Bethesda Fountain sits on the lower level of the terrace of New York’s City’s Central Park. The pool features Emma Stebbins’ Angel of the Water, a fountain statue unveiled in 1873. Beneath the angels spreading wings are four cherubs representing those archetypal New York values of Temperance, Purity, Health, and Peace.
The fountain commemorates the Croton water system, which first brought fresh water to New York City in 1842. The angel carries a lily in her left hand — a symbol of the water’s purity, very important to a city that had previously suffered from a devastating cholera epidemic before the system was established.
On one summer’s day in 1976, Robert Iulo photographed the people around the fountain.