Monday, July 30, 2012

A Great Week in Car History

What a great week in car history! Let’s start with July 30, 1863, when Henry Ford famously said, “If I’d listened to what my customers wanted, I’d have given them a faster horse.” Also this week, on August 1, 1941, Jeep rolled out its first ever model and on August 3, Firestone Tire and Rubber Company will celebrate its 112th Anniversary.

Thanks to the brilliance that was Henry Ford’s mind and the ingenuity of inventors and engineers who continued his legacy, America saw the birth of a car industry that would revolutionize the way we did everything! From, getting ourselves around town, to increasing travel beyond our city limits, to expanding our knowledge and access to the world around us, cars have become a way of life, a method for bandying social status, and for many people, a tangible portrayal of their own personalities.

Here in Manhattan, however, you’ll notice we use our cars mostly to sit in traffic. That’s why Wall Street Walks hits the town on our feet to get the most out of what this amazing city has to offer! Be sure to check out one of our incredible tours while you’re in town this summer. Happy August!

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Curb Market

Way before the New York Stock Exchange moved into it’s current home at 11 Wall Street, trading was done in an outdoor space at 30 Broad Street known as The Curb Market and the traders were known as the New York Curb Market.

For almost ten years traders bought and sold shares outside until they moved indoors on July 27, 1921, to a building in Lower Manhattan. Led by, Edward McCormick, the Curb Market’s chairman, brokers ceremoniously marched up Wall Street to their newly completed building on Trinity Place behind Trinity Church.

In 1929, the New York Curb Market changed its name to the New York Curb Exchange and soon became the top international stock market. Years later in 1953, they renamed themselves once again and became the American Stock Exchange. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Duel that Led to Alexander Hamilton's Death

You might remember the great “Got Milk” commercial from the 90’s that featured a historical museum’s curator eating a peanut butter sandwich. His local radio station calls and offers him $10,000 if he can tell them who shot Alexander Hamilton in the July 11, 1804, duel that led to his death.

The answer, which the curator couldn’t get out because he didn’t have milk, was Aaron Burr, the sitting Vice President of the United States at the time of the shooting. In the duel, Burr shot and fatally wounded Alexander Hamilton. Once he was injured, Hamilton was transferred from Weehawken, New Jersey, where the duel had taken place, to Manhattan, where he died at a house on Jane Street in Greenwich Village the next day.

Hamilton’s funeral was held two days later on July 14 at Trinity Church in the Wall Street area. He was buried in the adjacent Trinity Churchyard where his son Philip, also the victim of a duel, had been buried three years prior. Because dueling had recently been outlawed in New York and New Jersey before the Burr-Hamilton duel, the incident created a huge political uproar and Burr was indicted for murder, though he was never convicted.

Monday, July 2, 2012

A Big Week in New York History

This week is a big one in New York history. Back in 1916, Wall Street lost its Witch, Hetty Green, on July 3. Green was the first female tycoon in the US and was known around town as the “Witch of Wall Street.” An heiress to a multi-million dollar fortune, she was infamous for her stinginess and was rumored to go so far as to never use hot water and to ask her laundress to only wash the dirtiest parts of her dresses to save on soap.

On Wednesday, we celebrate the Fourth of July in honor of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence and our official separation from Great Britain on July 4, 1776. If you’re in the city, pay tribute to our country on a 90-minute tour of historic Wall Street and Ground Zero, or a 2-hour tour of Wall Street and the 9/11 Memorial. Afterwards, make your way to the West Side to stake out your claim to watch the stupendous fireworks display along the Hudson from 16th Street all the way up to midtown. 

July 7, New York celebrates the 249th birthday of its first multi-millionaire, one-time opium smuggler, John Jacob Astor. Born in Waldorf, Germany, Astor migrated to the US after the Revolutionary War. Arriving at age 21, with no money to speak of, he soon made a fortune in the fur trade. By the time of his death in 1848, John Jacob Astor was the richest man in the country.

Two noteworthy New York events happened on July 8th. The first is another birthday – John D. Rockefeller was born in 1839. He is the senior of the Rockefeller dynasty and is one of New York’s most acclaimed philanthropists. With only $2000, Rockefeller formed his first partnership in 1859, and just four years later they were running their own oil refinery. In 1870, when Rockefeller organized The Standard Oil Company at the age of 31, the business had a capital of $1 million.

Also on July 8, we commemorate the first edition of the Wall Street Journal. Volume 1, Number 1 was published in 1889 and the price was two cents. Today it is #1 most-read newspapers, with a daily circulation of over 2,000,000 copies worldwide. Though it’s named after the street in New York’s financial district, the WSJ headquarters are now located on Sixth Avenue near Rockefeller Center.