Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Bowling Green Park and The Wall Street Bull

l Bowling Green Park is a small public park in Lower Manhattan located at the foot of Broadway. It is New York City's oldest park, with a history dating back to 1686. In 1773 this land was leased for use as a "bowling green," for the game of lawn bowling, which was a fashionable English game similar to the Italian game of bocce.

The park now contains a pretty fountain surrounded by park benches. It is a popular spot for workers of the surrounding office buildings to sit during lunch hour.

The wrought iron fence surrounding the small park is the original, and if you click to enlarge the photo above you can read that it was erected in 1771.

This plaque states that the park was established in 1733 for the "Beauty and Ornament of the Said Street as well as for the Recreation & Delight of the Inhabitants of this City"

This little park also has a symbolic role in our young country's history. In 1770, the British government erected a gilded lead equestrian statue of King George III in the center of Bowling Green. When relations between the British government and the colonists deteriorated, the fence was constructed to protect the statue from vandalism. On July 9, 1776, after the Declaration of Independence was read to Washington's troops at the site of what is now City Hall, patriots rushed down Broadway to Bowling Green, and toppled the statue. Cast-iron crowns that topped sections of the surrounding fence were also knocked off. Both the crowns and the statue were hacked up and then sent to a foundry to be made into musket balls for the patriots to use in the upcoming American Revolutionary War.

It is amazing to think that this fence has been here since 1771! I'm sure many New Yorkers pass it every day without realizing that fact. In the photo above, and below, you can see the thicker portions of the fence whose tops once held the cast iron crown decoration that was destroyed at the same time as the statue of the king.



Inside the park, in the southern corner, was an interesting plaque commemorating the name of first Italian settler, Peter Caesar Alberti, who arrived in New York on June 2, 1635.

The park is also a favorite sighting place for Peregrine Falcons, and if you click on to enlarge the photo above you can read this informative plaque, that is located on the fence, describing the falcons return to New York City.

Outside Bowling Green Park, on it's northern boundary, is a flag pole, and its location is also historical!

If you click on to enlarge the photo above you can read that on November 25, 1783, General George Washington was returning to New York after the British evacuation, following their defeat in the American Revolutionary War. Before they left, however, in a last act of defiance, the British hung a Union Jack flag on a flag pole at this site, cut the flag's lanyard, and greased the pole so that the flag would remain, and Washington would see the British colors still flying over the city. A young sailor named John van Arsdale was able to climb the pole, however, and replace the flag with a stars and stripes. The plaque goes on to say that in the 200 years hence, the British have become our strongest friends and allies.

To the north of the flag pole, and in the very end of the area in front of Bowling Green Park triangle, is sculptor Arturo Di Modica's "Charging Bull" also know as the "Wall Street Bull." It was originally placed in front of the New York Stock Exchange, without permission, as a "Christmas gift to the people of New York," by the artist on December 15, 1989. The police seized the sculpture and placed it into an impound lot, but an ensuing public outcry led the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation to install it two blocks south of the Exchange, in the plaza at Bowling Green. It is a very popular tourist attraction and people line up to be able to have their photo taken as they stand next to, on top of, or behind the bull. The artist still owns the statue, and it is for sale, but for now it is on loan to the city, much to the amusement and enjoyment of all who see it!
I am adding this post to Susan of A Southern Daydreamer blog's 'Outdoor Wednesday" event. Please visit Susan's blog today to see links to other blogs participating with wonderful outdoor themed blog posts. Thank you Susan for hosting this delightful event!

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49 comments:

Diane@A Picture is Worth.... said...

NYC has some pretty parks! Thanks for all the background info on this one...don't know if we passed it or not.

I am sure we didn't see the bull-although I wanted to. My tired body can only do so much. LOL

Have a great day!
:) Diane

The Quintessential Magpie said...

What a neat post, Pat. Another informative and entertaining look at NYC! Thanks so much. Beautiful park and funny story about the bull appearing on the sidewalk and then being impounded. LOL!

XO,

Sheila :-)

RNSANE said...

Such a lovely NY visit you always give us. This was very informative and so interesting - a pretty park with quite a bit of signifignance in US history.

Jeanne Selep said...

I enjoyed your blog, once again.

Claudia@DipityRoad said...

NYC is one of my most favorite spots on the planet.

Thanks sooo much for sharing the history of Bowling Green... i had no idea.

