Wall Street refers to the financial district
of New York City
, named after and centered on the eight-block-long street running from Broadway
to South Street
on the East River
in Lower Manhattan
. Over time, the term has become a metonym for the financial markets of the United States
as a whole, or signifying New York-based financial interests. It is the home of the New York Stock Exchange
, the world's largest stock exchange by market capitalization of its listed companies.
I loved it at 40, it's an insult at 50. They're analysts, they don't know preferred stock from livestock, alright? When it hits south, we raise the sperm count on the deal.
Hope you're Intelligent.
This is the kid. Calls me 59 days in a row, wants to be a player. Oughta be a picture of you in the dictionary under 'Persistence', kid.
Now, listen, Jerry, I'm looking for negative control. Okay? No more than 30, 35 percent. Just enough to block anybody else's merger plans and find out from the inside if the books are cooked. If it looks as good as on paper, we're in the kill zone, pal. Lock and load.
Lunch? Aw, You gotta be kidding. Lunch is for wimps.
What else you got besides connections at the airport?
What the hell is Cromwell doin' givin' a lecture tour when he's losing 60 million a quarter? Guess he's giving lectures on how to lose money. Jesus Christ...if this guy owned a funeral parlor, no one would die! This turkey is totally brain-dead! OK, alright, Christmas is over, and business is business. Keep on buying, dilute the son of a bitch! Ollie, I want every orifice in his fucking body flowing red.
It's not bad for a quant, but that's a dog with different fleas.
Come on pal, tell me something I don't know, it's my birthday. Surprise me.
Blow 'em away, Ollie. Rip their fucking throats out. Stuff 'em in your garbage compactor.
Wall Street refers to the financial district
of New York City
, named after and centered on the eight-block-long street running from Broadway
to South Street
on the East River
in Lower Manhattan
. Over time, the term has become a metonym for the financial markets of the United States
as a whole, or signifying New York-based financial interests. It is the home of the New York Stock Exchange
, the world's largest stock exchange by market capitalization of its listed companies. Several other major exchanges have or had headquarters in the Wall Street area, including NASDAQ
, the New York Mercantile Exchange
, the New York Board of Trade
, and the former American Stock Exchange
. Anchored by Wall Street, New York City is one of the world's principal financial center
Early yearsThere are varying accounts about how the Dutch-named "de Waal Straat" got its name. A generally accepted version is that the name of the street name was derived from an earthen wall on the northern boundary of the New Amsterdam
settlement, perhaps to protect against English colonial encroachment or incursions by native Americans. A conflicting explanation is that Wall Street was named after Walloons
-- possibly a Dutch abbreviation for Walloon being Waal. Among the first settlers that embarked on the ship "Nieu Nederlandt" in 1624 were 30 Walloon families.
In the 1640s, basic picket and plank fences denoted plots and residences in the colony. Later, on behalf of the Dutch West India Company
, Peter Stuyvesant
, using both African slaves and white colonists
, collaborated with the city government in the construction of a more substantial fortification
, a strengthened 12 feet (4 m) wall.Timeline: A selected Wall Street chronology PBS Online. Retrieved 2011-08-08. In 1685 surveyors laid out Wall Street along the lines of the original stockade.NYSE Timeline 2006 NYSE Group, Inc. Retrieved August 1, 2006. The wall started at Pearl Street, which was the shoreline at that time, crossing the Indian path Broadway and ending at the other shoreline (today's Trinity Place), where it took a turn south and ran along the shore until it ended at the old fort. In these early days, local merchants and traders would gather at disparate spots to buy and sell shares and bonds, and over time divided themselves into two classes—auctioneers and dealers. The rampart
was removed in 1699.
In the late 18th century, there was a buttonwood
tree at the foot of Wall Street under which traders
and speculators would gather to trade securities. The benefit was being in close proximity to each other. In 1792, traders formalized their association with the Buttonwood Agreement
which was the origin of the New York Stock Exchange
. The idea of the agreement was to make the market more "structured" and "without the manipulative auctions", with a commission structure. Persons signing the agreement agreed to charge each other a standard commission rate; persons not signing could still participate but would be charged a higher commission for dealing.
In 1789, Wall Street was the scene of the United States' first presidential inauguration when George Washington
took the oath of office on the balcony of Federal Hall
on April 30, 1789. This was also the location of the passing of the Bill Of Rights
. In the cemetery of Trinity Church, Alexander Hamilton
, who was the first Treasury secretary and "architect of the early United States financial system," is buried.
Nineteenth centuryIn the first few decades, both residences and businesses occupied the area, but increasingly business predominated. "There are old stories of people's houses being surrounded by the clamor of business and trade and the owners complaining that they can't get anything done," according to a historian named Burrows. The opening of the Erie Canal
in the early 19th century meant a huge boom in business for New York City, since it was the only major eastern seaport which had direct access by inland waterways to ports on the Great Lakes
. Wall Street became the "money capital of America".
Historian Charles R. Geisst suggested that there has constantly been a "tug-of-war" between business interests on Wall Street and authorities in Washington, D.C.
. Generally during the 19th century Wall Street developed its own "unique personality and institutions" with little outside interference.
