Ladies in suits with a coffee in hand walking quickly, elegant employees talking on the phone and trying to avoid tourists to get to their office as quickly as possible ... we are on Wall Street, in the southern part of the island of Manhattan, in the probably the most famous financial district in the world. Here we find the New York Stock Exchange, the Federal Reserve and obviously the street that gives its name to the entire neighborhood and the stock market itself: Wall Street.
- But why is it called Wall Street?
- How to get to Wall Street
- What to see in the Wall Street financial district
- Map of attractions
- Itinerary: the 10 things to see
- Wall Street Tour: An Insider Experience!
But why is it called Wall Street?
The name dates back to the wall, in English, built in the seventeenth century to protect New Amsterdam, this was the name of New York when it was Dutch territory, from the attacks of the New England colonies and from the Indian tribes. The wall was demolished at the end of the seventeenth century by the British and the area became the site of meetings, exchanges and speculative activities.
The Buttonwood Agreement of 1792, in which 24 merchants undertook not to buy securities at a commission of less than a certain threshold and to give preference to transactions between them, is considered the document that officially sanctions the beginning of the foundation of the New York Stock Exchange, the New York Stock Exchange. Buttonwood means plane tree: at 68 Wall Street there was a plane tree and it was right under the plane tree that traders met to do business.
How to get to Wall Street
You can reach the financial district by subway by getting off at Wall Street Station (lines 2 and 3) or to the Wall Street stop (lines 4 and 5). Either way you will be in the heart of the financial district. For more information, take a look at our guide on how to use the subway in New York.
What to see in the Wall Street financial district
Map of attractions
Itinerary: the 10 things to see
La New York Stock Exchange, New York Stock Exchange NYSE, is located at 11 Wall Street. Looking at it, the building looks almost like a temple with its six solid Corinthian columns and a triangular tympanum. Inside the tympanum we find various statues and the one representing Integrity stands out in the center: the arms open to the right and to the left are turned to the other statues representing the activities of man, including Industry, Agriculture and the 'Creative Intelligence.
Opposite the Stock Exchange, at 26 Wall Street is the Federal Hall. Welcoming you will find the statue of George Washington, the first president of the United States. It was in this very place that in 1789 George Washington swore to become president and the beautiful bronze statue celebrates this event. Admission to the historic building, which with its columnar architecture with triangular tympanum recalls the Parthenon, is free.
La Federal Reserve Bank of New York is located at 33 Liberty Street. This is one of the 12 federal banks in the United States and is in charge of overseeing banking institutions in order to maintain financial stability and to establish monetary liquidity whether or not injecting into the system cash. Gold bars from the New York Fed vault have been featured in several films, including Die Hard with Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis and Jeremy Irons.
Also on Liberty Street at number 55 we find the skyscraper Liberty Tower, built in the early twentieth century in neo-Gothic style with terracotta elements depicting alligators and birds. In 1910 it was the tallest building in the world with such a small base.
Surrounded by austere skyscrapers, at 75 Broadway we find the splendid Trinity Church. In the past, its bell tower welcomed sailors arriving at New York Harbor. After the fire of 1776 during the American Revolution, the church was rebuilt in a neo-Gothic style thanks to the architect Upjohn. I recommend that you go in if it is open. The historical importance of the church is also testified by some illustrious characters buried in its cemetery: the founding fathers of the United States, the first secretary of the treasury Alexander Hamilton and the inventor of the steamboat Robert Fulton.
Continuing south along Broadway you will find the symbol of the financial district: the Wall Street Bull. A selfie is a must, although there will likely be many people around this bronze statue weighing more than 3 tons. The artist is Spanish, Arturo Di Modica. The bull represents the strength, stability and hope for the future of Americans. It was placed without authorization in December 1989 and was never removed.
In the first months of 2017, the placement in front of the Bull of the Fearless little girl, a small bronze statue of a girl who fearlessly faces the large animal representing the battles of women, has created a bitter controversy because, according to the Spanish author, her Bull thus becomes a negative symbol.
little distant, 26 on Broadway, we find another particular skyscraper: lo Standard Oil Building. On top of the building is an oil lamp, a symbol of what was once the headquarters of the Standard Oil Trust. Alexander Hamilton also lived in this building with his wife.
If you get hungry and want to eat in one of New York's historic spots, 54/56 Pearl Street is there Fraunces tavern, now a restaurant and museum, where George Washington made his famous farewell speech to his military in 1783.
In Lower Manhattan, a short distance from the Wall Street financial district, we find the Ground Zero complex with the World Trade Center memorials (9/11 Memorial) and the 9/11 Museum. There Freedom tower, built between 2006 and 2013, is 1776 feet high (the number representing the year of the declaration of independence of the United States) and is now one of the most visited skyscrapers in New York.
In the south-western tip of the island of Manhattan we find the bel Battery Park, a park from which you can enjoy a splendid view and from where there is the departure of ferries to visit Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.In-depth study of all these and many others neighborhood attractions we talked in our article about what to see in Lower Manhattan: read it to get a clearer idea.
Wall Street Tour: An Insider Experience!
There is an interesting alternative to "do it yourself" to visit Wall Street; it is the New York City Wall Street Insider Tour, a sort of "behind the scenes" experience, conceived by a former vice president of one of the banks on Wall Street with the intention of giving a real insider's vision. The tour is very popular and sells out quickly, so if you are interested I recommend that you book well in advance.
Wall Street Insider Tour