Central Park Restoration Delivers Ornate Detail, Potential Nookie

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Photo: NYC Parks Department


In Central Park today, city officials will reopen one of the city's oldest troves of bling. The Bethesda Arcade — that archy thingie under the big staircase down to the Bethesda Fountain — was the only major architecture in Olmsted's 1843 park plan, and it was covered in intricate, custom-made ceramic tiles. And those tiles, over the years, wore and broke. A $7 million renovation has restored them to their original beauty and luster. "It's a combination of spectacular detail," Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe told us, explaining the investment, "and one of the most romantic spots in New York City." Excellent. It's also, we'll add today, the rare spot from which you can enjoy the park even in the pouring rain. —Alec Appelbaum