New York

Egypt Called. They Want Their Obelisk Back.


More than a century ago, Egypt “gave” New York City a giant obelisk, you know, to cultivate trade and good faith and such. We called it Cleopatra’s Needle, and we parked it in Central Park, where it’s stood since 1881. But all of a sudden, Egypt is not happy with the care we’ve been taking of their 71-foot-tall monument. Perhaps we don’t deserve the obelisk, after all!

MSNBC has the note that Zahi Hawas, the secretary general of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, wrote to the Central Park Conservancy and Mayor Bloomberg. It reads much like an admonishing screed from a disappointed parent:

“Recent photographs that I have received show the severe damage that has been done to the obelisk, particularly to the hieroglyphic text, which in places has been completely worn away. I have a duty to protect all Egyptian monuments whether they are inside or outside of Egypt. If the Central Park Conservancy and the City of New York cannot properly care for this obelisk, I will take the necessary steps to bring this precious artifact home and save it from ruin.”

But Jonathan Kuhn, director of Art and Antiquities for the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation says “There is no evidence at this point of any significant ongoing erosion.” Is someone just being sensitive?

By the way, guess how much it cost to tote a 224-ton obelisk from Alexandria to New York City back in the 1880s? $102,576. Once it arrived in New York, it took 112 days to get to its destination. So if Egypt really wants it back, maybe they should come and get it? Otherwise New York might start charging rent.

[via Daily Intel]

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