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A tour of Wall Street right now includes checking out the protests

Posted by Mac Lacy in The Northeast on October 10, 2011

 
 

Protesters gathered at Zuccotti Park in New York for the Occupy Wall Street movement

Wall Street dominates the news these days for lots of reasons.  The market right now is searching for anything tangible it can hold onto that might spark a rally.  Economies in Europe are as fragile as anyone can remember and threaten to disrupt worldwide markets including our own. And the protesters that gather in nearby Zuccotti Park for Occupy Wall Street have sparked countless copycat efforts in other cities around the country.

Thus, it was a particularly opportune time to be in New York when my famiy went October 6-9, so my sons and I decided to take a walking tour of the Financial District with The Wall Street Experience.com.  We walked through a Wall Street that is now as much residential as it is investment banks.  Because of online trading, much if not most of the traditional trading on the floors of the exchanges has been replaced with paperless trades.  The beautiful old Greek Revival buiding at 55 Wall Street once used for the New York Stock Exchange is now Cipriani Wall Street, an entertainment venue for corporate outings and concerts.

When our guide told us the Federal Reserve housed more gold than Fort Knox, as Kentuckians we had to check his facts.  Alas, he was correct.

Personally, the gathering down around Zuccotti Park in the Financial District seemed rather inconsequential to me.  While there may be merit in some part of the messages being espoused here, it was hard to take the messengers too seriously in this environment.  Without getting too far into politics, I think it’s safe to say that signs like ‘Weed, Not Greed’ make it harder to consider the more substantive issues being espoused.  In the end, for my money, sleeping bags, hand-lettered placards, street vendors and photo ops for passersby are awfully easy to ignore.

Placards of all types are held up and passersby frequently stop to ask questions

A statue of George Washington stands in front of Federal Hall.   New York was the nation’s capital in 1789.

A statue of George Washington stands

A cemetery stands at Trinity Church in the financial district with markers dating to the 18th century.  Alexander Hamilton was buried here after he lost a duel to Aaron Burr.

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