History with Baker: Vol. 2

Every runner should know Cleopatra’s Needle. It sits off to the left of the East Drive as you head North around the Park. I kind of thought it was just some random obelisk for years until I did my homework.

I chose to write about her today as she sits covered in snow, something that is relatively new to her.


Cleopatra’s Needle (misnamed… and having nothing to do with Cleopatra in fact) is made of red granite and was built around 1450BC. That means it’s like 3500 years old!!! So awesome right? We run by this ancient artifact daily!

It was 1 of 2 erected, the other is in London. It took 4 months to move the obelisk from the Hudson River to Central Park where it sits today. The opening ceremony held on February 22, 1881, was conducted by Grand Master of Masons in the State of New York and over 9,000 Masons were in attendance.

Another fun fact per the Central Park Conservancy’s website:

“A time capsule was buried beneath the Obelisk and included an 1870 U.S. census, the Bible, Webster’s Dictionary, the complete works of Shakespeare, a guide to Egypt and a facsimile of the Declaration of Independence. A small box was placed in the capsule by the man who orchestrated the purchase and transportation of the Obelisk. He will probably be the only person in history to ever know its contents.”