In the 1840s and 1850s, most residents moved north to midtown because of the increased business use at the lower tip of the island. The Civil War had the effect of causing the northern economy to boom, bringing greater prosperity to cities like New York which "came into its own as the nation's banking center" connecting "Old World capital and New World ambition", according to one account. J. P. Morgan
created giant trusts; John D. Rockefeller
’s Standard Oil
moved to New York. Between 1860 and 1920, the economy changed from "agricultural to industrial to financial" and New York maintained its leadership position despite these changes, according to historian Thomas Kessner. New York was second only to London as the world's financial capital.
In 1884, Charles H. Dow began tracking stocks, initially beginning with 11 stocks, mostly railroads, and looked at average prices for these eleven. When the average "peaks and troughs" went up consistently, he deemed it a bull market condition; if averages dropped, it was a bear market. He added up prices, and divided by the number of stocks to get his Dow Jones average. Dow's numbers were a "convenient benchmark" for analyzing the market and became an accepted way to look at the entire stock market.
In 1889, the original stock report, Customers' Afternoon Letter, became The Wall Street Journal
. Named in reference to the actual street, it became an influential international daily business newspaper published in New York City. After October 7, 1896, it began publishing Dow's expanded list of stocks. A century later, there were 30 stocks in the average.
Twentieth centuryHistorian John Brooks
in his book Once in Golconda considered the turn of the 20th century period to have been Wall Street's heyday. The address of 23 Wall Street where the headquarters of J. P. Morgan & Company
, known as The Corner, was "the precise center, geographical as well as metaphorical, of financial America and even of the financial world."
Wall Street has had changing relationships with government authorities. In 1913, for example, when authorities proposed a $4 tax on stock transfers, stock clerks protested. At other times, city and state officials have taken steps through tax incentives to encourage financial firms to continue to do business in the city.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the corporate culture of New York was a primary center for the construction of skyscraper
s, and was rivaled only by Chicago on the American continent. There were also residential sections, such as the Bowling Green section between Broadway and the Hudson river
, and between Vesey Street and the Battery. The Bowling Green area was described as "Wall Street's back yard" with poor people, high infant mortality
rates, and the "worst housing conditions in the city." As a result of the construction, looking at New York City from the east, one can see two distinct clumps of tall buildings—the financial district on the left, and the taller midtown
district on the right. The geology
of Manhattan is well-suited for tall buildings, with a solid mass of bedrock
underneath Manhattan providing a firm foundation for tall buildings. Skyscrapers are expensive to build, but when there is a "short supply of land" in a "desirable location", then building upwards makes sound financial sense. A post office was built at 60 Wall Street
in 1905. During the World War I
years, occasionally there were fund-raising efforts for projects such as the National Guard.
On September 16, 1920, close to the corner of Wall and Broad Street, the busiest corner of the financial district and across the offices of the Morgan Bank
, a powerful bomb exploded
. It killed 38 and seriously injured 143 people. The perpetrators were never identified or apprehended. The explosion did, however, help fuel the Red Scare
that was underway at the time. A report from the New York Times:
The area was subjected to numerous threats; one bomb threat in 1921 led to detectives sealing off the area to "prevent a repetition of the Wall Street bomb explosion."
RegulationIn October 1929, a celebrated Yale
named Irving Fisher reassured worried investors that their "money was safe" on Wall Street. A few days later, stock values plummeted. The stock market crash of 1929
ushered in the Great Depression
in which a quarter of working people were unemployed, with soup kitchens, mass foreclosures of farms, and falling prices. During this era, development of the financial district stagnated, and Wall Street "paid a heavy price" and "became something of a backwater in American life." During the New Deal
years as well as the forties, there was much less focus on Wall Street and finance. The government clamped down on the practice of buying equities based only on credit, but these policies began to ease. From 1946-1947, stocks could not be purchased "on margin
", meaning that an investor had to pay 100% of a stock's cost without taking on any loans. But this margin requirement was reduced four times before 1960, each time stimulating a mini-rally and boosting volume, and when the Federal Reserve reduced the margin requirements from 90% to 70%. These changes made it somewhat easier for investors to buy stocks on credit. The growing national economy and prosperity led to a recovery during the sixties, with some down years during the early seventies in the aftermath of the Vietnam War
. Trading volumes climbed; in 1967, according to Time Magazine, volume hit 7.5 million shares a day which caused a "traffic jam" of paper with "batteries of clerks" working overtime to "clear transactions and update customer accounts."
In 1973, the financial community posted a collective loss of $245 million, which spurred temporary help from the government. Reforms happened; the SEC eliminated fixed commissions which forced "brokers to compete freely with one another for investors' business." In 1975, the Securities & Exchange Commission threw out the NYSE's "Rule 394" which had required that "most stock transactions take place on the Big Board's floor", in effect freeing up trading for electronic methods. In 1976, banks were allowed to buy and sell stocks, which provided more competition for stockbrokers. Reforms had the effect of lowering prices overall, making it easier for more people to participate in the stock market. Broker commissions for each stock sale lessened, but volume increased.
