Charging Bull, the monumental bronze sculpture secretly fabricated by artist Arturo Di Modica with $360,000 of his own money, and then plunked down on Broad Street in front of the New York Stock Exchange in the middle of the night.
Arturo Di Modica’s Charging Bull stands poised at the foot of Broadway, seemingly sizing up the Canyon of Heroes as a potential urban Pamplona. He feels so perfectly sited, it’s surprising to learn that he began his New York life somewhere else. The Bull holds a few other surprises too.
On December 15, 1989, downtown New York woke up to find an 18-foot, 7,000-pound present below the 60-foot Christmas tree in front of the New York Stock Exchange. Unwrapped and without a card, no one knew who sent it—or how it got there.
New Yorkers embraced it immediately—well, most of them. It sort of freaked out the Exchange, who had it trucked away before the sun went down, Trojan Bull–type worries dictating an abundance of caution.
Back in 1987 when the stock market had collapsed, Sicilian immigrant Di Modica began working on a gift to America, and to New Yorkers in particular, to remind them of their strength, their resiliency. The bull also symbolized Arturo’s personal optimism that the market would rebound.
He designed and fabricated it in his SoHo studio from pieces cast at a friend’s Brooklyn foundry. Now . . . two years later, what to do with it?
And so, one December morning thirty-two years ago, Arturo and thirty friends—up way before the winter sun—headed out with a borrowed crane and a three-and-a-half-ton bronze bull strapped to the back of a flatbed truck. Next stop, the New York Stock Exchange.
Arturo Di Modica
Arturo knew they’d have four and a half minutes between security checks to pull up the truck, delicately set seven thousand pounds of metal on the street, and drive away undetected. What Arturo did not know was that the NYSE had set up their Christmas tree in the middle of Broad Street just hours earlier, unwittingly providing a magical setting for his surprise. The present was left under the tree, and everyone but Arturo fled the scene.
As morning broke, he stood on the sidelines watching as his gift to the people of New York brought a smile to everyone who saw it, everyone who touched it. Literally and figuratively, New Yorkers embraced the Bull throughout the day, protesting its Grinch-like removal later that afternoon. “It was love right away,” he told the Wall Street Journal.
New Yorkers will be forever grateful to Bowling Green Association Chairman Arthur Piccolo and then-Parks Commissioner Henry Stern for working together to make sure the Charging Bull was back in time for Christmas. And, of course, to Arturo Di Modica for thirty-two years of smiles and good cheer. The Charging Bull now commands lower Broadway, reigning as one of New York’s most iconic and loved works of art.
Arturo died this week in his hometown of Vittoria, Italy, at the age of 80, at work on Unfinished Journey, a piece that would have marked the 250th anniversary of the founding of the United States.
This piece originally ran in the December 11, 2016, issue of The Broadsheet.
The Gangs That Couldn’t Shoot Straight
Crips and Bloods Exchange Gunfire at FiDi Hotel, But Hit Nobody
The Artezen Hotel, at 24 John Street, was recently the scene of a shootout between two rival youth gangs, who fired multiple rounds at each other, all of which missed their targets. The February 7 incident resulted in the arrests of nine individuals and the confiscation of eight guns by officers of the NYPD’s First Precinct.
These details were relayed by Captain Thomas P. Smith, the newly assigned commanding officer of the First Precinct, during a February 18 meeting of the Quality of Life Committee of Community Board 1 (CB1). To read more…
9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Report
More Survivors than Responders Now are Submitting Claims
The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) has released its annual report for 2020, which documents some significant developments.
Over the course of its ten years of operation thus far, the VCF has awarded $7.76 billion to more than 34,400 individuals who have suffered death or personal injury as a result of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and their aftermath. The vast majority of these injuries take the form of illness caused by exposure to toxic materials that were released by the destruction of the World Trade Center.
PHOTO: Sept. 11, 2001. Residents began to make their way out of Lower Manhattan. photo: Robert Simko
Flood of Ideas
Residents are Urged to Brainstorm About How to Protect FiDi and the Seaport from Climate Change
As the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio formulates the FiDi-Seaport Climate Resilience Master Plan, it is seeking community input about which options, among a raft of competing proposals, make the most sense, within the broader context of the Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency plan.
To that end, the public was invited to participate in a virtual open house yesterday (Thursday, February 25), from 4:00 to 8:00 pm, to learn more and collaborate on the vision for the future of Lower Manhattan.
Among the subjects slated for consideration are the area’s low-lying topography, dense infrastructure, and complex waterfront and maritime uses, all of which make for a complex interplay of priorities and opportunities. To read more…
Jewish Learning Experience will host a family-friendly Purim at The Carnival (also on the rooftop of 128 Pearl), featuring music, a pre-Packaged Carnival Dinner, and Lechaim. Attendees are asked to come in costume. For more information, or to register, please browse: thejle.com/familypurim.
Studio BFPL returns in partnership with New York Chinese Cultural Center. Experience intimate, one-of-a-kind, live performances that are socially distant, within the indoor spaces of Brookfield Place. Up to six people who have traveled together can expect to be entertained for up to 15 minutes. Registration opens on the Monday before each show at 10 AM. Free
CB1 Decries Expanded Free Parking for Scofflaws with Badges
Community Board 1 (CB1) is urging that the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio remove what appears to be an unauthorized (and possibly illegal) parking sign on River Terrace, which has been used to broaden the already rampant problem of illegal parking by government employees whose cars display official credentials.
In a resolution enacted at its January 26 meeting, CB1 noted that the River & Warren condominium (located on River Terrace, at 212 Warren Street) had for years used “for safe drop-offs and pickups” a length of curb in front of the building, which was designed “No Standing Anytime.” To read more…
Eyes to the Sky
February 22 – March 7, 2021
Sun’s return north, Lion springs tonight
It seems that we are born knowing that we can tell the time of day by the position of the Sun in the sky. The time of year is evident when we observe the changing location of the rising and setting Sun along the horizon, the trajectory of the Sun’s arc on the sky dome, and the length of day. In the illustration, February is represented by the third line. The whole image reflects our experience of the Sun’s northerly movement on the horizon from winter to summer solstice. We observe our star, the Sun, climb higher in the sky each day. On the vernal equinox, March 20, the sunrise point is due east on the skyline. To read more…
CLASSIFIEDS & PERSONALS
Swaps & Trades, Respectable Employment, Lost and Found
No judgment for those of you who will want to drop those new year’s resolutions (or whatever other health kicks you’ve got going on) after reading this PSA:
NYC Restaurant Week launched this week, as hundreds of hot spots citywide have been lining up special delivery deals through February 28.
Promotions include lunch or dinner with a side for $20.21, two-course brunches and lunches ($26) and three-course dinners ($42), mostly Monday through Friday. (Some participating restaurants are honoring those prices on weekends.)
Dozens of restaurants south of Chambers Street plan to take part in NYC Restaurant Week, including Brooklyn Chop House, The Fulton, Crown Shy, Stone Street Tavern, The Dead Rabbit and more.
The Restaurant Week website lists several more tempting options to treat yourself — even if it means playing it a little fast and loose with your commitments to fitness. (We won’t tell.)