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Gone Girl: Lower Manhattan 'Fearless Girl' Statue Is 'On The Move'

The <em>Fearless Girl</em> statue stands facing the <em>Charging Bull</em> as tourists take pictures in New York City. The smaller statue was moved this week.
Jewel Samad
AFP/Getty Images
The Fearless Girl statue stands facing the Charging Bull as tourists take pictures in New York City. The smaller statue was moved this week.

Early Wednesday morning, a girl — about 4 feet tall with bronze hair, bronze shoes and a bronze dress — went missing.

She was last seen in the New York City financial district standing akimbo and facing down a large bull. She left only a pair of footprints and a not-so-cryptic message in her wake.

"Fearless Girl is on the move to The New York Stock Exchange," the message read. "Until she's there, stand for her."

The Fearless Girl statue was originally placed adjacent to that of the Charging Bull in the northern corner of Bowling Green Park in March 2017. The group that installed the piece, State Street Global Advisors, says it did so "to raise awareness about the importance of gender diversity in corporate leadership."

The investment management firm claims that between the placement of the statue and late September, more than 300 companies have added a female director.

However, the firm and its statue have been a the center of a few controversies.

NPR's Camila Domonoske reported in October 2017 that a Department of Labor investigation found the statue's State Street sponsors had underpaid female and black executives.

In addition, the artist behind the Charging Bull,Arturo Di Modica, has called the Fearless Girl an "advertising trick" that makes the subject of his own sculpture into a villain. As a result, a different artist who supports Di Modica created a third sculpture of a dog peeing on the bronze girl's leg, which made its brief cameo in this drama in May 2017, as reported by NPR's Colin Dwyer.

The relocation of Kristen Visbal's Fearless Girl began late Tuesday night but was announced back in April in a statement by State Street and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

"Our hope is that by moving her closer to the NYSE she will encourage more companies to take action and, more broadly, that she will continue to inspire people from all walks of life on the issue of gender diversity," State Street Global Advisors President and CEO Cyrus Taraporevala said.

However, local television station WABC reported conversations among city officials regarding both the bull and girl statues have focused on the traffic hazard they present. They were both located on the narrow end of Bowling Green Park, which also acts as a median on busy Broadway — where crowds gathered around the statues often spilled over.

"This move to a new location will ensure that her message and impact will continue to be heard, as well as improve access for visitors," De Blasio said in April's statement.

The mayor's spokesman Eric Phillips also tweeted around that time that the Charging Bull statue "will almost certainly be moved" as well.

The more than three and a half ton, 18-foot-long bronze bull was originally placed on Broad Street right in front of the NYSE building on December 15, 1989, by Di Modica but was removed later that day. It was relocated to its current home at Bowling Green Park.

Intended to be just a temporary display — for a few weeks — the smaller female icon became too popular to be removed, according to WABC.

The television station also spoke to the Aranda family, who walked by the statue on the way to school for the year plus that it had been there.

"We definitely are going to miss her," Leonardo Aranda told the television station, adding that "raising boys who stand up for women and raising strong girls who go on to be strong women" is important and is something they try to communicate to their kids.

The relocation of the statue is expected to be complete before the end of this year.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Ruben Kimmelman