The Reagan years were marked by a renewed push for capitalism
, with national efforts to de-regulate industries such as telecommunications and aviation
. The economy resumed upward growth after a period in the early eighties of languishing. A report in the New York Times described that the flushness of money and growth during these years had spawned a drug culture of sorts, with a rampant acceptance of cocaine use although the overall percent of actual users was most likely small. A reporter wrote:
In 1987, the stock market plunged and, in the relatively brief recession following, lower Manhattan lost 100,000 jobs according to one estimate. Since telecommunications costs were coming down, banks and brokerage firms could move away from Wall Street to more affordable locations. The recession of 1990–1991 were marked by office vacancy rates downtown which were "persistently high" and with some buildings "standing empty." The day of the drop, October 20, was marked by "stony-faced traders whose sense of humor had abandoned them and in the exhaustion of stock exchange employees struggling to maintain orderly trading." Ironically, it was the same year that Oliver Stone's movie Wall Street appeared. In 1995, city authorities offered the Lower Manhattan Revitalization Plan which offered incentives to convert commercial properties to residential use.
Construction of the World Trade Center
began in 1966 but had trouble attracting tenants when completed. Nonetheless, some substantial firms purchased space there. Its impressive height helped make it a visual landmark for drivers and pedestrians. In some respects, the nexus of the financial district moved from the street of Wall Street to the Trade Center complex. Real estate growth during the latter part of the 1990s was significant, with deals and new projects happening in the financial district and elsewhere in Manhattan; one firm invested more than $24 billion in various projects, many in the Wall Street area. In 1998, the NYSE and the city struck a $900 million deal which kept the NYSE from moving across the river to Jersey City
; the deal was described as the "largest in city history to prevent a corporation from leaving town". A competitor to the NYSE, NASDAQ
, moved its headquarters from Washington to New York.
Twenty-first centuryIn the first year of the new century, the Big Board, as some termed the NYSE, was described as the world's "largest and most prestigious stock market." But when the World Trade Center was destroyed on September 11th
, it left an architectural void as new developments since the 1970s had played off the complex aesthetically. The attacks "crippled" the communications network. One estimate was that 45% of Wall Street's "best office space" had been lost. The physical destruction was immense:
Still, the NYSE was determined to re-open on September 17, almost a week after the attack. The attack hastened a trend towards financial firms moving to midtown and contributed to the loss of business on Wall Street, due to temporary-to-permanent relocation to New Jersey
and further decentralization with establishments transferred to cities like Chicago, Denver
, and Boston.
After September 11, the financial services industry went through a downturn with a sizable drop in year-end bonuses of $6.5 billion, according to one estimate from a state comptroller's office. Many brokers are paid mostly through commission, and get a token annual salary which is dwarfed by the year-end bonus.
To guard against a vehicular bombing in the area, authorities built concrete barriers, and found ways over time to make them more aesthetically appealing by spending $5000 to $8000 apiece on bollards:
Wall Street itself and the Financial District as a whole are crowded with highrises. Further, the loss of the World Trade Center has spurred development on a scale that hadn't been seen in decades. In 2006, Goldman Sachs began building a tower near the former Trade Center site. Tax incentives provided by federal, state and local governments encouraged development. A new World Trade Center complex, centered on Daniel Liebeskind's Memory Foundations
plan, is in the early stages of development and one building has already been replaced. The centerpiece to this plan is the 1776 feet (541 m) tall 1 World Trade Center (formerly known as the Freedom Tower). New residential buildings are sprouting up, and buildings that were previously office space are being converted to residential units, also benefiting from tax incentives. A new Fulton Street Transit Center
is planned to improve access. In 2007, the Maharishi Global Financial Capital of New York
opened headquarters at 70 Broad Street near the NYSE, in an effort to seek investors.
reporter Andrew Clark described the years of 2006 to 2010 as "tumultous" in which the heartland of America is "mired in gloom" with high unemployment around 9.6%, with average house prices falling from $230,000 in 2006 to $183,000, and foreboding increases in the national debt to $13.4 trillion, but that despite the setbacks, the American economy was once more "bouncing back." What had happened during these heady years? Clark wrote:
The first months of 2008 was a particularly troublesome period which caused Federal Reserve
chairman Benjamin Bernanke to "work holidays and weekends" and which did an "extraordinary series of moves." It bolstered U.S. banks and allowed Wall Street firms to borrow "directly from the Fed." These efforts were highly controversial at the time, but from the perspective of 2010, it appeared the Federal exertions had been the right decisions. By 2010, Wall Street firms, in Clark's view, were "getting back to their old selves as engine rooms of wealth, prosperity and excess." A report by Michael Stoler in The New York Sun described a "phoenix-like resurrection" of the area, with residential, commercial, retail and hotels booming in the "third largest business district in the country." At the same time, the investment community was worried about proposed legal reforms, including the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act which dealt with matters such as credit card rates and lending requirements. The NYSE closed two of its trading floors in a move towards transforming itself into an electronic exchange. Beginning in September 2011, demonstrators
disenchanted with the financial system protested in parks and plazas around Wall Street.
Buildings: Physical layout
, though there are also some art deco
influences in the neighborhood. The layout of streets doesn't have the rectangular grid pattern typical of midtown Manhattan, but small streets "barely wide enough for a single lane of traffic are bordered on both sides by some of the tallest buildings in the city", according to one description, which creates "breathtaking artificial canyons" offering spectacular views in some instances. Construction in such narrow steep areas has resulted in occasional accidents such as a crane collapse. One report divided lower Manhattan into three basic districts:
- The financial district proper—particularly along John Street
- South of the World Trade Center area—the handful of blocks south of the World Trade Center along GreenwichGreenwich Street (Manhattan)Greenwich Street is a north-south street in the New York City borough of Manhattan. It extends from the intersection of Ninth Avenue and Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District at its northernmost end to its southern end at Battery Park, interrupted between Vesey and Liberty Streets by the...
