Since I was a little girl, Cleopatra’s Needle in Central Park has always been this incredible icon of fact and fiction for me. It was once the symbol I decoded on imaginary expeditions with my brother as we competitively searched for the Eye of Horus we swore was there. It was the landmark I always met my friends at for lunch in the park on Sunday afternoons. It was the obelisk that inspired this piece.
But yesterday I found out that sadly the gift I knew so strong and still is now in jeopardy of being taken back from whence it came.
According to Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, Zahi Hawass, “Cleopatra’s Needle has not been adequately maintained.” He’s quoted saying, “The stone had stood in the clear dry Egyptian desert air for nearly 3000 years and had undergone little weathering. In a little more than a century in the climate of New York City, pollution and acid rain have heavily pitted its surfaces”, and has threatened to “take the necessary steps to bring this precious artifact home and save it from ruin.” We can only hope the president of the Central Park Conservancy and the Mayor takes to heart his request to improve conservation efforts. Really, my treasured memories depend on it.
note: In case you’re interested, the obelisk was built by the Egyptians around 1450 BC and generously given to the U.S. by the Egyptians to commemorate the opening of the Suez Canal.