Egypt Threatens Removal of Ancient Central Park Obelisk
‘Since 1881, the obelisk known as Cleopatra’s Needle has stood in New York’s Central Park, but a letter from the secretary general of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities indicates that this may change if the monument is not taken better care of.
‘Recently, Zahi Hawass, the aforementioned secretary general and archaeologist, wrote to the Central Park Conservancy and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to inform them that if steps are not taken to protect the obelisk, it would be removed.
‘“I am glad that this monument has become such an integral part of New York City, but I am dismayed at the lack of care and attention that it has been given,” Hawass wrote. “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.”