Without a doubt one of the most beautiful places in Central Park is Bethesda Terrace. This magnificent plaza of stone and brick has been featured in countless films and TV shows and is one of the most visited attractions in the entire park.
At the edge of Bethesda Terrace overlooking The Lake is the magnificent Bethesda Fountain. This beautiful fountain is topped with a sculpture known as The Angel of the Waters. The winged female figure is depicted stretching out her hand to bestow her blessings on the bubbling water below.
And if you’re lucky, perhaps The Angel of the Waters will grant you a wish!
The Bethesda Fountain has been granting random wishes to people since the first day of its construction when stone mason Rico Bertucci wished for the afternoon off and was struck on the head with a falling hammer, rendering him unconscious for the rest of the day.
For nearly a century and a half park goers and tourist have flocked to the fountain hoping their wish will be granted by the Angel of the Waters. While most have gone away empty handed, a few lucky ones have had their lives changed forever.
1880 – Local haberdasher Carlton Blummer wished to learn what his fiance was thinking. A week later he called off the engagement because his beloved Beatrice only thoughts were about a naked President James Garfield.
1897 – A Manhattan shipping clerk Boris Hublick wishes for wealth and fame. He is granted fabulous wealth, but the fame is on back order. When it arrives four months later, Hublick cannot accept the fame, because he has misplaced the receipt. He dies twenty years later in obscurity.
1907 – Magician and escape artist Harry Houdini wishes to pull off the hardest trick in the world. Two weeks later, he successfully hails a cab on Broadway during rush hour in a rain storm.
1948 – While visiting New York City on their honeymoon, a newlywed couple made a wish at the fountain. The bride wished for a child, and her husband Fidel Castro wished the bourgeois capitalist system controlling his homeland of Cuba to be overthrown in a bloody revolution. A few short years later, they both got their wish!
1959 – Local beatnik Sylvester Grange wishes at the fountain for inspiration to create the ultimate poem that will “tear down the walls of this nowhere society and put the fatcats and squares in their place, man!” Grange is instantly struck by lightning when he refers to the Angel of the Waters as “one groovy and far out chick.”
1976 – New York Yankees manager Billy Martin drops a coin in the Bethesda fountain and wishes for his team to win the upcoming World Series. A week later after the Yankees are swept in the series by the Cincinnati Reds, an inebriated Martin is spotted wading into the fountain to recover his coin and is dragged away by park personnel.
1982 – Struggling dancer Madonna Louise Ciccone wishes to become a successful singer and entertainer. The Angel of the Waters thought she heard the young woman say “I wish to become extremely self important and annoying in 20 or 30 years” and grants her that wish instead.
2012 – High School sophomore Miranda Trilby, not familiar with the procedures for making a wish at a fountain, texts her wish on her smartphone and tosses the device into the water.