Wall Street Experience a great way to learn about New York and finances
I'm always slightly hesitant before heading to New York, as I really do crave a little more quiet in my life as I get older. And, hey, in my defence, I live in a pretty big city.
Anyway, that always changes the second I set down in New York. I start looking out the window after 45 minutes to see if I can see the skyline and my heart starts pumping.
It was the same this time. I mentioned yesterday that my son and I stayed our first night at the Z Hotel in Long Island City Queens. We were up early the next day and dropped our bags off at the W Hotel (I guess I somehow missed the X Hotel and the Y Hotel; next time maybe) at Union Square. Which I'll write about later. From there it was down to Wall St. for the Wall St. Experience tour, which I'd found out about through a Google search.
The tours are led by former Wall St. executives from some of the big firms. They have "regular" Wall St. tours but I opted for one that was centred on the financial crisis the world finds itself in. Tour guide James Mosiej knows his stuff and was able to explain what went wrong in fairly simply language.
The general public is no longer allowed inside the New York Stock Exchange, but we got to see the beautiful Federal Hall and the interior, right across the way. And we learned about earlier terrorist attacks on New York (one took place in 1920, right outside the Federal Hall on Wall Street itself.
We also got some good history, including a fun bit about how there's only one tree on Broad St. in front of the NYSE. It's a buttonwood tree. Why? Because back in the 1700s, when early traders in New York got together to talk about Goldman Sachs and AIG they did so in the shade of a buttonwood tree, which is part of the sycamore family for those of you keeping score at home.
He also got into a fair bit of depth on what folks in various companies were up to and why the U.S. securities folks failed to do enough to stop the crisis. And lots more, including a look at lovely Hanover Square and a tour of lower Manhattan in general. Definitely worthwhile and only $50 for two hours.
We grabbed lunch on a hot day on Stone Street, supposedly the first paved street in New York. It's lined with pubs and restaurants and they have picnic tables taking up the street so you can dine outside. Or enjoy the A.C. inside, which in retrospect might have been a better idea in 30-degree temperatures in a concrete canyon.
We also took in a lovely ride on the Clipper City courtesy of the Manhattan by Sail company, which organizes boat rides out in the harbour on beautiful tall ships. It's a great way to see lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty, and a nice way to cool off on a hot day.
More to come tomorrow on some great drinking/dining spots in the Lower East Side, the Meatpacking District and lower midtown areas of the city.