Park Workers ‘Rescue’ Wayward 20-Pound Carp in Historic Bethesda Fountain; Passers-By Ask ‘Is It a Crocodile?’

A carp must have taken a wrong left turn at the lake in Central Park and ended up in Bethesda Fountain on Tuesday, turning a calm urban oasis into an episode of The Big Catch.

It’s not clear how the carp got there, but it set off a rescue effort that involved at least four park employees wading into the historic fountain and chasing the fish around. The scene attracted lots of onlookers, some of whom asked if they were looking for a crocodile, according to Andrine Clarke, who witnessed the whole thing and took the photos above and below.

When the fish was finally caught in the net, onlookers let out a cheer and the fishermen and fisherwomen beamed. One released it into the lake, which is in the west 70’s right next to the fountain.

Click through her Instagram post for video of the incident too:

View this post on Instagram

Let's go fishing! #bethesdafountain #centralpark #centralparkconservancy #bigfish #fish #fishing #newyorkcity #nyc

A post shared by AYC (@ayclarke30) on

“It was great fun to watch,” she told us.

Sam Koo, who also witnessed the event, said it appeared to be a 20-pound fish and that the heroes were excited when he told them he was taking their picture for West Side Rag.

The Central Park Conservancy confirmed that a carp had been removed from the fountain, but had no further information on how it got there as of press time.

ABSURDITY, NEWS, OUTDOORS | 18 comments | permalink
    1. Larry Lox says:

      No way that thing is 20 lbs! What a load of carp.

    2. Valerie McCarthy says:

      This is such a wonderful story!!! This, along with some of the election results, makes for a joyful day. Thank you!!

      • Cynthia Parzych says:

        You’re right: we all need some laughter at the moment! And the carp should be much happier in its larger environment.

    3. Paul says:

      Some see carp, some see gefilte.

    4. Wijmlet says:

      some goldfish!

    5. Pete von der Carp says:

      Where’s dinner at?

    6. UWS_lifer says:

      First of all, how could it be a crocodile? Maybe an alligator, I mean, what is this Australia or something.:)

      Also, everyone knows that alligators don’t live in Central Park. They all live down in the sewers due to they fact that many New Yorker’s used to think it was cute to bring back baby alligators from Florida, basically the size of a small lizard, and try to keep them as pets.

      When they got to big and unmanageable they would get flushed down the toilet and then grow up and live under the city.

      There was a famous documentary about it. I saw it years ago so the details are a little hazy.:)

      • az says:

        There are native crocodiles in South Florida and they’re rare because they like warmer temperatures – which, of course that thanks to climate change, eventually they’ll be here.

    7. BillyNYC says:

      Carp is known to jump to high places and most likely while out of the water ended up into the fountain thinking that was part of the lake….. that’s where it end up landing eventually.

    8. Richard Lobo says:

      Did someone put it in the fountain just for the halibut?

    9. Sherman says:

      That carp has “gefilte fish” written all over it.

    10. SpongeBarb says:

      Carpe diem, as they say… (sorry). And as long as we’re getting more inclusive, I think this fish deserves a statute too!

    11. G says:

      people fish in the lake off bethesda terrace all the time. probably caught a carp in the lake and tossed it in the fountain as a joke. i saw a kid catch a big one in june 2017. cant seem to attach the photo i took.

      • Fishing warden... says:

        People who fish in the Central Park Lake are very responsible and would not do that.
        The law is catch and release!
        And the people who fish at central park lake O’bi by that law.

    12. Allyson says:

      Omg – that’s my cous who took the pic!!!

    13. James Vass says:

      I was hoping for an Alligator. Maybe next time!

    14. Samantha says:

      call me when there is a shark…