Wall Street owes its name to the compound that protected Manhattan from the Algonquin Indians. Today it is the center of business and finance. No crossroads have been more important in the history of the city than Wall and Broad Streets. There are three important sites: the Federal Hall monument, Trinity Church and the New York Stock Exchange founded in 1817. The surrounding buildings form the very heart of New York’s financial district.
At No. 26, on the corner of Nassau Street, stands the Federal Hall. On the steps, a statue of George Washington recalls the place where he took his oath of office in 1789. Thousands of New Yorkers had come that day to cheer the Chancellor of the State of New York when he declared: “Long live George Washington, President of the United States! ».
The present building, built between 1834 and 1842 to house the Customs House, is one of the most beautiful classical style buildings in New York. Among the exhibition halls are the Bill of Rights Room and the room where an interactive presentation explains how the Constitution works.
At the end of Wall Street at the corner of Broadway, Trinity Church is the third Anglican church to be built on the site of one of the oldest parishes in America, founded in 1697. Designed in 1846 by Richard Upjohn, it was one of the most imposing churches of its time. Restoration has brought the pink sandstone of its walls, long covered with grime, back to life. Its 85-metre bell tower, which remained the tallest building in New York until the 1860s, is still very imposing despite the presence of nearby skyscrapers.
In 1790, securities were traded – in an anarchic manner – around Wall Street. In 1792, 24 brokers who traded under a sycamore tree at 68 Wall Street (and the tree is still there) agreed to exchange their securities only among themselves. This agreement marked the birth of the New York Stock Exchange. This club is very closed: in 1817, a “seat” was worth $25; today, it can cost up to a million dollars, provided it passes a rigorous test of respectability.
Visitors can watch the frenetic activity from the top of a gallery. Entrance is at 20 Broad Street, where you will be given a ticket. Open Monday to Friday, from 9.15 am, in summer however, it is best to get there before 12 noon (walls even 11 am) to make sure you get a ticket. You should then queue in front of 20 Broad Street at the time indicated on the ticket, where you are taken to the lift in groups of twenty. On the 3rd floor, after the projection of a film (about 10 min) explaining the mechanisms of the Stock Exchange, one can finally enter this temple of capitalism where tourists are even advised to buy shares!
Bowling Green Bull
Placed beforehand in front of the New York Stock Exchange, a huge bronze bull (1989, Arturo di Modica) marks the entrance to the Financial District at the north end of Bowling Green (cf. Battery Park). Bulls and bears represent the two trends in the stock market: up and down.
Charging Bull : The bull
It is 3.4 meters high and 4.9 meters long. The huge sculpture depicts a bull, a symbol of aggressive economic optimism and prosperity, leaning on its hindquarters with its head down, as if it were ready to charge. It is also a symbol of Wall Street and the financial district. Di Modica spent approximately $360,000 to create, cast and install the sculpture after the 1987 crash as a symbol of the “resilience and strength of the American people.” The sculpture was the artist’s idea, not the city’s.
The Chase Manhattan Bank
This complex of buildings marked a major turning point in the development of Lower Manhattan. The bank’s president, David Rockefeller, built the first modern office tower with a large public space. The Chase Manhattan Bank, which has a fabulous art collection, installed a sculpture by Dubuffet, Group of Four Trees, created in 1972, on its forecourt.
The Federal Reserve Bank
It was created in 1913 by President Wilson to centralize the American banking system. This immense triangular fortress of bluish limestone and sandstone contains, 22 m underground, the gold reserves of 80 countries, a quarter of the world’s gold stock. It is possible, by appointment, to visit the vaults and one could formerly witness the destruction of old banknotes.
Wall St, New York, NY, États-Unis