Curbed coverage of New Yorkers For Parks, Mayor de Blasio considers letting Wall Street's 'Fearless Girl' Statue Stay
March 22, 2017
By Ameena Walker
It’s been two weeks since the “Fearless Girl” statue was installed across from the Financial District’s “Charging Bull” (right before International Women’s Day), and since then, calls for the city to make that statue—part of a marketing stunt by State Street Capital, one of the world’s largest asset managers—a permanent fixture have grown. Now, according to the New York Post, it looks like Mayor de Blasio is warming up to the idea.
For some backstory: State Street installed the statue (with the help of major ad firm McCann New York) as a way of calling attention to the lack of gender diversity on corporate boards. (The firm itself counts three women among its 11-person board of directors.) The 50-inch bronze statue, designed by sculptor Kristen Visbal, became an overnight sensation, with tourists and locals alike making pilgrimages to snap selfies (and, um, worse) there.
Some see it as a symbol of female empowerment and resiliency, while others have critiqued its motives and whether or not it truly is a feminist statement—it as, at its core, a PR stunt for a huge Wall Street firm, after all. (Charging Bull sculptor Arturo Di Modica, who famously dropped his piece on Broadway in the middle of the night in 1987, called it an “advertising trick.”)
Nevertheless, many want “Fearless Girl” to stick around. Public Advocate Letitia James is one backer, calling it a “symbol of feminism and equality.” And women from 13 New York City architecture and urbanism firms (including WXY’s Claire Weisz and Regina Myer of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership) penned a letter to Mayor de Blasio asking him to consider keeping the “Fearless Girl” in place.
There are so few statues of women in New York City (true) that making this one permanent would be a powerful symbol of “equality and strength,” they argue. “This is really about the power of public places to bring a diverse mix of people together for a shared experience,” Lynn Kelly, the executive director of New Yorkers for Park, said in a statement.
The permit issued by the city allows for the statue to remain in place until April 2, and according to the Post, De Blasio may be considering extending its stay. “I understand for a lot of people it’s a fantastically powerful symbol,” he told the Post. “So, we’re going to see what we can do to prolong the presence.”
However, the mayor does have some reservations about making “Fearless Girl” permanent, “because, you know, that has ramifications for the whole city,” as he told the Post. For the next two weeks, though, the statue remains.