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The ‘New York Bull’

If you’re looking for unique things to do in New York City, head down to the New York City Financial District and visit the Charging Bull statue.  

Locals and tourists alike flock to take photographs with the giant “Wall Street Bull Statue,” attracted by the legend foretelling that anyone who touches it will become a millionaire. Because the bull statue is anatomically correct, people snag some pretty creative shots for their social media feeds! While this is fun, many miss the fascinating history behind this world-famous sculpture.

The History of the Bull

In 1987, following a huge stock market crash, the United States fell into a recession. Sculptor Arturo Di Modica, an Italian immigrant, wanted to inspire America to keep fighting through financially challenging times. He felt that the best way to do this was to create a 7,100-pound (3-tonne) bronze sculpture of a bull, and, in an act of Guerrilla Art, drop it off in front of the New York Stock Exchange just before Christmas.  

In stock exchange lingo, a “bull market” is one where assets are rising, fueled by the investors’ optimism, confidence, and expectations. In an effort to inspire Americans to battle the economic depression, it was only natural Di Modica would cast a bull, sculpted in energetic motion, nostrils flared, muscles twisting, horns ready to thrust, and tail ready to whip. It is the perfect embodiment of the survival spirit.

Adding an element of drama, Di Modica and his team at the Bedi-Makky Art Foundry decided to surprise the city with their sculpture. December 15th, 1989, they loaded the sculpture onto a truck, drove to Wall Street, and, without permission from the city, installed the sculpture underneath the Christmas tree in front of the New York Stock Exchange. While New Yorkers delighted in viewing the bronze bull, New York Stock Exchange officials called the NYPD, who seized the sculpture and placed it in an impound lot!

New Yorkers, however, had already fallen in love with the charging bull statue and begged to have it back. Acquiescing to their pleas, the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation reinstalled the beloved piece of art on the north end of Bowling Green Park, where you can see it today.  

The Battle of the ‘Fearless Girl’ and the Charging Bull

The Charging Bull sculpture is a must-see stop for anyone visiting Lower Manhattan and the Wall Street area. The best way to do this is by taking a tour that covers the New York Stock Exchange, the history of Wall Street, and Battery Park. While exploring the area, you will no doubt also learn about the ‘Fearless Girl’ statue, which was placed in front of the Charging Bull on March 7, 2017. Standing arms akimbo, staring down the ferocious bull, the ‘Fearless Girl’ was created to promote female empowerment. In front of the statue, there is a plaque stating: Know the power of women in leadership. SHE makes a difference.

Ironically, following complaints of Di Modica, the ‘Fearless Girl’ was moved to Broad Street, near the original placement of Di Modica’s Charging Bull Sculpture. She now stares down the New York Stock Exchange, while a plaque with her footprints still rests in front of the Charging Bull.

To learn more about the Financial District in NYC, check out the City Tales Small-Group Wall Street and World Trade Center Tour.  

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