, Washington and West Streets
- Seaport district—characterized by century-old low-rise buildings and South Street SeaportSouth Street SeaportThe South Street Seaport is a historic area in the New York City borough of Manhattan, located where Fulton Street meets the East River, and adjacent to the Financial District. The Seaport is a designated historic district, distinct from the neighboring Financial District...
; the seaport is "quiet, residential, and has an old world charm" according to one description.
Landmark buildings on Wall Street include Federal Hall
, 14 Wall Street
(Bankers Trust Company Building), 40 Wall Street
(The Trump Building) the New York Stock Exchange
at the corner of Broad Street
and the US headquarters of Deutsche Bank at 60 Wall Street
. The Deutsche Bank building (formerly the J.P Morgan headquarters) is the last remaining major investment bank to still have its headquarters on Wall Street.
The older skyscrapers often were built with elaborate facades; such elaborate aesthetics haven't been common in corporate architecture for decades. The World Trade Center
, built in the 1970s, was very plain and utilitarian in comparison (the Twin Towers
were often criticized as looking like two big boxes, despite their impressive height). Excavation from the World Trade Center was later used by Battery Park City residential development as landfill. 23 Wall Street
was built in 1914 and was known as the "House of Morgan
" and served for decades as the bank's headquarters and, by some accounts, was viewed as an important address in American finance.
A key anchor for the area is, of course, the New York Stock Exchange. City authorities realize its importance, and believed that it has "outgrown its neoclassical temple at the corner of Wall and Broad streets", and in 1998 offered substantial tax incentives to try to keep it in the financial district. Plans to rebuild it were delayed by the events of 2001. In 2011, the exchange still occupies the same site. The exchange is the locus for an impressive amount of technology and data. For example, to accommodate the three thousand persons who work directly on the Exchange floor requires 3,500 kilowatts of electricity, along with 8,000 phone circuits on the trading floor alone, and 200 miles of fiber-optic cable below ground.
Personalities: players and deal-makersPersons associated with Wall Street have become famous. Although their reputations are usually limited to members of the stock broker
age and banking communities, several have gained national and international fame. Some earned their fame for their investment strategies, financing, reporting, legal or regulatory skills, while others are remembered for their greed. One of the most iconic representations of the market prosperity is the Charging Bull
sculpture, by Arturo Di Modica
. Representing the bull market economy, the sculpture was originally placed in front of the New York Stock Exchange
, and subsequently moved to its current location in Bowling Green
Wall Street's culture is often criticized as being rigid. This is a decades-old stereotype stemming from the Wall Street establishment's protection of its interests, and the link to the WASP
establishment. More recent criticism has centered on structural problems and lack of a desire to change well-established habits. Wall Street's establishment resists government oversight and regulation. At the same time, New York City has a reputation as a very bureaucratic city, which makes entry into the neighborhood difficult or even impossible for middle class entrepreneurs.
, John Briggs, Michael Bloomberg
, and Warren Buffett
(All affiliated at one time or another with the firm Salomon Brothers
), as well as Bernie Madoff, and numerous others.
Many talented financiers and bankers worked for Wasserstein Perella & Co.
during the 1980s.
The now defunct investment bank of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette
had numerous talented people working there including people such as William Donaldson
who served in the Nixon administration, as well as Ken Moelis
, Bennett Goodman, Herald "Hal" Ritch, Joel Cohen, Safra A. Catz
who became president of Oracle Corporation
, Tom Dean, Larry Schloss, Michael Connelly, and others.
Wall Street in the New York economyFinance professor Charles R. Geisst wrote that the exchange has become "inextricably intertwined into New York's economy". Wall Street pay, in terms of salaries and bonuses and taxes, is an important part of the economy of New York City, the tri-state metropolitan area, and the United States
. In 2008, after a downturn in the stock market, the decline meant $18 billion less in taxable income, with less money available for "apartments, furniture, cars, clothing and services". A falloff in Wall Street's economy could have "wrenching effects on the local and regional economies".
Estimates vary about the number and quality of financial jobs in the city. One estimate was that Wall Street firms employed close to 200,000 persons in 2008. Another estimate was that in 2007, the financial services industry which had a $70 billion profit became 22 percent of the city's revenue. Another estimate (in 2006) was that the financial services industry makes up 9% of the city's work force and 31% of the tax base. An additional estimate (2007) from Steve Malanga of the Manhattan Institute
was that the securities industry accounts for 4.7 percent of the jobs in New York City but 20.7 percent of its wages, and he estimated there were 175,000 securities-industries jobs in New York (both Wall Street area and midtown) paying an average of $350,000 annually. Between 1995 and 2005, the sector grew at an annual rate of about 6.6% annually, a respectable rate, but that other financial centers were growing faster. Another estimate (2008) was that Wall Street provided a fourth of all personal income earned in the city, and 10% of New York City's tax revenue.
