Thursday, October 13, 2011

Black Monday Was No Bull

High interest rates. Value decline. Market crash. Recession. These buzz words may seem ripped from the headlines of today’s financial news section. However, during the month of October in 1987, these words would have rung with the same resonance as today. In the days leading up to Monday 19, a sharp drop in the value of the dollar and fears of rising interest rates coupled with a faltering bond market to portend what would eventually be the largest one-day percentage drop in stock market history. This perfect storm hit with a vengeance at the clang of the opening bell that fateful day. When the dust and the papers settled, what will be forever known as “Black Monday” was marked by a market drop of 508.32 points or 22.6%. That is $500 billion lost in one day! Perhaps the most shocking aspect of the crash was the rapidity of the plummet; what should have taken a few weeks, happened in a matter of days. Trading was so fervent that the ticker tape was running over two hours behind. Many Monday night newscasts were forced to report on the loss with no concrete closing number.

While there are still no clear-cut answers to what caused the crash, several factors seemed to have contributed. The aforementioned drop in dollar value and high interest rates lead to increased distrust in the market and newly implemented computer trading programs exacerbated the issue by blindly selling shares as the market declined.

The crash of 1987 sent shockwaves through the nation that touched almost every community. Much like the current campaign to “Occupy Wall Street,” frustrations with America’s financial instability fueled a public backlash. One artist, Italian sculptor Arturo Di Modica, was inspired to create a symbol of the "strength and power of the American people” (D. McFadden, Robert, New York Times, 12/16/89). The resulting creation was a 7,100 lb bronze Charging Bull, a popular Wall Street symbol of prosperity and financial optimism, for which Di Modica spent roughly $360,000 of his own money to create and cast. Two years after the crash, on the night of December 15, 1989, Di Modica and a posse of guerilla Santa Clauses drove a flatbed to the New York Stock Exchange and left New York her early Christmas gift under the 60 ft. tree. While the Bull was initially hauled away the next morning for obstructing traffic, the City heeded the public’s outcry for its reinstallation and reached an agreement through the NYC Dept. of Parks and Rec. to keep it on loan for the world to enjoy.

While many a native and visitor alike may not be aware of the pertinent connection between Black Monday and the bronze beast, it has done little to tarnish the public ardor for this iconic attraction.
See the Bull and much, much more on your next Wall Street Walks tour!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Columbus Day Lives in NYC!

Columbus Day. It is a holiday that is often overlooked on our calendars. Some states (California, Nevada, and Hawaii) don’t recognize it as a public holiday and others (South Dakota) have modified it to celebrate our Nation’s indigenous people. According to an article by the Wall Street Journal, Columbus Day has become practically obsolete in the modern calendar.

In New York City, however, it is a holiday with deep roots that is steeped in tradition. In 1929, an Italian-American businessman named Generoso Pope wanted to celebrate the cultural significance of his people and honor the man whose accomplishments were undeniably instrumental in the shaping of this nation. On October 12, he led a parade from East Harlem to Columbus Circle and organized a fund-raising dinner to ensure the continued achievement of immigrants from all over the world. These initial festivities have snowballed into the world’s largest celebration of Italian-American heritage and culture. New York’s annual Columbus Day Parade is broadcast on six continents and the following Gala Dinner continues to commemorate the strong ties that bind America and Italy. Italians from both here and abroad continue to flock to the Big Apple for Columbus Day and prove to the rest of the Nation that this is one holiday that still has a pulse.

While most of the Columbus Day action is happening in Midtown, the ubiquitous presence of Italian-Americans can be found in almost all of Manhattan’s neighborhoods. While Little Italy may be the first to come to mind, Wall Street certainly boasts its share of heavy hitters. Richard Grasso, for example, served as chairman and chief executive of the New York Stock Exchange from 1995 to 2003 and was a key player in the resumption of business post-September 11.

New York has always been a city that lauds the achievements of all of the cultural groups that make it so wonderfully diverse. In the spirit of diversity, why not spend a portion of your Columbus Day holiday enjoying the sights and sounds of Lower Manhattan on a Wall Street Walks tour? Learn about the historical contributions of Italy and other countries all over the world and see Lower Manhattan from an entirely new perspective. Schedule your Wall Street walking tour today!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Protesters Unite in Zuccotti Park

As we strolled through Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan, the scene laid out before us brought flashes of déjà vu as we were vaguely reminded of iconic images of the 1960’s. A long-haired hippie in a soiled t-shirt lounged casually on a dirty mattress, cardboard signs propped up haphazardly around him. American flags waved proudly in the breeze amid colorful signage. There was a faint musk in the air and a sporadic soundtrack of bongo drums.

