Monday, July 29, 2013

Review: Wall Street Experience

...the one in which we occupy Wall Street....

I love most things. I love music... movies... sports... books... pop culture... fashion... traveling... animals... and food. In fact, if you made a list of just about every single thing on the planet, I could pretty much affirm that I would like just about 99% of stuff on that list.


What I do NOT like is talk of money. Especially stocks and investments and portfolios.


Unfortunately, talk of money and stocks and investments and portfolios is pretty much one of Hubby's favorite things in the world - so the old adage of "opposites attract" is pretty much true in our case. Hubby will start to talk of what the Stock Market did during the day, and my eyes will glaze over and my brain fills with this mysterious gel that pretty much renders me a zombie.

I don't do it on purpose, I swear. I really try to pay attention...but it just...doesn't...happen.

However, being the good, supportive wife that I am (don't laugh) and knowing how much Hubby LOVES the Stock Market - I researched tours of the financial district in Manhattan...more so for Hubby's sake than anyone else's.

I soon found a company called the Wall Street Experience, that offers several tours. I chose the 2-hour "Financial Crisis Tour" - that offers not only a bit of history of Wall Street and the stock exchange itself, but some history of the recent financial collapse. I figured I could tough it out for two hours...especially since Hubby toughed it out at Tiffany's, for my sake. It's the least I could do.

So, after a leisurely breakfast at the hotel (FREE!), we were back on the subway - along with 3,275,529 other New Yorkers - heading south to the financial district. We arrived a bit early, but soon found our meeting place, 15 Broad Street, as well as our guide for the day, James. Soon, we were joined by another family, who had three kids....Whew. I was worried that Daughter would be the ONLY Klingon participating in this tour, so I was actually relieved to see three more Klingons. I figured if my eyes glazed over and my brain turned to Zombie Brain during the tour, I wouldn't be alone.

Promptly at 10:00 am, James began the tour. We started right at the corner of Wall Street at Federal Hall, considered the "birthplace" of American government. It was here that George Washington took the oath of office as our first President...and this site was home to the first Congress, Supreme Court, and Executive Branch offices. This is part of our National Parks System, and is FREE to the public.

Yes. You read that right. FREE. Write that down - as the words "FREE" and "New York City" don't often go together.

The outside of Federal Hall...with a statue of George Washington overlooking Wall Street....

Federal Hall is actually pretty interesting. We only stayed for a brief moment, but I would have LOVED to explore this treasure in more depth. If I were to go back to NYC, this would be on my must-do list - because it was fascinating.

The stone that George Washington stood on while being inaugurated...cracked and, huh?!

RIGHT across the street from Federal Hall is the New York Stock Exchange building. Hubby would have given his right arm to go inside this building, but that wasn't happenin'. After the events of September 11, 2001, security is TIGHT here. Ain't no one getting in this building unless you are badged, branded, and probably blood-typed, as well. So...James talked about it, as well as it's history, while we stood outside the front of the building:

Although I really wasn't getting much out of James' narrative (although, he WAS good, and he knew his stuff - it was just my Zombie Brain), I REALLY was enjoying the architecture of the buildings in the district:

I mean, I'm from Kansas City...where everything is pretty...flat. And we just don't have these freaking AMAZING tall buildings like this! I was getting a crick in my neck from trying to take them all in.

I DID pay attention long enough to learn this next little bit of trivia...ever heard of the phrase, "cornering the market"? It's used in that fascinating, exciting, titillating talk about stocks and such - and means to get enough control of a particular stock to allow the price to be manipulated. Well...I learned how the phrase came about....Yup. I promise to make this short and that YOU don't get Zombie Brain.

To understand this, though, I'm going to show a picture of the corner of Wall Street and Broadway, which is where the Stock Exchange building is located - as well as the original offices of gazillionaire, J.P. Morgan:

JP's offices are to the left...the Stock Exchange is to the right....

There was a "panic" on Wall Street in 1907, after two men tried to get control of the copper market. Panic ensued - banks closed their doors, and New York City was on the verge of bankruptcy. J.P. Morgan stepped in to save the day, by bailing out the banks and the market. Because of the location of his offices - the phrase "corner the market" was coined. Voila.

Speaking of J.P. Morgan's former offices, the building was closed to the public, as it was being used as a movie set. There were signs everywhere, indicating where the film crew & such were to report - for costumes, catering, etc.

We were curious - what movie would be filming in the heart of Wall Street? Perhaps another sequel to the Wall Street movies? Some big extravaganza about high financiers in the financial district?

Any guesses yourself??


