The “Fearless Girl” is famous for holding her ground — but she may not be facing down the New York Stock Exchange for much longer.
The popular, plucky statue — which has held its current perch on Broad Street in lower Manhattan since 2018 after an earlier stint opposite the “Charging Bull” a few blocks away — may soon be forced to move again as the landmark’s permit is set to expire next month, On The Money has learned.
While Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to keep the statue in place beyond the November expiration date, people close to the mayor’s office told The Post the legal basis looks shaky.
That’s because State Street — the financial behemoth that commissioned the statue — only received a three-year permit from The Landmark Preservation Commission (LPC) when it moved “Fearless Girl” from Bowling Green park opposite “Charging Bull” three years ago.
State Street is actively seeking an extension from LPC. In a Power Point reviewed by The Post, the company said, “We are asking for your approval to keep this statue here for as long as possible so we do not need to obtain an extension each year.”
But according to sources, it is the Public Design Commission, not the LPC, that has the authority to provide that approval. The downtown community board has likewise ruled that LPC cannot extend the permit.
Meanwhile, despite the statue’s popularity — nearly 40,000 people signed a Change.org petition seeking to keep the statue permanent — it’s roiling some in the art community who see it merely as the tool of a corporate campaign.
“The idea of a corporation putting down a permanent monument with no approval process is horrifying for people who care about public art,” Todd Fine, president of Washington Street Advocacy Group, told The Post.
“State Street is trying to erect landmarks but they’re subverting the city agency, PDC, that has jurisdiction,” Fine added. “LPC can’t extend the permit and there’s not even a hearing scheduled yet anyway.”
State Street recently made headlines because it’s packing up and leaving town. The Boston-based firm told workers in August they won’t be returning to their offices at Rockefeller Center. Instead, its 500 Big Apple employees are being invited to either work from home or commute to State Street’s offices in New Jersey or Stamford, Conn.
In a statement to The Post, a rep for State Street said, “We installed the Fearless Girl statue on Wall Street on the eve of International Women’s Day 2017, and she has boldly reminded us of the importance of gender diversity in leadership ever since. We will continue to work diligently with the City of New York to extend her permit beyond November 2021.”
Nevertheless, State Street itself was sued for underpaying female staff. State Street denied the allegations but paid back close to $5 million to female workers as part of a 2017 settlement.
It’s also embroiled in a legal battle with the artist who created the statue, Kristen Visbal. State Street in 2019 slapped Visbal with a lawsuit for selling a version of “Fearless Girl” to a hotel in Oslo, Norway claiming the sale was trademark infringement. Both State Street and Visbal argue they have rights to the statue.
“This company, who wholly represented themselves as being pro-diverse, has
blocked and manipulated the very artist who created the work — a woman!” Visbal
said in a video she posted online.
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