CAIRO: In a letter to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Egypt’s antiquities chief Zahi Hawass threatened to take back the Egyptian obelisk placed in Central Park citing a lack of proper care that led to the monument’s deterioration.
According to Hawass, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, weather conditions in New York have negatively affected the obelisk, particularly the hieroglyphic scriptures that adorn the structure.
Hawass threatened to take back the obelisk if no measures are taken by the city of New York to restore the monument.
The obelisk has been an iconic part of New York since 1881.
According to the New York Post, Jonathan Kuhn, director of art and antiquities at NYC Parks and Recreation, said: “We have been working in recent years with the Metropolitan Museum and the Central Park Conservancy to further analyze the condition of the obelisk and monitor its condition."
Hawass had sent a similar letter four years ago asking for the monument’s restoration but an evaluation showed that there was no need for restoration and that the obelisk is in great shape considering its age.
The 3,500-year-old obelisk, known as “Cleopatra’s Needle,” was presented as a gift to the United States by Khedive Ismail. The obelisk honors King Tuhtmose III. It weighs 244 tons and stands at 21.6 meters tall. It is currently located behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art.