New York

Rediscovering New York: Bethesda Bubbles (aka Crack For Kids)

Children Play in Bethesda Terrace in Central Park

Central Park is a haven for street vendors, musicians, magicians, dance troops and caricaturists, especially on Bethesda Terrace where you’ll find most of them within 20 feet of each other. They delight and entertain, or seriously annoy depending on your state of mind, but mostly they thrill.

In the middle of it all, the bell of the ball, as far as kids are concerned, is the big man with a rope tied between two sticks and a bucket full of suds.

Yes, it’s the bubble man.

I would imagine that he could turn the unhappiest child into a laughing, squealing, bubble-chasing freak-a-zoid, and I say that with love. Honest.

Little girl plays in Central Park's Bethesda Fountain

This past weekend I saw it all firsthand—a fortuitous stop on my way home through the park.

Children of all ages were losing their minds in pursuit of the ever-elusive, iridescent spheres.  Parents stood grinning like big-toothed caricatures, beaming with love and contentment as they watched their little ones bask in pure delight. It was insanely cute and the children couldn’t get enough. Seriously, they never seemed to tire. It was insane.

Little boys play in Bethesda Terrace in Central ParkThe bubble man—oddly expressionless—silently whipped the kids into a frenzy. He dipped his homemade contraption into his bucket and then gracefully lifted his hands while walking backwards, letting the breeze give birth to bubbles the size of a grown man. And just when the excitement was at a fever pitch……he stopped.


Child plays with bubbles in Bethesda terrace in Central Park

At first the kids were deflated, and then they were intrigued. The bubble man was pulling out extra buckets and sticks. Oh my goodness, could it be true? Yes! For a mere $1, they could make their own bubbles.

Mommy! Daddy! Please! Please! Can we make bubbles?! A symphony of whines filled the air.

Little boy laughs in Bethesda Terrace in Central Park

Who could refuse? No parent wanted to crush their child’s soul after they’d experienced a bubble high.

Within seconds the wallets came out.

Smart dude that bubble man.


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