The seven largest Wall Street firms in the first decade of the 21st century were Bear Stearns
, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup Incorporated, Goldman Sachs
, Morgan Stanley
, Merrill Lynch
and Lehman Brothers
. During the recession of 2008–2010, many of these firms went out of business or were bought up at firesale prices by other financial firms. In 2008, Lehman filed for bankruptcy, Bear Stearns
was bought up by JP Morgan Chase with blessing by the U.S. government, and Merrill Lynch
was bought up by Bank of America
. These failures marked a catastrophic downsizing of Wall Street as the financial industry goes through restructuring and change. Since New York's financial industry provides almost one-fourth of all income produced in the city, and accounts for 10% of the city's tax revenues and 20% of the state's, the downturn has had huge repercussions for government treasuries. New York's mayor Michael Bloomberg
reportedly over a four year period dangled over $100 million in tax incentives to persuade Goldman Sachs to build a 43-story headquarters in the financial district near the destroyed World Trade Center site. In 2009, things looked somewhat gloomy, with one analysis by the Boston Consulting Group
suggesting that 65,000 jobs had been permanently lost because of the downturn. But there were signs that Manhattan property prices were rebounding with price rises of 9% annually in 2010, and bonuses were being paid once more, with average bonuses over $124,000 in 2010. The U.S. banking industry employes 1.86 million people and earned profits of $22 billion in the second quarter of 2010, up substantially from previous quarters.
Wall Street versus Midtown ManhattanA requirement of the New York Stock Exchange was that brokerage firms had to have offices "clustered around Wall Street" so clerks could deliver physical paper copies of stock certificates each week. There were some indications that midtown had been becoming the locus of financial services dealings even by 1911. But as technology progressed, in the middle and later decades of the 20th century, computers and telecommunications replaced paper notifications, meaning that the close proximity requirement could be bypassed in more situations. Many financial firms found that they could move to midtown Manhattan four miles away or elsewhere and still operate effectively. For example, the former investment firm of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette
was described as a Wall Street firm but had its headquarters on Park Avenue in midtown. A report described the migration from Wall Street:
Nevertheless, a key magnet for the Wall Street remains the New York Stock Exchange
. Some "old guard" firms such as Goldman Sachs
and Merrill Lynch
(bought by Bank of America
in 2009), have remained "fiercely loyal to the financial district" location, and new ones such as Deutsche Bank
have chosen office space in the district. So-called "face–to–face" trading between buyers and sellers remains a "cornerstone" of the NYSE, with a benefit of having all of a deal's players close at hand, including investment bankers, lawyers, and accountants.
In 2011, the Manhattan Financial District is one of the largest business districts in the United States, and second in New York City only to Midtown
in terms of dollar volume of business transacted.
Wall Street as a neighborhoodDuring most of the 20th century, Wall Street was a business community with practically only offices which emptied out at night. A report in the New York Times in 1961 described a "deathlike stillness that settles on the district after 5:30 and all day Saturday and Sunday." But there has been a change towards greater residential use of the area, pushed forwards by technological changes and shifting market conditions. The general pattern is for several hundred thousand workers to commute into the area during the day, sometimes by sharing a taxicab
from other parts of the city as well as from New Jersey
and Long Island
, and then leave at night. In 1970, only 833 people lived "south of Chambers Street"; by 1990; 13,782 people were residents with the addition of areas such as Battery Park City and Southbridge Towers
. Battery Park City was built on 92 acres of landfill, and 3,000 people moved there beginning about 1982, but by 1986 there was evidence of more shops and stores and a park, along with plans for more residential development.
According to one description in 1996, "The area dies at night ... It needs a neighborhood, a community." During the past two decades there has been a shift towards greater residential living areas in the Wall Street area, with incentives from city authorities in some instances. Many empty office buildings have been converted to lofts and apartments; for example, the office building of Harry Sinclair
, the oil magnate involved with the Teapot Dome scandal
, was converted to a co-op in 1979. In 1996, a fifth of buildings and warehouses were empty, and many were converted to living areas. Some conversions met with problems, such as aging gargoyles on building exteriors having to be expensively restored to meet with current building codes. Residents in the area have sought to have a supermarket, a movie theater, a pharmacy, more schools, and a "good diner". The discount retailer named Job Lot used to be located at the World Trade Center but moved to Church Street; merchants bought extra unsold items at steep prices and sold them as a discount to consumers and shoppers included "thrifty homemakers and browsing retirees" who "rubbed elbows with City Hall workers and Wall Street executives"; but the firm went bust in 1993. There were reports that the number of residents increased by 60% during the 1990s to about 25,000 although a second estimate (based on the 2000 census based on a different map) places the residential (nighttime and weekend) population in 2000 at 12,042. By 2001, there were several grocery stores, dry cleaners, and two grade schools and a top high school. There is a barber shop
across from the New York Stock Exchange which has been there a long time. By 2001, there were more signs of dogwalkers at night and a 24-hour neighborhood, although the general pattern of crowds during the working hours and emptiness at night was still apparent. There were ten hotels and thirteen museums by 2001. Stuyvesant High School
moved to its present location near Battery Park City in 1992 and has been described as one of the nation's premier high schools with emphasis on science
. In 2007, the French fashion retailer Hermès
opened a store in the financial district to sell items such as a "$4,700 custom-made leather dressage saddle or a $47,000 limited edition alligator briefcase." Some streets have been designated as pedestrian–only with vehicular traffic prohibited at some times. There are reports of panhandlers like elsewhere in the city. By 2010, the residential population had increased to 24,400 residents with crime statistics showing no murders in 2010. The area is growing with luxury high-end apartments and upscale retailers.
