Barricades Around Wall Street Bull Endanger Pedestrians, Residents Say
FINANCIAL DISTRICT — It's time to set the Wall Street bull free, residents said this week.
Nearly nine months after the NYPD first surrounded the iconic Bowling Green sculpture with metal barricades to protect it from Occupy Wall Street protesters, Downtown residents and workers say the situation has grown dangerous, with tourists photographing the bull forced to stand in the street.
Crowds of visitors often line up in the middle of Broadway, amid whizzing traffic, for a chance to get a photo of the "Charging Bull" statue — and it's only a matter of time before someone gets seriously hurt, worried residents said Wednesday.
"The police have created a dangerous situation," said Arthur Piccolo, chairman of the Bowling Green Association. "We're going to have a tragedy here. It's a chaotic, unreasonable situation."
In response to the concerns, Community Board 1's Financial District Committee unanimously passed a resolution Wednesday night asking the NYPD to remove the metal barricades and replace them with "less intrusive" security measures.
"We're concerned about pedestrian safety, because the barricades push people out into the street," said Ro Sheffe, the committee's chairman. "We're asking that the security measures be mitigated."
The NYPD did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.
Police installed the barricades Sept. 17, the first day Occupy Wall Street arrived in Lower Manhattan. While other police barriers around Zuccotti Park and on Wall Street have since been removed, the security around the bull has remained.
Protesters have targeted the bull in the past as a symbol of Wall Street financial firms, and in November two clowns and a matador working with activist group The Yes Men scaled the barricades to spank the bull.
Unrelated to the barricades, the city Department of Transportation plans to widen sidewalks around the Wall Street bull to help keep pedestrians safe, but the agency has not yet set a timeline for the work.
Yamandou Alexander, who works for Go Green Ride nearby at 17 State St., said now that the protesters are gone, the barricades need to come down.
"They have to get over it," Alexander said of the police. "It's finished, now let's move on and get it back to the way it was before."