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Will NYC invite the ‘Fearless Girl’ to remain on Wall Street?

VERENA DOBNIK
The Associated Press

NEW YORK — Should the “Fearless Girl” stand up to Wall Street’s charging bull forever?

That’s the question New York City officials are facing after a statue of a ponytailed girl in a windblown dress went up in front of the bronze bull early this month and immediately became a tourist draw and internet sensation.

What was intended as a temporary display to encourage corporations to put more women on their boards is now getting a second look in light of its popularity, which has spawned an online petition seeking to keep it.

But does keeping the girl past her scheduled April 2 deadline forever alter the meaning of the bull? After all, the 11-foot-tall, 7,100-pound bull has been hugely popular in its own right. It was placed in a lower Manhattan traffic median in the wake of the 1987 stock-market crash as a symbol of American financial resilience and can-do spirit.

Some fans of the bronze girl already see the bull much differently.

“The bull represents men and power,” says Cristina Pogorevici, 18, a student from Bucharest, Romania, who visited the statues this past week. “So she is a message of women’s power and things that are changing in the world right now.”

Holli Sargeant, 20, a visitor from Queensland, Australia, says the 4-foot-tall, 250-pound bronze girl “is standing up against something, and we see her as powerful image. She represents all the young women in the world that want to make a difference.”

Such shifting perceptions of the bull — from American hero to villain of sorts — outrage bull sculptor Arturo De Modica, who wants the girl gone.

He dismissed Kristen Visbal’s statue as nothing more than an “an advertising trick,” noting the bronze was a marketing effort on the eve of the March 8 International Women’s Day by Boston-based State Street Global Advisors and its New York advertising firm, McCann.