Wall Street as a tourist destinationWall Street is a major location of tourism in New York City
. One report described lower Manhattan as "swarming with camera-carrying tourists". Tour guides highlight places such as Trinity Church, the Federal Reserve gold vaults 80 feet below street level (worth $100 billion), and the NYSE. A Scoundrels of Wall Street Tour is a walking historical tour which includes a museum visit and discussion of various financiers "who were adept at finding ways around finance laws or loopholes through them". Occasionally artists make impromptu performances; for example, in 2010, a troupe of 22 dancers "contort their bodies and cram themselves into the nooks and crannies of the Financial District in Bodies in Urban Spaces" choreographed by Willi Donner. One chief attraction, the Federal Reserve Building
in lower Manhattan, paid $750,000 to open a visitors' gallery in 1997. The New York Stock Exchange and the American Stock Exchange also spent money in the late 1990s to upgrade facilities for visitors. Attractions include the gold
vault beneath the Federal Reserve and that "staring down at the trading floor was as exciting as going to the Statue of Liberty
Wall Street versus Main Street
", the term "Wall Street" can refer to big business interests against those of small business and the working of middle class. It is sometimes used more specifically to refer to research analysts, shareholders, and financial institutions such as investment banks. Whereas "Main Street" conjures up images of locally owned businesses and banks, the phrase "Wall Street" is commonly used interchangeably with the phrase "Corporate America
". It is also sometimes used in contrast to distinguish between the interests, culture, and lifestyles of investment banks and those of Fortune 500
industrial or service corporations.
Wall Street in the public imaginationWall Street in a conceptual sense represents financial and economic power. To Americans, it can sometimes represent elitism and power politics, and its role has been a source of controversy throughout the nation's history, particularly beginning around the Gilded Age
period in the late 19th century. Wall Street became the symbol of a country and economic system that many Americans see as having developed through trade, capitalism, and innovation.
Wall Street has become synonymous with financial interests, often used negatively. During the mortgage mess
from 2007–2010, Wall Street financing was blamed as one of the causes, although most commentators blame an interplay of factors. The U.S. government with the Troubled Asset Relief Program bailed out the banks and financial backers with billions of taxpayer dollars, but the bailout was often criticized as politically motivated, and was criticized by journalists as well as the public. Analyst Robert Kuttner
in the Huffington Post criticized the bailout as helping large Wall Street firms such as Citigroup while neglecting to help smaller community development banks such as Chicago's ShoreBank
. One writer in the Huffington Post looked at FBI statistics on robbery, fraud, and crime and concluded that Wall Street was the "most dangerous neighborhood in the United States" if one factored in the $50 billion fraud
perpetrated by Bernie Madoff. When large firms such as Enron
, WorldCom and Global Crossing
were found guilty of fraud, Wall Street was often blamed, even though these firms had headquarters around the nation and not in Wall Street. Many complained that the resulting Sarbanes-Oxley legislation dampened the business climate with regulations that were "overly burdensome." Interest groups seeking favor with Washington lawmakers
, such as car dealers, have often sought to portray their interests as allied with Main Street rather than Wall Street, although analyst Peter Overby on National Public Radio suggested that car dealers have written over $250 billion in consumer loans and have real ties with Wall Street. When the United States Treasury bailed out large financial firms, to ostensibly halt a downward spiral in the nation's economy, there was tremendous negative political fallout, particularly when reports came out that monies supposed to be used to ease credit restrictions were being used to pay bonuses to highly-paid employees. Analyst William D. Cohan argued that it was "obscene" how Wall Street reaped "massive profits and bonuses in 2009" after being saved by "trillions of dollars of American taxpayers' treasure" despite Wall Street's "greed and irresponsible risk-taking." Washington Post reporter Suzanne McGee called for Wall Street to make a sort of public apology to the nation, and expressed dismay that people such as Goldman Sachs chief executive Lloyd Blankfein hadn't expressed contrition despite being sued by the SEC in 2009. McGee wrote that "Bankers aren't the sole culprits, but their too-glib denials of responsibility and the occasional vague and waffling expression of regret don't go far enough to deflect anger."
, Richard Ramsden, is "unapologetic" and sees "banks as the dynamos that power the rest of the economy." Ramsden believes "risk-taking is vital" and said in 2010:
Others in the financial industry believe they've been unfairly castigated by the public and by politicians. For example, Anthony Scaramucci reportedly told President Barack Obama
in 2010 that he felt like a piñata
, "whacked with a stick" by "hostile politicians".
The financial misdeeds of various figures throughout American history sometimes casts a dark shadow on financial investing as a whole, and include names such as William Duer, Jim Fisk
and Jay Gould
(the latter two believed to have been involved with an effort to collapse the U.S. gold market in 1869) as well as modern figures such as Bernard Madoff
who "bilked billions from investors".
In addition, images of Wall Street and its figures have loomed large. The 1987 Oliver Stone
film Wall Street created the iconic figure of Gordon Gekko
who used the phrase "greed is good", which caught on in the cultural parlance. According to one account, the Gekko character was a "straight lift" from the real world junk-bond dealer Michael Milkin, who later pled guilty to felony charges for violating securities laws. Stone commented in 2009 how the movie had had an unexpected cultural influence, not causing them to turn away from corporate greed, but causing many young people to choose Wall Street careers because of that movie. A reporter repeated other lines from the film:
Wall Street firms have however also contributed to projects such as Habitat for Humanity as well as done food programs in Haiti
and trauma centers in Sudan
and rescue boats during floods in Bangladesh
Wall Street in popular culture
- Herman MelvilleHerman MelvilleHerman Melville was an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, and poet. He is best known for his novel Moby-Dick and the posthumous novella Billy Budd....
