Vintage Photograph Shows Central Park Obelisk "Cleopatra's Needle" on a Transport Cargo Ship in Egypt, 1880

The obelisk "Cleopatra's Needle," not yet crated, on ramp in dry dock prior to being loaded onto ship "Dessoug"
The obelisk "Cleopatra's Needle," not yet crated, on ramp in dry dock prior to being loaded onto ship "Dessoug"
Photo: NYPL

A gift from Egypt in 1880, the 69-foot, 220-ton granite Central Park Obelisk—better known as Cleopatra's Needle—is shown here on a special cargo ship in dry dock in Egypt prior to making its way across the Atlantic, up the Hudson, and across Manhattan into Central Park. The process was quite an accomplishment for it's time:

The Obelisk had to be lowered in Alexandria, moved to a ship with the aid of parallel beams, unloaded in New York, transported to its new site, and raised again. The Obelisk reached the banks of the Hudson River in 1880, and a special railroad was built to transport it to Central Park. It took 19 days to cross the 86th Street Transverse Road, and another 20 days to move it from Fifth Avenue to its current home - a blizzard hindering the process.

Check out this article to read more about how Cleopatra's Needle ended up in Central Park.

Cleopatra's Needle, Central Park, NYC
Cleopatra's Needle, Central Park, NYC

Something wrong with this post? Let us know!

Shop Related Products…

Brought To You By…