Wall Street: The Heart of the Financial District

Raveena Bahadur

Professor Gold

ENG 1101

December 18, 2012

Final Project Assignment- Wall Street

The financial district of New York, better known as Wall Street, has been a very popular area to tour. The buildings and symbols attract tourists to come to experience the true feel of the financial district. Wall Street is home of the New York Stock Exchange; also known as the largest Stock Exchange. Wall Street was named because of a wall literally standing and keeping away the Native Americans. Wall Street is always packed with people from all over the world. It is one of the top tourist sites.


Before being known as Wall Street, a tall wall literally stood at the Southern boundary of what was then called New Amsterdam. This wall was created to keep away Native American Tribes from the Colonists. A century later it became one of the greatest trading centers of the world. Better known as the Buttonwood Agreement, this trading began with traders trading around a buttonwood tree. To make their trading a more formal association, the people began to call it the Buttonwood Agreement. This agreement was the seed that created the New York Stock Exchange. In 1789, George Washington was inaugurated as our first President of America on a balcony that overlooked the people of Wall Street. In the 1889, the Wall Street Journal was created, while in the twentieth century, Americans experienced the Stock Market Crash. There has been three Stock Market Crashes which occurred in 1929, 1987, and from October of 2007 to March of 2009.

Before Wall Street was founded, New York was a part of the Atlantic Slave Trade. There were many free Africans in New York, but it was an underground movement. When African Americans died, there was no proper burial ground for them. As a result, people buried the bodies in stacks throughout Downtown Manhattan. It is a shame that the bodies were treated so disrespectfully. Wall Street was partially built on those bodies.

There were originally two stock exchanges – the New York Stock Exchange and the American Stock Exchange. However, due to hard financial times, the American Stock Exchange closed down and the New York Stock Exchange became representative of the stock business of the United States. The American Stock Exchange was only a block away from Wall Street, but now it is a barren building, closed and desolate, while the New York Stock Exchange has taken over and is now the center of attention.


Located at 11 Wall Street is the New York Stock Exchange. Walking towards the right, you will come across Broad and Nassau Street. Between these two streets stands Wall Street. As you walk upwards, you will pass Tiffany & Co., and as you keep walking, you will come across The Museum of American Finance.

Wall Street is made up of buildings and structures. Specifically known for being the financial district, located here is The Stock Exchange. Built in 1922, this twenty-three story building was designed by Trowbridge and Livingston Architects and is located on the corner of Wall Street. Another famous building located on Wall Street is the J.P Morgan & Co. Building- it was built in 1930 and is only four stories high. It is better known as the House of Morgan and is located on 23 Wall Street. The Federal Hall, also located on Wall Street was built in the 1700’s and was the first Capitol building of the United States of America. This was the site where George Washington was inaugurated.

Symbols, such as the George Washington Statue was built in front of the Federal Hall. Here is where George Washington took the oath of being the first president of America. The location of his statue is exactly where he made his inauguration speech. The Charging Bull Statue can be found near Wall Street. This 7,000-pound bull was designed and placed in Wall Street in 1989. It represents the Bull Market, another term for our capitalist and competitive economy. Zuccotti Park is also located in the financial district. Here, people can sit and eat or relax. During the “Occupy Wall Street” protests, this park was used as a campground for the protesters. Its location is important because it is also across the street from the World Trade Center. Construction workers and stock traders alike come together in this area to eat lunch, play chess, or watch street performances while feeding pigeons.


Wall Street is a year-round tourist attraction. Its location is near the World Trade Center and Trinity Church. So much has happened in this area, including George Washington’s inauguration, the Stock Market Crash, and the Occupy Wall Street movement. To build a gas station over this historic area is absurd. This area has been around since the 1700’s, and it has been an area for business and markets. Although there is a dearth of gas stations in Manhattan, Wall Street is not the place for it. Tourists give business to all the stores and stalls around there. With Wall Street gone, stores will lose business because the traffic of the area will decrease. Everyone will be in cars instead of walking around, and exploring Downtown Manhattan. Thus, people will be less inclined to buy something from a vendor, or to go walk into a store around that area. If you are in a car, it will be more difficult to stop and shop. In addition, Manhattan is already crowded with traffic, so putting a gas station in the area would increase the traffic and pollute the air. Walking is healthy and pollution-free. Encouraging people to walk instead of getting into cars promotes a healthy lifestyle for both the people and for the community.


Walking down Wall Street makes me feel like I’m standing in the middle of history. My sister went to the High School for Economics and Finance- blocks away from Wall Street. The streets are always packed with tourists and workers. Not only is it busy on the sidewalks, but also on the streets. Yellow cabs are all around as tourists need a way in getting around and so many cars and buses are around. Some buses are for tours around Manhattan. Along Wall Street, there are many stores and fast food restaurants that you can visit. Trinity Church is located at the base of Wall Street. This church was originally built in 1697. Trinity church was burnt and rebuilt about three times. Over the summer when I used to visit my sister at her high school, I would always visit Trinity Church. It is a very serene place where many people visit to sit, pray and appreciate the calmness. Outside of Trinity Church, there are many tables and chairs set up for people to have lunch or sit and relax. I found an interesting spot at the back of the church outside, where there were benches. I introduced my friends to the special spot and it became somewhat of a secret between my friends and I – this was a place that we hung out when we had free time, and it remains one of my most favorite places to go to until today.

Wall Street has been known as our financial district for years. The buildings and symbols are what make up Wall Street today. Tourists visit this area not only for the buildings around, but also for the historic meaning of this place. The history behind Wall Street is very interesting because of how it all started- with a wall literally standing to divide the Englishmen from the Native Americans.  If Wall Street were to become home to a gas station, life around the area would drastically change and people would fail to realize the beauty of the place, only seeing the area through the windows of their cars. What is now a place to admire would become more industrial and more polluted, causing environmental problems. Wall Street should remain as it is today, because it is a place where people from all over the world, rich and poor, can come together to appreciate what America has grown to be. Rich in history, the area stands today as one of the most popular places in the world.

Work Cited:

“A Brief History of Wall Street.” HistoryofWallStreet.net –. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2012.

“History of Wall Street.” History of Wall Street. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2012. <http://www.hermes-press.com/wshist1.htm>

Finder, Alan. “New York Stock Exchange Considers a Move, but Not From Manhattan: New York Stock Exchange Considers a Move.” N.p., 1996. Web. 16 Dec. 2012. <http://search.proquest.com.citytech.ezproxy.cuny.edu:2048/hnpnewyorktimes/docview/109582856/abstract/13B16DE2B5F7F061255/1?accountid=28313>.

This is the Charging Bull. It represents the Bull Market, which is another term for our capitalist economy.

Here is a picture of the New York Stock Exchange, located at 11 Wall Street.

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