YOu are right -- i bet 95% of the people who walk past that fence daily dont have an idea about its history.

If you have a moment — I would love you to stop by and say hi!

TTFN~~ Claudia ♥ ♥

Regina said...

Beautiful outdoor. Thanks for sharing.

Really Rainey said...

Beautiful and historic park indeed! I love reading about it and listening to the beautiful music in the background... Thanks for showing me some more NYC!
Happy ODW
~Really Rainey~

Marilyn said...

What a lovely history trip... Thank You, I enjoyed it!!
Have a great day!
Hugs,
Marilyn

Riet said...

It is so wonderful, your pictures and stories to go with them. You are teaching and showing us such beautiful places of New York.
Thank you for sharing your great photo's.
Have a nice day

Pat@Back Porch Musings said...

Great ODW photos, Pat and I love that you give the history!

mbkatc230 said...

Beautiful photos. What a wonderful spot. I love the history behind it, thanks for the tour. And the bull story cracks me up. Cattle getting loose and "impounded" is a fairly common occurrence here. But I bet it took alot of people to impound that bull - I can't imagine what he weighs! The thought of NYPD members being cowboys for a day just makes me smile. Happy Outdoor Wednesday! Kathy

Hootin' Anni said...

I ♥ NY!!

Bull Market and the Bear Market...



Mine today is the Annual Jazz Festival in town. Come by if you can. CLICK HERE

Have a glorious Wednesday.

Gracie said...

A plaque for the first italian to settle there? What a honour!
Thanks Pat, as always.

Gabriela said...

Hello,

Ohhhhhhh, New York...want to go back...all this familiar photos...love it!



~ Gabriela ~

Melanie said...

Hia Pat thanks again for a fabulous tour. I have similar thoughts when I see the stubs of iron fencing on the top of front garden walls here in the UK. Much of it was taken away to melt down for the war effort. I wonder if any of the crowns survived or if they all got melted down?

Oh my the bull statue is gorgeous- capturing it's spirit so well.

KarenHarveyCox said...

Oh Pat, I spent many lunch hours in this park with friends when I worked down on Wall Street in the 70's. I used to love sitting there and watching the Ferry. I have been to New York each year, but I always visit mid town, I haven't been back downtown in years. Your photographs and history are wonderful.

Karen

Rebekah@Red's Nest said...

I love the history of it and those geraniums are beautiful. Great pictures and idea for outdoor Wednesday. Thank you so much for sharing - I really enjoyed it.

Rebekah

Red Writing said...

I love it! Oh, I am so glad I found your blog!!!!

Mary said...

I love the history of the park. Your photos are wonderful and allowed us to tour the highlights of the park. Thanks for that. Have a great week and enjoy Outdoor Wednesday.

Jenny said...

Well wow! OK, I say we're going to have to nominate you to give us a two week walking tour of New York. I'm gonna start training now for it by going to the kitchen to get another cup of coffee! Great pictures, cool history, you rock!

Karen said...

Another great park. I am amazed at how many and the variety of parks there are in NYC.

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

Beautiful park...and so intersting to imagine that it has all been there for over two-hundred years. In comparison we have nothing old in our area. In our proper British city of Victoria...I have watched lawn bowling in a designated park.

Another interesting post!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Thank you everyone for your comments -- I appreciate them very much!

I don't think any of the crowns from the fence survive but the had of the statue of King George III supposedly does as it was saved by Loyalists and sent to England. Some other pieces of the statue are in the New York Historical Society.

Lori E said...

Oh Pat this was a great post. I do genealogy research so historically I found it very interesting. Plus the photos are beautiful.
I have heard of Bowling Green before but had no idea what it was.
By the way the Writer's Challenge is the perfect place for you to hone your writing skills, although from reading this post I can tell you do just fine.
There is no right or wrong, no corrections. Just join in and have fun.
Please join us. You can link up on my blog on November 13th.-15th. I would love to read about your favorite movie.

Mary @ Framed and Tagged said...

I can just imagine spending my lunch hour in that lovely park....I sure wouldn't want to go back to work thats for sure!

Happy OW!!

Joyce said...

Have you ever thought of starting your own walking tour company? Seriously I look forward to your tours and am learning things I had no idea about. Thanks for sharing.
Joyce

Thoughtfully blended hearts said...

I never knew very much about NCY until reading your blog and now I see many beautiful places your have shared. Thanks for the tour of this beautiful park.