's classic short story Bartleby, the Scrivener is subtitled A Story of Wall Street and provides an excellent portrayal of a kind and wealthy lawyer's struggle to reason with that which is unreasonable as he is pushed beyond his comfort zone to "feel" something real for humanity.
- In William FaulknerWilliam FaulknerWilliam Cuthbert Faulkner was an American writer from Oxford, Mississippi. Faulkner worked in a variety of media; he wrote novels, short stories, a play, poetry, essays and screenplays during his career...
's novel The Sound and the FuryThe Sound and the FuryThe Sound and the Fury is a novel written by the American author William Faulkner. It employs a number of narrative styles, including the technique known as stream of consciousness, pioneered by 20th century European novelists such as James Joyce and Virginia Woolf. Published in 1929, The Sound and...
, Jason Compson hits on other perceptions of Wall Street: after finding some of his stocks are doing poorly, he blames "the Jews."
- The film Die Hard with a Vengeance has a plot involving thieves breaking into the Federal Reserve Bank of New York33 Liberty Street33 Liberty Street is the current home of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. It is located in downtown Manhattan in New York City, New York State, USA. Built in 1924, it is where the monetary policy of the United States is executed by trading dollars and United States Treasuries...
and stealing most of the gold bullion stored underground by driving dump trucks through a nearby Wall Street subway station.
- Many events of Tom WolfeTom WolfeThomas Kennerly "Tom" Wolfe, Jr. is a best-selling American author and journalist. He is one of the founders of the New Journalism movement of the 1960s and 1970s.-Early life and education:...
's Bonfire of the VanitiesBonfire of the VanitiesBonfire of the Vanities refers to the burning of objects that are deemed to be occasions of sin. The most infamous one took place on 7 February 1497, when supporters of the Dominican priest Girolamo Savonarola collected and publicly burned thousands of objects like cosmetics, art, and books in...
center on Wall Street and its culture.
- On January 26, 2000, the band Rage Against The MachineRage Against the MachineRage Against the Machine is an American rock band from Los Angeles, California. Formed in 1991, the group's line-up consists of vocalist Zack de la Rocha, bassist and backing vocalist Tim Commerford, guitarist Tom Morello and drummer Brad Wilk...
filmed the music video for "Sleep Now in the Fire" on Wall Street, which was directed by Michael MooreMichael MooreMichael Francis Moore is an American filmmaker, author, social critic and activist. He is the director and producer of Fahrenheit 9/11, which is the highest-grossing documentary of all time. His films Bowling for Columbine and Sicko also place in the top ten highest-grossing documentaries...
. The band at one point stormed the Stock Exchange, causing the doors of the Exchange to be closed early (2:52 P.M.). Trading on the Exchange floor, however, continued uninterrupted.
- The 1987 film Wall Street and its 2010 sequel exemplify many popular conceptions of Wall Street, being a tale of shady corporate dealings and insider tradingInsider tradingInsider trading is the trading of a corporation's stock or other securities by individuals with potential access to non-public information about the company...
- "Wallstreet Kingdom" is a controversial fashion brand promoting capitalism and bonuses on Wall Street.
- In the film National TreasureNational Treasure (film)National Treasure is a 2004 mystery adventure heist film from the Walt Disney Studios under Walt Disney Pictures. It was written by Jim Kouf, Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio, Cormac Wibberley, and Marianne Wibberley, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, and directed by Jon Turteltaub...
a clue to finding the Templar Treasure leads the main characters to Wall Street's Trinity ChurchTrinity Church, New YorkTrinity Church at 79 Broadway, Lower Manhattan, is a historic, active parish church in the Episcopal Diocese of New York...
- TNA Wrestler Robert Roode is billed from "Wall Street in Manhattan, New York."
- Bret Easton EllisBret Easton EllisBret Easton Ellis is an American novelist and short story writer. His works have been translated into 27 different languages. He was regarded as one of the so-called literary Brat Pack, which also included Tama Janowitz and Jay McInerney...
's novel American PsychoAmerican PsychoAmerican Psycho is a psychological thriller and satirical novel by Bret Easton Ellis, published in 1991. The story is told in the first person by the protagonist, serial killer and Manhattan businessman Patrick Bateman. The book's graphic violence and sexual content generated a great deal of...
follows the day-to-day life of Wall Street investment banker and serial killerSerial killerA serial killer, as typically defined, is an individual who has murdered three or more people over a period of more than a month, with down time between the murders, and whose motivation for killing is usually based on psychological gratification...
- In the video game Grand Theft Auto IVGrand Theft Auto IVGrand Theft Auto IV is a 2008 open world action video game published by Rockstar Games, and developed by British games developer Rockstar North. It has been released for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 video game consoles, and for the Windows operating system...
in the fictional Liberty CityLiberty City (Grand Theft Auto)Liberty City is a fictional city in Rockstar Games' video games series Grand Theft Auto, based primarily on several major cities including New York City...
Wall Street is a district dubbed The Exchange.
