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The Renegade Story of the Charging Bull and its Unyielding Spirit

Just before dawn on a chilly Friday morning, December 15, 1989, in the labyrinthine heart of New York City, a plan was set into motion.

Charging Bull in NYC

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Sculptor Arturo Di Modica and a team of accomplices loaded a 3.5-ton sculpture of a bronze bull into a truck. Their objective? A covert mission to install this monumental piece of unauthorized art right in front of the New York Stock Exchange. It was a plan meticulously executed, with Di Modica having spent the previous night mapping police movements, calculating the minutes they took to circle Broad Street.

However, the best-laid plans often go awry. The NYSE had erected a gigantic Christmas tree, effectively barricading their intended spot. But a spirit that dared to challenge Wall Street wouldn't be deterred by a Christmas tree. With a twist of ingenuity, Di Modica decided to place the sculpture beneath the tree. As the city woke, crowds were greeted with a surprising gift – an impressive bronze bull that wasn't there the night before. An unconventional Christmas present, you might say, from Di Modica to NYC. The Charging Bull, as it became known, was later moved to its permanent location in Bowling Green.

Di Modica's bull, created in his SoHo studio over two laborious years and costing over $300,000 of his own money, was born out of the financial chaos following the 1987 stock market crash. A symbol, as Di Modica put it, of the "strength, power, and hope of the American people for the future." Interpreted by many as a representation of a bullish, or strong, stock market, today it stands as one of the Financial District's most iconic landmarks.

Many more New York City stories and tours await. Discover more local history with our New York audio walking tours, and see which nearby New York City neighborhoods you want to explore next!


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