Minton’s ornate encaustic tile was more commonly used as flooring, for instance in the US Capitol Building. This arcade originally had an encaustic floor, but that was removed in the early 20th century and only the ceiling remains. It is the only example in the world of a Minton tile ceiling and is constructed of 15,876 individual tiles assembled into 49 larger panels, each weighing a ton.

Bethesda Terrace Arcade in Central Park

The arcade makes an appearance in the video for “I Just Had Sex” by The Lonely Island:

The alternating central medallions feature abstracted floral motifs:

Bethesda Terrace Arcade in Central Park

Bethesda Terrace Arcade in Central Park

The carved wall panels follow the themes of the Seasons, the Times of Day, and the Ages of Mankind:

Bethesda Terrace Arcade in Central Park

Bethesda Terrace Arcade in Central Park

Bethesda Terrace Arcade in Central Park

Pan and zoom to get a closer look at the arcade here. The rest of the terrace features non-repeating ornamental details:

Bethesda Terrace Arcade in Central Park

Bethesda Terrace Arcade in Central Park

Bethesda Terrace Arcade in Central Park

Bethesda Terrace Arcade in Central Park

Bethesda Terrace Arcade in Central Park

Bethesda Terrace Arcade in Central Park

Read more about Bethesda Terrace and about the process of restoring the ceiling, which was completed in 2007.

6 thoughts on “Bethesda Terrace Arcade in Central Park

  1. The embellishments on the walls & stairs are really aggravating in that we can’t get anything like that nowadays in Ohio. Do our retaining walls, sound walls & overpasses really have to be so spartan?

  2. Oh, wow! That’s an absolutely stunning space! I think I have seen this in a Woody Allen movie. It’s definitely familiar. In any case, I’ll be on the lookout for it in the future. Thanks so much for sharing this inspiring space!

  3. Wow, Time Passages is very cool! I agree with you, and there are definitely some contemporary examples that go above minimal functionality and actually add something to the landscape, but that’s not the standard.

  4. Pingback: Looking Back: Best VL Posts of 2012 | Visualingual

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s