This time around, however, the war isn’t in Vietnam, it’s on Wall Street.

Currently headquartered in Zuccotti, the “Occupy Wall Street” movement boasts an organized front of a motley mix of characters and agendas. While Flower Children of yesteryear may be quick to snub this new generation of protesters, we were stuck by the sense of community that had obviously been fostered in these past two weeks. A makeshift living room complete with chairs and carpet almost looked inviting enough to kick back in. A craft services area was stocked with snacks, fruit, and coffee. Blue collar workers unified in their neon green t-shirts shared smokes with boho artists and musicians. Despite constant blasts that the effort thus far has been disorganized and ill-founded, a technology hub of laptops and a taping of a round-table forum seemed signs of the contrary. While no main agenda was resoundingly clear, different groups passed out literature outlining their particular platforms and a charmingly haphazard “front desk” at the edge of the park listed the daily events. Hipster engaged in conversation with business suit and everyone from police officer, to journalist, to tourist was tolerated. While things took an ugly turn during the march to Union Square, the loudest thing on our visit was the long gallery of signs that formed the colorful border of one side of the park. Ranging from bland and straightforward to hilariously clever, these signs gave each artist the chance to be heard. Is this park a pleasant green space in the urban jungle? Not currently. But it did strike us as one thing: decidedly New York.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Ground Zero, the World Trade Center site and the 9/11 Memorial

With the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks fast approaching, we thought it might be time to highlight the activity at the World Trade Center, Ground Zero and the 9/11 Memorial site. The construction of the Freedom Tower is well underway, and the dedication of the Memorial will take place on September 11th of this year. The Memorial will open to the public on September 12. Since we are leading tours downtown several times each week, we have a unique opportunity to document the construction.

Monday, August 22, 2011

New Wall Street Walks website is live

The new Wall Street Walks website is now up, featuring expanded resources for NYC visitors, more pictures, videos and information about our tours, a gift certificate feature and fun interactive quizzes about downtown NY and stock market history.
Please visit to see what we've been up to!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Beautiful East River Park on the Lower East Side

Manhattan is full surprisingly peaceful spaces, which are becoming increasingly important as the city gets more crowded. One such hidden gem is East River Park, a thin strip which lies in between the FDR drive and the water on the southeast tip of the island of Manhattan. The 45-acre East River Park houses a dog run, a boardwalk, built-in lounge chairs, an amphitheater, waterside seating and lovely views of the East River and ship-filled harbor areas.

The park was the brainchild of Robert Moses, who designed the FDR Drive (along with many other projects in NY state). Moses knew that the road would pass through the Lower East Side, a neighborhood in dire need of recreational space. The existence of East River Park was due to Moses' championing of the concept of parkland through "energetic legal wrangling," as the Parks Department website puts it. You can read more about the history of East River Park here.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Wall Street Walks: Inside Federal Hall

Inside the Federal Hall National Memorial, Wall Street Walks tour guide Annaline shows her tour group a model of the old Federal Hall, which was demolished in 1812. The old structure, which served as the first capitol building of the United States, was the site of George Washington's inauguration. Built in 1842 as the new York Customs House, the new building is now a landmark, a National Memorial and a museum. With no entry fee and exhibits that include the Bible upon which George Washington swore his oath of office, Federal Hall is a must-see when traveling to New York City.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Race Around Wall Street Scavenger Hunt July 30th

On Saturday July 30th, the Museum of American Finance will be putting on a scavenger hunt in and around the Wall Street area. Click here to find out all the details.
Here's the description from their website:

Embark on a whirlwind scavenger hunt around Lower Manhattan in the Race Around Wall Street. Teams will have to use their knowledge of New York City and its financial history to solve clues and win prizes. First place wins a cash prize, and second place wins a Museum prize package. Bring your thinking caps and running shoes, and join us for a thrilling race through the history of finance.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Tour de... Wall Street? Commuting by Bike to the Financial District

Bike parking for employees in the Deutsche Bank building.
 As the Cugnaux to Luz-Ardiden stage of the Tour de France wraps up and all eyes are on the yellow jersey of Thomas Voeckler for tomorrow's Pau to Lourdes stage, it is easy to forget that there are any other cyclists anywhere else. There is, however, a thriving bike culture right here in downtown Manhattan. Above is the employee bike parking in the Deutsche Bank building, chock full of commuter bikes. 

