This post is about one of the most photographed sites in NYC — the 7,000-pound bronze sculpture of a charging bull on Broadway in Lower Manhattan. The Wall Street Bull is also known as the Charging Bull, has quite the unusual history, which you can read below. If you are in Lower Manhattan you should definitely visit the Charging Bull and pose for a photo. You can pose with the bull’s head, nostrils flaring or if you dare…with the bull’s anatomically accurate rear. Whether you visit his front or rear, go see this amazing piece of art. And now until February 2018, you can also see the small but powerful statue known as “Fearless Girl”.
The massive 7,000 lb. bronze bull statue mysteriously appeared on December 15, 1989, in front of the New York Stock Exchange. Who made this bull and did it get there without anyone knowing?
The Bull was created by Italian sculpture Maestro Arturo DiModica. Without being commissioned, DiModica conceived of and paid for the materials of the Charging Bull to celebrate the determination and spirit of the American people, especially New Yorkers who, after the Wall Street crash of 1986, had to rally to pick up the pieces of a broken economy.
DiModica chose the bull as a symbol of the “power of the American people,” he said. Standing 11-feet high and 18-feet long, the Bull’s right foot is forward, toward Wall Street, suggesting he is on the move financially. His head is down and nostrils flared as he charges into the commercial area.
As for getting this 7,000 lb. bronze bull from his SoHo studio without the authorities knowing? DiModica wisely timed the security routes to the Stock Exchange building and figured out he had 4-1/2 minutes to get away after he dropped off the bull and made a quick escape. But his plan was stymied when he and the bull arrived in the early morning hours. DiModica discovered a Christmas Tree had been set up the previous day, blocking his escape route, so he dropped the Bull under the tree and left.
That day as stockbrokers arrived for work on Wall Street, they were greeted by this mighty bull and immediately fell in love with it. But because of traffic and safety concerns at the tight intersection of Broad and Wall Streets, the City decided to remove it the very same day.
The next day, the New York Post front page (famous for their scathing and funny headlines) read as follows: “Bah, Humbug! New York Stock Exchange grinches can’t bear Christmas-gift bull.”
Fortunately, the City of New York was happy to accept the gift and found a permanent home for the Charging Bull in Bowling Green, just a few blocks down Broadway from Wall Street. It has remained there ever since.
For more in-depth history and interesting anecdotes, see below.
In 2017 on March 8th, which is International Women’s Day, the Charging Bull was joined by a smaller, but just as fierce bronze statue called “Fearless Girl”. The statue (pictured on the right) was created by Kristen Visbal who was commissioned by State Street Global Advisors, a powerful worldwide money manager. State Street is campaigning for corporate boards to include more women. Fearless Girl symbolizes the fight for gender equality in the workforce, especially at the corporate level. She stares confidently at the Bull and a plaque on the ground in front of her reads “Know the power of women in leadership.”
Similar to the Charging Bull, Fearless Girl was installed in the middle of the night. She was scheduled to be removed just a month later, but because of her popularity and the outcry on social media for her to remain permanently, New York City’s Mayor has agreed for her to stay until February 2018.
Take advantage of these next few months to see Fearless Girl share the stage with the Charging Bull.
As one of the most well-known statues in the world, it attracts people from around the globe, who line up to have their picture taken with the Charging Bull. Many of the tourists steer for the head with their cameras, but almost as many trudge down the other end. A myth has grown with the popularity of the statue: “It is supposed to be good luck financially to have your picture taken rubbing the two golden orbs that dangle between his back legs,” I tell participants on the Lower Manhattan Tour of Free Tours by Foot. “That is why that part of his anatomy is just as shiny as the head and horns at the other end.”
Watch this video of our Lower Manhattan Tour.
The Downtown Alliance security guards tell of a woman who comes to the statue every December 15 to kiss his masculine anatomy. Depending upon the temperature that day, the guards carry water to separate her lips from the cold metal. People have been known to crawl all over the Bull — some becoming injured as they slid or fell off between his horns. Since September 2011 and the Occupy Wall Street protesters began sleeping in Zuccotti Park further north on Broadway, barricades, and guards have been installed at the statue.
Because of the popularity of the Charging Bull, many companies have adopted the image — and have been sued by DiModica. He spent two years creating the statue. Due to its size, the bull was cast in sections, assembled and polished at DiModica’s SoHo studio. The artist designed a series of 5 Charging Bull statues, which he says he hoped to install in cities around the world. The city of Shanghai commissioned one, which was installed in May 2010; similar, but it is not the same as the Charging Bull in New York City. The Shanghai Bull was installed in front of the Bund and is also known as the Bund Bull — and is younger than the New York City bull, reddish in color and leans to the right, instead of the left. It has a more menacing tail that spirals toward the sky, which Di Modica said, reflects the uplifting financial trend of the country.
The artist designed a series of 5 Charging Bull statues, which he says he hoped to install in cities around the world. The city of Shanghai commissioned one, which was installed in May 2010; similar, but it is not the same as the Charging Bull in New York City. The Shanghai Bull was installed in front of the Bund and is also known as the Bund Bull — and is younger than the New York City bull, reddish in color and leans to the right, instead of the left. It has a more menacing tail that spirals toward the sky, which Di Modica said, reflects the uplifting financial trend of the country.
A third bull was placed in Amsterdam at the home of Euronext in July 2012. Because Europe was going through an economic crisis, Di Modica said this gift was made to encourage the European markets. “Think positive! Together we will go up!” read a leaflet handed out in front of the building containing the Amsterdam Exchange.