OP-ED: No good deed goes unpunished in de Blasio’s New York

Sculptor Arturo Di Modica, at left, and Parks Commissioner Henry Stern, at right, at the arrival of the iconic Charging Bull statue at Bowling Green on Dec. 20, 1989.
Photo by Arthur Piccolo


Dec. 20, 1989, is a notable date in New York City history. America’s oldest public park, Bowling Green Park in Lower Manhattan, received a very special holiday season a gift that would become and is today legendary as a symbol of New York City known around the world.

In a notable act of civic pride and personal generosity, Italian-American sculptor Arturo Di Modica made a memorable gift to the City of New York. It was the iconic 3.5-ton bronze Charging Bull which has stood at Bowling Green Park in Lower Manhattan near Wall Street for over 28 years.

In that time, tens of millions of visitors from around the world — as well as many, many New Yorkers — have flocked to Bowling Green to see, touch, and photograph Charging Bull. In those 28 years, Bowling Green has proven the prefect site.

Mr. Di Modica is so self-effacing he has not even wanted any sign there identifying him. Arturo Di Modica’s purpose in creating Charging Bull and gifting it to the people of New York was to symbolize New York City as the capital of the financial markets — but specifically in response to the stock market crash of 1987, as a symbol of an optimistic future for America for everyone in an inclusive capitalism for the future as represented by his very friendly Bull. Sounds like a perfect story with a happy ending that goes on and on in which Charging Bull continues to delight all, especially children, and inspire millions for generations to come at Bowling Green, as does the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor not far away.

Well think again.

Photo by Milo Hess
The Fearless Girl statue appeared opposite the bull in March last year. Now the city may try to move both statues someplace else.

This will not have a happy ending for Arturo Di Modica, Charging Bull or what it stands for if Mayor Bill de Blasio has his way. Rather, Charging Bull will become a very sad symbol of the blatant misuse of power by a major government official.

Working hand-in-hand with Boston-based financial company State Street Global Advisors, Mayor de Blasio has allowed this company to turn Charging Bull into a promotion for State Street by recasting Charging Bull as symbol of male power that oppresses women. Mayor de Blasio gave State Street a one-year permit to place a statue of a young girl only feet away and confronting the “menacing” bull in their view and that of Mayor de Blasio.

Was Mr. Di Modica consulted or even advised about this? Absolutely not. He was told nothing. The little girl statue was secretly placed there in the middle of the night.

Now the story is about to get worse.

Mayor de Blasio, at the urging of this Boston company, is planning the give this other statue permanent status while destroying the purpose and meaning of Mr. Di Modica’s wonderful gift of Charging Bull to New York City. Possibly even moving Charging Bull from Bowling Green where it has stood magnificently for 28 years and placed somewhere else along with the State Street promotional statue.

On what authority would Mayor de Blasio do so? Should Mayor de Blasio be allowed to destroy the very meaning of Mr. Di Modica’s gift to New York City in order to please a billion-dollar corporation at Arturo Di Moidica’s expense and to serve the greed and power a Mayor who ignores what is right and fair by any standard?

What do you think? You should be outraged by this act of ingratitude by Mayor de Blasio.

If Mayor de Blasio wants to give the State Street Global Advisors statue a useful, meaningful permanent home he should place that little girl on Broad Street facing the famous facade of the New York Stock Exchange where many of those notable companies that do not treat women as equals with men are listed and where their stocks are bought and sold.

There Mayor de Blasio and State Street Global Advisors would be confronting real power and influence not abusing Charging Bull who has brought so much joy to so many for so long.

Arturo Di Modica’s epic sculpture Charging Bull has nothing to do with abusing women.

Shame on Mayor de Blasio and State Street Global Advisors.

Arthur Piccolo is head of the Bowling Green Association.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *