During your Manhattan car rental travels throughout New York City you may run across a narrow thoroughfare running east from Broadway to the East River. Although it may look tiny and uninviting from the window of your Manhattan car rental, Wall Street really is an attraction like no other in the world! Considered to be the heart and soul of the Financial District, Wall Street was the first permanent home of the New York Stock Exchange and a variety of other financial leaders. Interestingly enough most of the major New York firms are no longer located along Wall Street, opting to move elsewhere in the Lower Manhattan and Midtown neighborhoods.
Wall Street History
Back in the 17th century, when the Dutch occupied parts of New York State, a crude wall was built along what is now called Wall Street, forming a northern boundary between New Amsterdam and her hostile neighbors. In 1699 this wall was demolished by the British, but its history would never be forgotten. In the late 18th century 24 of New Yorks leading merchants secretly met beneath an old buttonwood tree, located at the foot of Wall Street, to discuss a revolutionary financial plan which included the trading of securities in a safe financial atmosphere. These 24 men agreed to sign the Buttonwood Agreement, ensuring their commitment to the plan and essentially creating the very first Stock Exchange on Wall Street!
Wall Street Beginnings
The New York Stock and Exchange Board wasnt formally organized until March 8, 1817. Located at 40 Wall Street, the fist New York Stock Exchange was narrated by Board president, Anthony Stockholm, as he read out the stocks to be traded that day. Membership to the Stock Exchange was exclusive and membership definitely wasnt cheap by 1848 it cost a staggering $400 just to gain access to the trading floor! It wasnt long before the New York Stock and Exchange Board took off, resulting in a wave of good fortune. In 1901 J.P. Morgan stunned the world when he created the first billion dollar merger of companies, creating the U.S. Steel Corporation. But with success comes failure and in 1907 panic struck Wall Street as investors began to unload securities at a staggering rate. Within a few months over eight hundred billion dollars had been removed from the Stock and Exchange Board, causing stock prices to plummet. Luckily the Board was able to rebound from this devastating loss as major New York bankers began to reestablish their place on the market.
Black Thursday and the Crash of the New York Stock Exchange
On October 24th, 1929 the unthinkable happened at the New York Stock Exchange. For years the stock market had been experiencing a prosperous boom, leading many Americans to believe in stock market investment and bond securities. Almost every working citizen in American had money tied up in the markets, causing share prices to rise to artificially high levels. An economic bubble was created as banks lent out heavy loans to fund the publics share-buying spree. When the bubble finally burst some fifty-three million shares were sold within three days, running millions of investors, families and businesses instantly. This financial devastation was a major contributor to in the Great Depression as millions of people lost their savings, jobs and families.
Attractions Located on Wall Street
If youre planning to visit Wall Street in your Manhattan car rental, be sure to visit more than just the NYSE! The Wall Street area is home to a wide variety of great New York City businesses and attractions, so dont even think about parking that Manhattan car rental just yet! The following buildings are a must-see in the Wall Street area, so keep your eyes peeled for them when driving your Manhattan car rental!
- American International Building 70 Pine Street
- Hanover Bank building Nassau Street between Wall Street and Pine Street
- Gillender Building Wall Street at Nassau Street
- Chase National Bank Building 18 Pine Street at Nassau Street