Our 6/30/07 journey of lower Manhattan took us to the narrow stretch called Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange. Wall Street is located a couple of blocks southeast from the Church Street side Ground Zero.
The NYSE was founded in 1792 and is America’s most sacred hall of money-making. About 3000 companies are listed on the exchange, trading nearly 314 billion shares valued at about $16 trillion.
Before September 11, 2001, one of the few free attractions in the city was a visit to the Stock Exchange. Free tickets were distributed on Wall Street and if you got there before the 9:15 opening, you could witness the opening of trading that day from a glass-lined, mezzanine level observation gallery. The visit included a tour of an interactive museum and NYSE logo gift shop.
The NYSE is no longer open for public tours (except for special educational tour groups). Most visitors to Wall Street take a break on the steps of Federal Hall (pictured below) opposite the Stock Exchange.
Federal Hall National Memorial, 26 Wall St (www.nps.gov/feha) was built in 1842. The memorial, with the 1883-built statue of George Washington on the steps, was erected on the site of New York's first City Hall. This site is where George Washington took the oath of office as our first President, and was the home to the first Congress, Supreme Court, and Executive Branch offices. The current building, a Customs House, later served as part of the US Sub-Treasury. The building now serves as a museum and memorial to our first President and the beginnings of the United States of America.
The infrastructure of the memorial suffered from the massive shock of the nearby attack on the World Trade Center; as a result, the memorial was undergoing a $16-million rehabilitation.
Visit www.lowermanhattan.info and www.downtownny.com for information about the area.