Wall Street, near New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), is the epicenter of global finance, a bustling hub of investment banking and stock trading that has gained global recognition as an iconic symbol of capitalism and wealth. Since 1792, Wall Street has been home to NYSE, making it the longest-running financial marketplace in the world.
The densely packed streets around Wall Street are filled with high-profile companies, banks, law firms, and hedge funds—all looking to profit from their investments.
The History of Wall Street
The origin of Wall Street dates back to the 17th century when Dutch settlers founded New Amsterdam, which would later become New York City. The colony's early economy was based on trade, with the Dutch West India Company establishing the first commercial exchange in Lower Manhattan in 1652. The Dutch erected a wall along the northern border of the colony to protect it from British invaders, naming the street next to the wall Wall Street.
In the 18th century, Wall Street became the center of American finance, with Alexander Hamilton establishing the Bank of New York in 1784, followed by NYSE in 1792. Wall Street quickly became the heart of the US financial system, and the stock exchange began to attract wealthy investors.
Throughout the 19th century, Wall Street continued to flourish as a financial hub, with the establishment of new financial institutions and the expansion of businesses. In 1863, the National Banking Act was introduced, leading to the creation of a national banking system and the regulation of banks. Due to the centralization of money in New York, many of the country's largest banks and financial institutions set up shops in the area, further cementing Wall Street's position as the financial capital of the US.
In recent times, Wall Street has undergone significant changes due to technological advancements and global economic conditions. The demand for digital trading platforms has increased, triggering the emergence of fintech start-ups. The area is still home to international financial services firms such as Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, and Citigroup.
What to See on Wall Street
Visitors to Wall Street can experience the hustle and bustle of the financial district first-hand with a visit to the NYSE. The trading floor is open for self-guided tours, with visitors watching traders in action and learning about how stocks are traded.
Other attractions include:
- Federal Hall National Memorial. Built over George Washington's inauguration site, and now serves as a museum honoring America's first president.
- Trinity Churchyard Cemetery. One of New York City's oldest cemeteries.
- Wall Street Bull. A sculpture that symbolizes the financial success of Wall Street.
The area also has many great restaurants—several providing breathtaking views of Lower Manhattan from their rooftops. Those who want to shop can find luxury goods and souvenirs at Tiffany & Co. and Hermes stores. Additionally, there are a lot of interesting galleries, museums, and statues to explore in the area.
Whatever your interests, you will find something special on Wall Street.