Connecting the world famous Bethesda Fountain to the Mall is a magnificent subterranean passageway known as The Arcade, a true highlight of any visit to Bethesda Terrace. This beautiful walkway features an amazing ceiling featuring more than 15,000 tiles, beautiful archways painted to mimic centuries old marble, and the only functioning time portal in the borough of Manhattan!
How is it possible? Could it be the way the imported tiles were arranged when they were installed in 1869 by a practicing alchemist, or the configuration of the columns the original park workers lovingly dubbed “the cursed columns from an unholy world?” Nobody knows for sure. But for many years random park visitors, while strolling through the arcade have found themselves transported to a very specific time in their past or future. Here are a few bizarre incidents recorded by park historians:
1886 – East side resident Franz Keller claims that while walking towards the Bethesda fountain, he had what he thought was a vision of New York City far into the future, where “buildings touched the sky, people travelled in metal, horseless wagons, and a man named Starbucks owned a shop on every street corner.”
1915 – While admiring the tile ceilings in the Arcade, Brian Cochran was transported back in time three years to his native Ireland the very minute his neighbor Colin O’Toole told him he had booked passage to the United States aboard the RMS Titanic. Instead of warning O’Toole not to board the doomed ocean liner, Cochran wished him good luck on his trip. Cochran was kind of a jerk.
1936 – Penniless hobo Stanley Fitzgerald found himself transported back to October 1929 – a week before the infamous Stock Market Crash. With his knowledge of what was soon to happen, he was able to save his fortune from being lost. Fitzgerald returned to 1933 a millionaire but lost all of his money a year later producing the failed Broadway musical “Hitler On The Town!”
1965-1980 – During this 15 year period there are multiple reports in the park archives of people who swore they experienced time travel at Bethesda Arcade, but pretty much everyone in New York City was on drugs back then so these claims are unreliable.
2011 – Local fashion blogger Janette Feig was transported to her family home on Long Island in the 1980s where she encountered her 16 year old self who wore nothing but stonewashed jeans. Miss Feig never recovered from her experience.