Archaeology Magazine Archive

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Cleopatra's Needle and Other Obelisks

Behind the Met in Central Park stands the only genuine Egyptian obelisk in the United States: Cleopatra's Needle. This obelisk, the oldest man made object in Central Park, was a gift from Egypt and was shipped from Alexandria to New York in 1880. The 51-foot-tall Worth obelisk, in Worth Square near Madison Square Park, honors a 19th-century military hero. The two famous obelisks in the Financial District are Alexander Hamilton's obelisk tomb in the Trinity churchyard and a 30-foot-tall one dedicated to attorney Thomas Addis Emmet in St. Paul Chapel's churchyard.


Cleopatra's Needle

To learn more about Cleopatra's Needle and other obelisks in New York City see "Touring the NYC Obelisks" and "Saga of Cleopatra's Needles"

The Monterey Apartment Complex 175 E. 96th St., Upper East Side
Subway: 6 to 96th St.


Yahkin by Boaz Vaadia

Not all Egyptian sights in NYC are intentional. Brooklyn-based Israeli-American artist Boaz Vaadia's bluestone statues are certainly not Egyptian, but his process of stacking stones to form human and animal sculptures creates a layered, textural effect. Although the statues are not meant to be mummies, one cannot help but see a resemblance to the linen wrappings of the Egyptian dead. There are four Vaadia statues on permanent display in NYC. "Yahkin" is probably the most reminiscent of an Egyptian mummy.

Other permanent NYC Works by Vaadia:
Asaf and Yoah: Time Warner Center 58th St. btw. 8th and 9th Sts.
Milka & "Tirza: All Souls School Courtyard Lexington at 79th St.
Omri and A'hav: Carnegie Park 200 E. 94th St.
For more information on Boaz Vaadia and his work visit

The Upper Room
Battery Park, Financial District
Subway: 1 to South Ferry; 2,3 to Bowling Green


The Upper Room by Ned Smyth

This sculpture by Ned Smyth is reminiscent of an open-air Egyptian temple, complete with Neo-Egyptian columns with papyrus and lotus-like geometric capitals. Constructed in 1987, the Upper Room shines red with mosaic, bluestone, pebbled concrete, and brass. With no roof, the columns form a rectangular structure that appears to be a mix between ancient ruins and a modern playground.