There are, it seems, a multitude of cyclists working in the Financial District, with all manner of bicycles locked to poles, racks and buildings all around Wall Street.

New York City, and downtown in particular, is far more bike-friendly than it is car-friendly. Bikes offer far more route choices than cars, and with several bridges, highways and bike paths radiating away from downtown, one can get home quickly on a bike with no worries about subway or bridge traffic.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Fraunces Tavern, an Historical Landmark and a Stop on the Wall Street Walks Tour

Fraunces Tavern, located at 54 Pearl Street in New York City, was built in 1719 as a residence for a merchant named Stephan Delancey. In 1762, it was converted in a tavern which proved to be very popular as well as historically significant. The history of Fraunces Tavern is interwined with George Washington, the Revolutionary War and the budding U.S. Government that arose just after the war.
After nearly 250 years of serving travelers in New York City, you can still sit down and enjoy a meal at Fraunces Tavern. If you'd like to learn more about this American treasure, book a ticket on a Wall Street Walks guided walking tour of the Financial District of New York.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Wall Street Walks Tour Stop at the New York Stock Exchange

This video shows Wall Street Walks tour guide Annaline Dinkelmann speaking to her walking tour group outside the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street in New York City. On a typical summer day, Wall Street is packed with tourists, bankers, NYSE employees and security. At the end of the video you can see Federal Hall, which is the building with the tall steps leading up to it. This building is on the site of what once was the U.S. Capitol building, as well as the site of George Washington's inauguration as the first President of the United States. The Wall Street area is steeped in American history, and tour guide Annaline is an expert in the ins and outs of the Financial District of NYC.

To find out more, please visit the Wall Street Walks website and book a ticket for a guided tour. You can also find Wall Street Walks on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Wall Street Walks Stops at Ground Zero and One World Trade Center

The Freedom Tower on the left rises majestically above the skyline.
One of the west side stops on all Wall Street Walks guided walking tours of downtown Manhattan is Ground Zero. The vantage point shown in these photos is just about the best view of the construction that is happening at Ground Zero: across the avenue, on the patio just above the Cortlandt Street R train stop. The huge building that is being constructed to replace the Twin Towers is commonly referred to as the Freedom Tower, but is currently called One World Trade Center, or "1 WTC."

Wall Street Walks tour stop at Ground Zero.
The Freedom Tower will rise 1776 feet above the ground when finished. Construction is currently about one third complete, with a projected completion date of 2014. Above you can see Annaline, the tour guide in the light blue shirt, talking to her tour group about the history and the future of the World Trade Center site.

Construction of One World Trade Center as of June 2011.
If you'd like to enhance your own visit to New York City with the help and expertise of a local, book tickets for a Wall Street Walks guided walking tour by clicking here. With a focus on the history of downtown NYC and the Financial District, Wall Street Walks tours offer insight into what makes New York City tick.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Wall Street Walks Tour: Atop the Steps of Federal Hall

One of the stops on each Wall Street Walks guided walking tour is 26 Wall Street, now known as Federal Hall. This location has been an important site in the history of the United States from the very beginning, and in later blog posts we will discuss all that has transpired here. The U.S. Capitol building once stood on this site, back when New York City was the capitol of the United States. That building was later demolished and the New York Customs House was built on the site.
Here, tour guide Annaline Dinkelmann speaks to her tour group on the very same spot that many newscasters use when reporting on the goings-on of Wall Street. The elevation of the steps, and the NYSE in the background, make for a perfect spot to discuss the intricacies of Wall Street.
To learn more about the history of Wall Street, click through and buy a ticket to a Wall Street Walks guided tour.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Wall Street Bull: a stop on the Wall Street Walks Tour

The Wall Street Bull is an iconic sculpture located in a median in the middle of Broadway in the Financial District of Lower Manhattan, very close to Wall Street. In the 1980s, when he created the Bull sculpture, the artist deposited it in front of the New York Stock Exchange in the middle of the night. The following day was probably the only day in history a bull was not welcome on Wall Street, and the sculpture was removed. However, the public demanded that the Bull sculpture be returned to Lower Manhattan, and shortly thereafter we experienced the very strong bull market from the 1990s. The sculpture was placed temporarily in a median in the middle of Broadway and was never moved. As you can see from the video, the Wall Street Bull is a popular tourist attraction. To learn more about the Wall Street Bull and all the other intricacies of the history of the Financial District, click through to reserve tickets for a Wall Street Walks tour.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Hetty Green: The Witch of Wall Street

Although many of the anecdotes about Hetty Green's stinginess have been exaggerated or altered, the Guiness Book of World Records does list her as "the World's Greatest Miser."

