Over a hundred years after Egypt gave New York a 71-foot-tall ancient obelisk in "an attempt to cultivate trade relations between the two countries," the country has decided it might want it back, even though we're pretty sure it's ours now. The condition of Cleopatra's Needle, which has sat in Central Park since 1881, recently caught the attention of the secretary general of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, Zahi Hawass. According to a letter he sent to the Central Park Conservancy and Mayor Bloomberg:
"Recent photographs that I have received show the severe damage that has been done to the obelisk, particularly to the hieroglyphic text, which in places has been completely worn away. I have a duty to protect all Egyptian monuments whether they are inside or outside of Egypt. If the Central Park Conservancy and the City of New York cannot properly care for this obelisk, I will take the necessary steps to bring this precious artifact home and save it from ruin."
Well, 3,500-year-old objects do tend to show a little wear and tear. What does Hawass expect, exactly?
"I strongly urge you to focus your efforts on saving this obelisk and preserving it for future generations. I am confident that you can find the resources in New York City to conserve this monument properly and pay this treasure the respect that it deserves."
HAHAHA. "Find the resources." You have no idea, buddy.