Caving to mounting pressure from locals, tourists and community officials, this morning the NYPD removed most of the barricades surrounding the bronze statue in Lower Manhattan that has come to be known as the “Wall Street Bull.” Crowds wasted no time mobbing the sculpture that was first illegally installed by artist Arturo DiModica in 1989 on Broad Street and after briefly getting impounded, later moved by the city to its current resting place just north of Bowling Green Park. Update below!

There were reports that it would be officially emancipated at noon, but some wondered if the deadline would be delayed in lieu of Occupy Wall Street’s jubilant celebrations on New Year’s Eve several blocks away in Liberty Plaza.

You can keep watch on “Charging Bull” here and see just how long its freedom lasts.

UPDATE: That was fast! Although the NYPD is still letting people take photos in front of the bull, they have placed most of the barriers back in place and have severely restricted access to it.