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Building Conservation Associates

Central Park Obelisk

Location: New York, New York
Year Built: Before 1425 BCE (in the park 1881)

BCA was retained by the Central Park Conservancy to perform comprehensive conservation treatments to the ancient Egyptian monolith referred to as the “Central Park Obelisk”, and also popularly known by the misnomer “Cleopatra’s Needle”. The Obelisk is a tapered shaft of solid pink granite approximately 70’ high on a tall base of the same stone, originally quarried in Aswan and erected in Heliopolis to honor Pharaoh Thutmose, III and later Ramses II. It is thought to have been originally erected approximately 3500 ago (presumably before 1425 BCE) and was brought to New York City from Egypt and erected in its present location in 1881.

BCA performed conservation of 6,971 conditions to address the previously untreated weathered conditions as well as conditions that had been temporarily stabilized by others on the granite obelisk shaft and its supporting plinth block. Scaling and exfoliation was observed throughout the obelisk. To conserve the obelisk as completely as possible, treatments included stone consolidation, adhesive injection and stabilization repairs, grout repairs, and biological growth removal.

Awards: Lucy G. Moses Preservation Award, Excellence in Design Award (New York City Public Design Commission)