Monday, April 25, 2016

The Bronz Bull of Wall Street

Earth Troll amid hundreds of tourists
at the Wall Street Bull.
One of the most famous landmarks in New York City  is the Wall Street Bull, located at Bowling Green Park in Lower Manhattan. 16 feet long from nose to tail and weighing 7,000 pounds, the sculpture is a popular tourist destination which draws thousands of people every day.

On the night of December 15, 1989 the bull was loaded on a truck with a crane and driven to the New York Stock Exchange by the artist, Arturo Di Modica and a few friends. It arrived unnoticed and unannounced under the NYSE Christmas tree. By morning it was the headline story in all of the New York newspapers. Nobody knew who was responsible or how the bull got there. The mystery only added to the press the bronze sculpture received. The next day though, Modica was discovered to be the artist responsible as he stood by his art handing out flyers about it.

The New York Stock Exchange Officials were not happy with the present and demanded the city remove it. When the city didn't remove the bull that same day, at 5:00PM, the NYSE paid a private contractor to remove it and put it in storage. The next day's edition of the NY Post published with a headlined that said “BAH HUMBUG .. N.Y. Stock Exchange grinches can’t bear Christmas-gift bull” with a large front-page photo of the Bull being removed. There arose such an outcry from the public that the city agreed to place the bull in Bowling Green Park, a few blocks from the NYSE. The NYSE however, ever on the lookout for any way to make or save money, demanded they be repaid every penny of their costs for removing and storing the statue before they would release it.

Modica had spent $360,000 of his own money and many hours of his time to give the citizens of New York City a free gift. On December 20, 1989, just 5 days after the brouhaha started, the gift was finally placed at its new home and has since become a World-wide icon symbolizing Wall Street and the Financial District.

Monday, April 11, 2016

In Ft. Smith, Arkansas at Miss Laura's

In the early 1900's, Fort Smith, Arkansas was a wide open raucous border town located next to the still untamed Oklahoma territory. Outlaws with loot from robberies and holdups like the James Gang, the Dalton Gang, the Younger Gang, Belle Starr and Cherokee Bill all came and stayed a while. Cowboys with a month's pay, rowdy's looking to blow off steam, soldiers from the fort, outcast characters and a few God-fearing pioneers passed through or settled down in the town. Each had their own reason for being there, seeking their own adventure, seeking their own pleasure. Fort Smith was eager to accommodate all requests.

The River Front Hotel was opened to accommodate the rowdy men in 1903. It soon became known as Miss Laura's Social Club (the owner was Miss Laura Zeiglar) and it proved to be a great success. After being sold for a tidy profit by Miss Laura in 1911, the new owner did not keep up the maintenance and the building was eventually abandoned in 1948. It was scheduled for demolition in 1963 when Donald Reynolds purchased the historic building and began restoration.

Today it houses the Ft. Smith Visitor Center and is registered on the National Register of Historic Places.

(Please click here for full write-up on Miss Laura's on our sister site)