Bull Still Penned in but Visiting Him Got Easier

Security has loosened somewhat around Arturo DiModica's famed Charging Bull Sculpture, but continued

On a busy day, tourists form a long line and wait patiently for a chance to have their picture taken with the Charging Bull. 


Passing easily through a wide opening in the barricades surrounding the Charging Bull at Bowling Green, Margo Unyi approached the iconic brass bovine from behind and gave it a fond pat on the back.
“We have to keep the bull nice and shiny,” the Canadian tourist said, pointing to spots on the sculpture with a shiny patina from years of good-luck pats from visitors.

Last month ap­peared to mark the start of a new petting and photo posing season at the Charging Bull. Security measures, restricting tourists’ access to the famed sculpture after Occupy Wall Street protests began last September, were relaxed slightly.

A police car and two officers re­mained stationed at the sculpture. But the barricades—often set up last year to prevent visitors from touching the piece or limiting them to the front end only—had been moved to the edges of the park.
With the barricades still at the perimeter of the triangle but not impeding access to the bull, tourists like Unyi were giving the metal structures a thumbs-up.

“I like the barricades,” Unyi said. “You have this safe feeling in here with with all those cars going by on both sides.”

The city Department of Trans­portation has been planning to create a widened pedestrian space around the plaza to make a safer environment for visitors, who often spill out onto the streets.

Tourists may be getting easier access to the bull these days, but no reconfiguration of barricades will get the approval of Arthur Piccolo of the Bowling Green Asso­cia­tion. He has been a caretaker of the sculpture since help­­ing to bring it to Bowling Green from in front of the New York Stock Exchange, where sculptor Arturo Di Modica uninvitedly placed it in 1989. Since last winter, Piccolo has been waging a one-man battle to have the barricades removed entirely.

“It’s completely unacceptable,” Piccolo said. “[The barricades] serve no purpose, and at this point it appears to be a permanent situation.”

Between September 2011 and July 2012, Piccolo estimates, New York City  has spent up to $1 million on police overtime to stand guard around the sculpture.
The mayor’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

“The whole thing makes no sense,” said Piccolo, who contends that the bull has never been damaged and is not in need of such security measures. “The cage has no justification, so I would never apply the word ‘better’ to the situation. It’s an unjustified situation that is to the detriment of our city.”