An Egyptian archaeologist has chided New York City over the condition of Cleopatra's Needle, an ancient column in Central Park.

Supreme Council of Antiquities secretary general Zahi Hawass (ZAH'-hee ha-WAS') wrote to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg complaining his city isn't taking care of the 3,500-year-old obelisk.

Egypt gave the stone monument to the city as a gift more than a century ago. The monument sits on a knoll near the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Hawass says Cleopatra's Needle is badly weathered and its hieroglyphics are worn away. He says no effort has been made to conserve it. He says if the city doesn't act Egypt may seek to have it returned.

The city parks department tells the New York Post the monument is in great shape for its age. The Met says most of the damage occurred in prior centuries.