By most accounts, she spent as little as possible on food, clothing, health care and other expenditures. On the other hand, she parlayed an inheritance into an astounding fortune by investing with gusto. Her main investment vehicles were bonds, real estate, railroads and lending. Incredibly, she kept New York City afloat on more than one occasion, most notably by lending the city $1.1 million in 1907.

Hetty Green spent most of her time in the offices of a Wall Street bank,  too frugal to pay for her own office. Her rather dreary fashion sense (always in black, sometimes with a black veil) and her acerbic demeanor led her contemporaries to give her the nickname "The Witch of Wall Street."

Walk in the footsteps of one of the wealthiest and most eccentric women to set foot on Wall Street! A perfect gift for your mother on Mother's Day, the schedule of Wall Street Walks' "Women of Wall Street" guided walking tours can be found here. Victoria Hoodhull, Hetty Green and Muriel Siebert are just a few of the many powerful women that are covered in depth on this walking tour.

There are tours starting at 1pm on both May 7th and 8th. Tickets can be purchased here.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Muriel Siebert: The First Woman of Finance

Muriel Siebert is the first woman to own a seat on the New York Stock Exchange. After encountering significant ridicule and sexism in the financial industry, she was finally elected to membership on the NYSE in 1967, paying $445,000 for her seat. Earlier that year, Siebert founded her own firm, giving her another first: the first woman to own an NYSE member firm.

As an advocate of women's rights and a proponent of women in industry, Muriel Siebert continues to pave the way for progressive thinkers. You can learn more about the legendary women of Wall Street on the guided walking tours provided by Wall Street Walks.

A perfect gift for your mother on Mother's Day, the schedule of Wall Street Walks' "Women of Wall Street" guided walking tours can be found here. Victoria Hoodhull, Hetty Green and Muriel Siebert are just a few of the many powerful women that are covered in depth on this walking tour.

There are tours starting at 1pm on both May 7th and 8th. Tickets can be purchased here.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Victoria Hoodhull: Powerful Woman, Maverick, Bundle of Contradictions

Victoria Hoodhull was a woman far ahead of her time. Born in 1838 in Ohio, she went on to open the first female-owned stock brokerage in 1870. She ran for President of the United States in 1872. Her peculiarities and eccentricities led to public slander and personal attacks which eventually landed her in jail on more than a few occasions. Hers is a rags-to-riches story punctuated at the end by the loss of everything that she had worked so hard to build.

As fascinating as it is complex, the life of Victoria Hoodhull can be explored in a more intimate fashion by walking the streets of New York's Financial District, where Hoodhull built her fortune.

A perfect gift for your mother on Mother's Day, the schedule of Wall Street Walks "Women of Wall Street" guided walking tours can be found here. Victoria Hoodhull, Hetty Green and Muriel Siebert are just a few of the many powerful women that are covered in depth on this walking tour.

There are tours starting at 1pm on both May 7th and 8th. Tickets can be purchased here.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Meet Annaline Dinkelmann, Founder of Wall Street Walks

Wall Street Walking Tours from Annaline Dinkelmann on Vimeo.

The Best Way to Experience Wall Street is on Foot 

Come on a fascinating journey into the financial heart of New York City with Wall Street Walks. Our guided walking tours, led by real industry insiders, provide an exciting peek at what happens behind the scenes on Wall Street. On our tours you will:
  • Discover how an 18th century street bazaar became the greatest financial center in the world.
  • Learn about the darker side of Wall Street, including its scandals, panics, and crashes.
  • Walk in the footsteps of financial moguls such as Alexander Hamilton, Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, and Victoria Woodhull.
  • Explore the district's most celebrated landmarks.
  • Hear firsthand accounts of Wall Street today as only industry insiders can tell them.

Wall Street Walks offers a number of exciting and specialized walking tours of the financial district, including:
  • History of Wall Street (also known as Stock Market History).
  • Wall Street's Panics and Crashes.
  • The Women of Wall Street (a Wall Street Walks exclusive).
  • Federal Reserve Gold Vault Visit.
All of our tours are available for either private parties or group excursions and can be done on your own schedule at a time convenient for you. See Lower Manhattan from an entirely new perspective - schedule your Wall Street walking tour today!