Kathleen said...

I have passed that fence, never knew how old it was. They sure don't make things like they used to! :)
Great tour..Hope that Bull runs again soon...
Thanks for the wonderful tour!

Ms. Bake-it said...

Great pictures! What a pretty park. I love all the historical information you included in your post!

Thank you for sharing all this with us.

~ Tracy

steviewren said...

There are more parks in NYC than I ever imagined. It's interesting that the creator of the bull left it in front of the stock exchange as a gift to the city. There is so much to explore there.

LV said...

I really enjoyed my tour of New York. The park is my favorite. So very pretty. Thanks for visiting today and leaving a nice comment.

SmilingSally said...

How interesting, Pat! I sure would want a photo of me with those bulls.

Sue said...

Hi Pat....have you ever thought about working for the NY Chamber of Commerce....You are their best spokeswomen!! Always love your little city tours......Sue.

Rhonda Hartis Smith said...

What a lovely park and I especially like the name since I live in Bowling Green Kentucky! Another great "tour".

Claudia said...

I have been through that park so many times - I read plaques and somehow missed so much of this - especially the first Italian settler! I will be visiting my NYC family this summer - and there's never enough tkime to see people (my closest friends are of course there also) but I will have to go through your site again and tour NYC as a tourist!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Another interesting post with lots of stuff I didn't know - even though I walked by that park many times. Thanks Pat.

Ebie said...

Hi Pat, I have vague memories of this place, its been a long time. I remember this is a train stop, because I used to work at the battery place for a shipping company ages ago. And I remember there was Alexander Department store. I hope to revisit NYC in the future.

This brings back memories!

Sara said...

Thank you for another wonderful tour of New York City. I like this little park, and there is so much history around there - wow!

One of my former bosses was quite interested in those peregrine falcons when they were first seen many years ago nesting on that building. I recall an article about them that she had me copy and send to some people she knew. Interestingly, she later moved to New York City where she headed up the college system for quite a while, nearly 20 years ago. Small world!

Camille said...

The rearend photo of the bull is fun:) Thanks for the pics of the park. I had not idea and I love little historical tidbits like that.

(I posted the recipe:D

Cheers,
Camille

Karen at Nittany Inspirations said...

Thanks for the tour of Bowling Green Park. I did a post about Peregrin Falcons back in May.

Tracy said...

haha... that back-end of the bull is making me laugh...that was a surprising sight! But I learned so much from this post... And I love that big ring of flowers surrounding the fountain... There is just so many lovely spots in NYC! Happy Day, Pat :o) ((HUGS))

Rachael said...

Pat, you are so fortunate to have so many neat!! places to visit in NYC! I had no idea about Bowling Green Park, it's beautiful.

I wish I had more time to explore Washington D.C. like that...I am always so busy with my boys and their sports! Oh well, I have to enjoy it when I can :-)

Junie Moon said...

I thoroughly enjoy reading all your stories about NY, such an amazing place. Isn't it awesome to see that fence still in place despite the musket materials alteration so many years ago? History is fascinating and such stories makes us realize our country, while young in comparison to other, has many lessons to offer us.

Oliag said...

Great post!...That's some bull!

Lorrie said...

Hi Pat, I really enyoyed this post. A year ago last March my husband Len and I visited Bowling Green Park and the Wall Street Bull with my daughter and her boyfriend (now her husband). I didn't know all of the historical details, so this was very intersting for me to read. We have some photos with the bull too. I didn't realize he just appeared there suddenly. I was surprised at the number of young people who were taking photos under his tail as opposed to up by his head!

Lorrie said...

Hi Pat, I really enyoyed this post. A year ago last March my husband Len and I visited Bowling Green Park and the Wall Street Bull with my daughter and her boyfriend (now her husband). I didn't know all of the historical details, so this was very intersting for me to read. We have some photos with the bull too. I didn't realize he just appeared there suddenly. I was surprised at the number of young people who were taking photos under his tail as opposed to up by his head!

CatHerder said...

Ok for once it was a place i have been lol..but never new the history...THANKS! :-)

Happy@Home said...

What a pretty park and an interesting post. It's hard to believe that I have never been to New York as it seems like a place every American should visit. One of these days I will get there.

Willow said...

Pat, your posts never fail to amaze me! A Wall Street Bull, a Revolutionary War flagpole. I love to read your entries and learn more about our amazing history.