- For the Welcome Center complex of Rapture, see Welcome to Rapture.
- "Heaven, Friend. Or as close as we'll see till Judgment Day."
- ―Male Pilgrim
The Welcome Center is the primary point of entry for newly arrived "pilgrims" wishing to enter the flying city of Columbia. Transportation capsules land at the top tower of the Church of Comstock and slowly descend into a reception area. From there, individuals make their way into the metropolis. This district is also home to many upper and middle class citizens and market shops.
Church of ComstockEdit
From his enclosure, Booker emerges into the church. The place of worship is adorned with statues and stained-glass windows depicting Zachary Hale Comstock, the Lamb of Columbia, and Lady Comstock. The Welcome Center's alcoves are filled with hundreds of lit prayer candles and offertory gifts. The floors on both the upper and lower levels are immersed in shallow, slowly flowing water. Visitors descend into the main chamber, where Columbian citizens pray and listen to the facility's overseer Preacher Witting. New citizens are required to be baptized before being allowed to enter further. Booker allows Witting to baptize him so that he may enter the city, but Witting submerges him too long, causing him to black out and awaken some time later in the Garden of New Eden.
Garden of New EdenEdit
After accepting baptism from Preacher Witting, the newly arrived citizens proceed into the Garden of New Eden, or drift in as the preacher is often overzealous in his immersions. Decorated with rose bushes, reflecting pools, and angel statuary, the garden is a beautiful, tranquil area and a popular spot for group prayer among the faithful. The courtyard is dominated by three impressive statues of Columbia's "Founding Fathers" George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson each holding their appointed symbol (a sword, a key, and a scroll) respectively representing strength, industry, and law. Not caring for the religious fervor, Booker heads on in search of his target.
New Eden SquareEdit
Booker emerges just as the floating island holding the Church of Comstock is docking with its designated receiving point, New Eden Square. The district connects to many different shops and stores such as Hudson's Fine Clothing, Curt's Groceries & Meats, Columbia Creamery, Chas. A. White Home and Garden Supply, Wilson Bros. and Company BottlingWorks, and many others, most prominently displaying "Pilgrims Welcome!" signs in their storefronts. At the center of the square is a monument of Comstock. Booker passes several cordial, if prejudiced, citizens all in a carnival atmosphere over the annual Columbia Raffle and Fair. He also spots an Automated Stallion, a series of parade floats recounting the tale of Comstock, and a barbershop quartet on a flying gondola. Eventually, he spots Monument Island, his destination, and receives a telegram from someone named "Lutece."
The direct route to the island is blocked, the area closed while fireworks are set up, so Booker detours through the Fairgrounds. In honor of the annual fair, the locale is celebrating the technological marvels Columbia has to offer such as the Sky-Lines, Easter & Sons Premium Automated Stallions, Voxophones, and even a Handyman. In addition to the fair food, high striker game, clown, and bluegrass band, several stands are set up to entertain the masses with Vigors. Other booths have shooting galleries with the Vox Populi as the targets. Booker attempts to travel on, but the raffle is sold out and the gates are locked. Fortunately, a Possession hawker offers him a free sample, permitting him to takeover the admission machine, and advance. Before he can progress, a gentleman and a lady have him flip a coin.
The gate closes behind Booker as he journeys on, so there's no going back now. Wandering the streets, he passes a pair of policemen, one demonstrating the new Sky-Hook, and a truly peculiar sight as a statue seems to reshape itself before his eyes. Most disconcerting of all, Booker spies a poster noting that the "False Shepherd" of Columbia's identifying mark is exactly the same as the one on his right hand.
Proceeding onward, Booker enters Raffle Park. While the crowd joins together in a rendition of "Goodnight Irene," Booker tries to continue, but again the path forward is closed. Instead, he heads into Raffle Square. He is entered into the lottery when he picks up a baseball with the "lucky number" 77 on it, which wins him the raffle. However, Booker's prize is first throw of the baseball at an Interracial Couple, the annual raffle is nothing more than a public stoning. Before Booker can choose to throw the ball at the ensnared couple or the raffle's emcee Jeremiah Fink, the authorities notice the brand on his hand. The police attempt to apprehend Booker, but he manages to kill his malefactors and escape.
The police pursue Booker throughout Raffle Square and on through the now open Shady Lane. He makes quick work of his pursuers, dodging their attacks and resupplying himself in the open stores around the street. However, as he moves ahead, he is suddenly attacked by a Fireman. The pyromaniac drops the Vigor Devil's Kiss when defeated. Booker defeats a final round of policemen before getting a much deserved respite. Shady Lane, now partially engulfed in flames, has a gondola docking station to Monument Island, but it's closed. The Blue Ribbon restaurant is open, and fortunately it backs up to a series of buildings that lead towards the island.
- Lady Comstock - Love the Sinner: Comstock Church
- Zachary Hale Comstock - Undeserving: New Eden Square
- Zachary Hale Comstock - Everyman, All at Once: Parade Crossing
- Constance Field - For I am Lonely, Too: Path of the Scroll on a bench
- Jeremiah Fink - Solution to Your Problems: Raffle Square backstage
- Father Comstock's Gift of Prophecy
- Beware the False Shepherd!
- The Envy of All His Peers
Behind the ScenesEdit
- After the commotion at Raffle Square and throughout Shady Lane, the ambient soundtrack from Apollo Square plays in the background.
- When the player looks down at the water path, only NPCs have their own reflection and not the player.