You'll never guess. So I'll tell you. It's a live-action sequel to "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles", and will be released in 2014.

Yup. Turtles on Wall Street. Who'd have guessed it?!

We visited the Deutsche Bank, located at 60 Wall Street, which is the current headquarters for JP Morgan Chase. The lobby of this building is open to the public...and is definitely worthy of a visit. It's decorated in a weird, Liberace-Vegas style, with palm trees:

Which is pretty bizarre, considering this is the headquarters of a major financial institution. It's open to the public not because of the kitschy decor, but because there's a subway station in the lobby. Yeah - I guess the developers got carried away with the size of the building, and they ended up building over a public subway station entrance. So now - they have to keep the lobby open to the public during the week.

We then walked down Wall Street, while James gave us more history and trivia and stories...and I don't remember any of it. Zombie Brain. It's inevitable when someone starts talking about money. However, I DO know that, once again, I was blown away by the buildings...they were SO FREAKING TALL!!!!!!

EEP! I LOVE this!!!!

The Trump Building - at 70-stories tall - was built in 1928, with the goal of being the tallest building in the world. It DID hold that title - for exactly ONE month - until the Chrysler Building surpassed it by erecting a 125-foot spire on top:

This is located at 40 Wall Street....

Outside the Trump Building...I had to crane my head WAAAAAAAAAAAAAY back to see the top. Squee!

There was only one thing that could get more attention at that moment than the super-duper-mega-tall buildings, and that was a food truck. But not just ANY food truck. No - this was the Mona Lisa of food trucks:

Wafels & Dinges!!! NOM!!!!!

If I'd had ANY CLUE as to where we were at the moment I spotted this truck, I would have marked it down - so we could go back and visit this little delight for lunch. was not meant to be. THIS was as close to a Wafels & Dinges truck as we got the ENTIRE TEN DAYS IN NYC! GAH! That is just not right. Don't make this mistake, folks. You should run - not walk - to a Wafels & Dinges truck if you EVER, EVER, EVER get an opportunity - Wall Street Tour be damned.

Anyway. Moving on.

The streets in the financial district are narrow enough - without all these dozens of trailers that were parked here. These were being used for the EPIC BLOCKBUSTER MOVIE, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, to be released in 2014 (see - I'm doing a preview there...promoting the movie. I should get paid for this.)

I looked for Whoopie Goldberg or Megan Fox - two of the stars - but to no avail. They were NOT our celebrity encounter.

Check out this next little delight:

It's not enough that the design of this building is like, totally beautiful and also has the distinction of being the old Cocoa Exchange building. Yes. Cocoa. Which is essential for chocolate.


It's now condos. I would SO want a condo here.

We then began strolling past Broadway, where we passed the famous Charging Bull statue located in Bowling Green park:

The artist took TWO years to sculpt this thing...and when it was finished, it weighed an impressive 3 1/2 tons. Deciding that the bull needed to be on Wall Street, the artist loaded it up on his truck one night, and with some friends, clandestinely dropped it right in front of the Stock Exchange Building on a cold December night in 1989. No one knew who had done it, and it was quite the mystery. The Stock Exchange, having SO sense of humor - or adventure - removed the statue the very next day. However, Mayor Ed Koch, as well as the NYC Parks Commissioner, recognized a good thing when they saw it - and they had the statue permanently installed at Bowling Green.

Don't even attempt to get a picture of it without hundreds of tourists surrounding it. I have figured out that there is an EXTREMELY powerful magnet in the sculpture that attracts barbarians tourists. It's the only explanation for it.

So...continuing down Broadway...I learned that this is where all of the famous Ticker Tape Parades happen! SQUEE!!! To date, 204 parades have been held, and a granite strip commemorates each one...walking down the sidewalk, it was fun to read them:

The architecture here was fact, this little stretch of Broadway is called "Canyon of Heroes" - and it was plain to see why:

It's like a concrete Grand Canyon...with a river of people at it's base....!!!

All too soon, our tour was over. James made sure that everyone knew where there next stop was, providing directions to us so we wouldn't be lost on Wall Street forever. The tour was good...even for someone like me, who has no interest whatsoever in financial matters. Kudos to Daughter, who even gleamed some interesting information from this. I felt two hours was the perfect length to explore the history of the area, as well as see some interesting sites - so yes, I would definitely recommend The Wall Street Experience.

After a brief lunch, we had plans to head over to the 9/11 stay tuned....



1 comment:

Mike said...

Isn't it amazing how far back you really do have to tip your head back to look at all of those tall buildings?! You weren't kidding!

I have a lot of catching up to do! =D