Central Park at East 81st Street (behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art)
New York, NY 10028
Open: When Central Park is open from dawn to dusk depending on the season
I always admire Cleopatra’s Needle whenever I am touring Central Park West after an afternoon at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The obelisk sits in back of the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Fifth Avenue and the pathways behind the museum lead to the site.
It is one of the few place where you can see hieroglyphics up close unless you are in Egypt and the sad part is that the natural surroundings are wearing them out. Still it is one of the most interesting outside artifacts that Manhattan and New York City has on display. Take time to observe all four sides of the obelisk and observe the writings.
Sometimes I think the tourists miss this interesting artifact and how it got here from Egypt.
The History of Cleopatra’s Needle:
Cleopatra’s Needle (obelisk) was erected in Central Park, just west of the Metropolitan Museum of Art on February 22, 1881. It was secured in May 1877 by Judge Elbert E. Farnam, the then United State Consul General of Cairo as a gift from the Khedive for the United States remaining friendly neutral as the European powers, France and Britain, maneuvered to secure political control of the Egyptian government.
The obelisk is a twin of the obelisk given to London at the same time and come from the ancient city of Alexandria. The name is a misnomer as they have no relationship with the Ptolemaic Queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt and were already over a thousand years old in her lifetime (please see the Wiki link attached to the blog for more information on the obelisk).
The obelisk is free to the public and can be seen by taking the path behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It is open all day.