- Battles 2011 album Gloss DropGloss DropGloss Drop is the second studio album by American experimental rock band Battles. The band have announced a spring tour in support of the record.It is the band's first release since the departure of Tyondai Braxton...
contains a song titled "Wall Street."
- In the video game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is a first-person shooter video game, developed by Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer Games, with Raven Software having assisted in development...
, in 2016, soldiers are sent to destroy an invader's radar jamming installation on top of the New York Stock Exchange.
at the foot of the street is a busy terminal for New York Waterway and other ferries. The New York City Subway
has three stations under Wall Street:
- Wall Street (IRT Broadway – Seventh Avenue Line) at William StreetWilliam Street (Manhattan)William Street is a city street in the Financial District of lower Manhattan in New York City in the United States of America. It runs generally southwest to northeast, crossing Wall Street and terminating at Broad Street and Spruce Street, respectively. Between Beaver Street and Broad Street,...
- Wall Street (IRT Lexington Avenue Line)Wall Street (IRT Lexington Avenue Line)Wall Street is a station on the IRT Lexington Avenue Line of the New York City Subway, located at the intersection of Broadway and Wall Street. It is served by the 4 train at all times and the 5 train at all times except late nights....
at Broadway ( trains)
- Broad Street (BMT Nassau Street Line)Broad Street (BMT Nassau Street Line)Broad Street is a station on the BMT Nassau Street Line of the New York City Subway located at the intersection of Broad and Wall Streets in the Financial District of Manhattan....
at Broad StreetBroad Street (Manhattan)Broad Street is located in the Financial District in the New York City borough of Manhattan, stretching from South Street to Wall Street.- History :...
Motor traffic, particularly during working hours, is often congested
but driving late at night and on weekends can be easier. The roads are not arranged according to midtown's distinctive rectangular grid pattern with staggered lights
, but have small often one-lane roads with numerous stoplights and stop signs. A highway
runs along the East River and the Downtown Manhattan Heliport
serves Wall Street.
- Wall Street Historic District (New York, New York)Wall Street Historic District (New York, New York)The Wall Street Historic District in New York City includes part of Wall Street and parts of nearby streets in lower Manhattan. It includes 65 contributing buildings and one contributing structure over a listed area....
- Global settlementGlobal settlementThe Global Settlement was an enforcement agreement reached on April 28, 2003 between the SEC, NASD, NYSE, and ten of the United States's largest investment firms to address issues of conflict of interest within their businesses-Settlement Decision:...
- Economy of New York CityEconomy of New York CityThe economy of New York City is the biggest regional economy in the United States and the second largest city economy in the world after Tokyo...
- Hard Hat RiotHard Hat riotThe Hard Hat Riot occurred on May 8, 1970 in Lower Manhattan. The riot started about noon when about 200 construction workers mobilized by the New York State AFL-CIO attacked about 1,000 high school and college students and others protesting the Kent State shootings, the American invasion of...
- Bay StreetBay StreetBay Street, originally known as Bear Street, is a major thoroughfare in Downtown Toronto. It is the centre of Toronto's Financial District and is often used by metonymy to refer to Canada's financial industry since succeeding Montreal's St. James Street in that role in the 1970s...
- City of LondonCity of LondonThe City of London is a small area within Greater London, England. It is the historic core of London around which the modern conurbation grew and has held city status since time immemorial. The City’s boundaries have remained almost unchanged since the Middle Ages, and it is now only a tiny part of...
- List of financial districts
- Occupy Wall StreetOccupy Wall StreetOccupy Wall Street is an ongoing series of demonstrations initiated by the Canadian activist group Adbusters which began September 17, 2011 in Zuccotti Park, located in New York City's Wall Street financial district...
- Atwood, Albert W. and Erickson, Erling A. "Morgan, John Pierpont, (Apr. 17, 1837 – March 31, 1913)," in Dictionary of American Biography, Volume 7 (1934)
- Carosso, Vincent P. The Morgans: Private International Bankers, 1854–1913. Harvard U. Press, 1987. 888 pp. ISBN 978-0-674-58729-8
- Carosso, Vincent P. Investment Banking in America: A History Harvard University Press (1970)
- Chernow, Ron. The House of Morgan: An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Finance, (2001) ISBN 0-8021-3829-2
- Fraser, Steve. Every Man a Speculator: A History of Wall Street in American Life HarperCollins (2005)
- Geisst, Charles R. Wall Street: A History from Its Beginnings to the Fall of Enron. Oxford University Press. 2004. online edition
- Moody, John. The Masters of Capital: A Chronicle of Wall Street Yale University Press, (1921) online edition
- Morris, Charles R. The Tycoons: How Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, Jay Gould, and J. P. Morgan Invented the American Supereconomy (2005) ISBN 978-0-8050-8134-3
- Perkins, Edwin J. Wall Street to Main Street: Charles Merrill and Middle-class Investors (1999)
- Sobel, RobertRobert SobelRobert Sobel was an American professor of history at Hofstra University, and a well-known and prolific writer of business histories.- Biography :...
. The Big Board: A History of the New York Stock Market (1962)
- Sobel, Robert. The Great Bull Market: Wall Street in the 1920s (1968)
- Sobel, Robert. Inside Wall Street: Continuity & Change in the Financial District (1977)
- Strouse, Jean. Morgan: American Financier. Random House, 1999. 796 pp. ISBN 978-0-679-46275-0
- New York Songlines: Wall Street, a virtual walking tour