The bronze bull statue Wall Street didn’t want

It’s an icon of the modern financial marketplace, a symbol of Wall Street’s might.

But this three-ton bronze statue, officially called Charging Bull, wasn’t something anyone on Wall Street had commissioned.

One day in 1989, it simply appeared in front of the New York Stock Exchange on Broad Street.

So who put it there? The sculptor, Arturo Di Modica. After the stock market crash of 1987, with the country headed toward a recession, Di Modica spent close to $400,000 of his own cash to create the 16-foot bull, an emblem of the “strength and power of the American people.”

In the middle of the night on December 15, 1989, he had the bull trucked from his Soho studio to Broad Street.

The next day, crowds gathered around the massive bull—and the NYSE had it hauled away, a Christmas gift they didn’t ask for.

But it was a hit with the public, so a few days later, the city agreed to move it two blocks south near Bowling Green, where it remains today—a hugely popular tourist attraction temporarily barricaded to protect it from Occupy Wall Street.

Top photo: Herval; bottom: Jennifer Brown, The Star-Ledger

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4 Responses to “The bronze bull statue Wall Street didn’t want”

  1. roadtoparnassus Says:

    Cleveland has a similar ‘unwanted sculpture’, Claes Oldenberg’s Free Stamp, a giant rubber stamp with the word ‘FREE’ which was meant for the Sohio/BP building. When they rejected its perceived symbolism, it was moved to a park closer to the lake, where like the bull, it is a public favorite.
    –Road to Parnassus

  2. fifi Says:

    I remember when it appeared! How odd.

  3. Bob_in_MA Says:

    Actually, the 1987 crash didn’t cause a recession. That was the beginning of Greenspan’s mythical reputation for infallibility, and the era formally known as the Great Moderation (now used only sarcastically.)

  4. Grace Says:

    And I suppose then the cows appeared all over Manhattan also.

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