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Central park conservancy is completely wasting its money unless the Obelisk is housed indoors.

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Judging by the article published yesterday on their website, has clearly not even inspected the work in person, nor consulted with the leading expert on pollution history of Central Park (Professor Richard Bopp of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute of Troy, NY).

This writer did so several years ago when he noticed the west face was entirely gone (See image above). These cartouches were carved into the stone several inches deep. While the source problems with the stones obelisk came from being toppled into a sandy soil laden with salt water in the marshes of Alexandria, Egypt many years ago, its erosion has accelerated due entirely to its exposure to sulfur born particulates from coal fired power plants in the midwest. In this case, the Ohio River valley.

The SO2 laden fumes (Sulfur Dioxide) quickly mix with water (H20) and Oxygen (O2) to become H2SO4, 1% per hour in the clouds, otherwise known as Sulfuric Acid. The Egyptian granite given the salt water saturation for a thousand years has little chance when facing that airborne threat arriving from the west via the prevailing weather systems. Indeed the entire western face is gone. I don’t suppose somebody plans on carving out new cartouches. What did the old ones say by the way? Short of moving it indoors there is absolutely nothing that can be done about the significant deterioration.

The former MET director Thomas Hoving came to this conclusion independently many years ago. He thought the cloisters would be better off indoors or under glass as well. Perhaps this is the finest argument for the British Museum keeping the Elgin marbles after all?

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Above are images from the USS Maine Memorial by Attilio Piccirilli at the southwest “Merchants Gate” of Central Park, carved from Tennessee Marble, really a form of limestone, this has fizzed away in the acid rain ever since the tall smoke stacks were built in the midwest to get around the original intent of the 1970 Clean Air Act enacted by congress and signed into law by then President Richard Milhouse Nixon.

About the Author

Robert Alexander Boyle

Robert Alexander Boyle

 Alexander Boyle is a graduate of Trinity College, Hartford, CT where he majored in History. Prior to graduation he co-authored the seminal book Acid Rain in 1983. Alex has worked for the Metropo...