Wall Street

Beez Neez
Skipper and First Mate Millard (Big Bear and Pepe)
Sat 16 Jul 2011 12:17
Wall Street
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Wall Street refers to the financial district of New York City,  named after and centred 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 centers. We booked ourselves on a walking tour, joined a group with an enthusiastic lady at our helm and trotted round.



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Early years: There 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 stronger stockade; a strengthened 12-foot wall against attack from various Native American tribes. In 1685 surveyors laid out Wall Street along the lines of the original stockade. 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.

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 the 30th of April 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.



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Security is massive, coming out into the sunshine from the subway we were met by two NYPD with machine guns



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The mix of old and new watched over by George Washington





Looking up Bear did not fancy one bit the walkway between these two buildings


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All around us we felt the ‘hustle and bustle’