Wall Street is an eight-block-long street in the Financial District of Lower Manhattan in New York City.
It runs between Broadway in the west to South Street and the East River in the east.
The term “Wall Street” has become a metonym for the financial markets of the United States as a whole, the American financial services industry, New York–based financial interests, or the Financial District itself.
Wall Street is home to the world’s two largest stock exchanges by total market capitalization, the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ.
However, the beating heart of Wall Street, the New York Stock Exchange, is technically not on Wall Street at all – Its main building — a 1903 Neo-Classical structure of white marble—has a street address of 18 Broad Street. An adjacent annex, constructed in 1922, is located at 11 Wall Street, though, and there’s another subsidiary building at 20 Broad Street. Together, these three buildings fill the block bounded by Wall Street on the north, Broad Street on the East, Exchange Place on the south, and New Street on the
Wall Street’s architecture is generally rooted in the Gilded Age. The older skyscrapers often were built with elaborate facades, which have not been common in corporate architecture for decades. There are numerous landmarks on Wall Street, some of which were erected as the headquarters of banks.
The name of the street originates from an actual wall that was built in the 17th century by the Dutch, who were living in what was then called New Amsterdam. The 4-meter (12-foot) wall was built to protect the Dutch against attacks from pirates and various Native American tribes, and to keep other potential dangers out of the establishment.
Costing the settlement 5,000 guilders and constructed from 4.5.meter (15-foot) planks and dirt, the wall was 715 meters (2,340 feet) long and 2.7 meters (9 feet) tall. It featured cannons and spanned between two gates, one located at what is now the corner of Wall Street and Pearl Street, and the other on Wall Street and Broadway. Called “de Waal Straat,” the earthen part of the structure came from earlier fortifications built to defend against possible attacks by Native Americans and pirates. The labor on the wall is believed to have been performed by slaves.
After a half century, the wall fell into disrepair and was slated for demolishment but was instead restored in 1693 in fear of a French invasion. It was finally demolished in 1699.
Given its proximity to New York’s ports, the Wall Street area became a bustling center of trade in the 1700s.
During the 17th century, Wall Street was a slave trading marketplace and a securities trading site, as well as the location of Federal Hall, New York’s first city hall.
In the late 18th century, there was a buttonwood tree at the foot of Wall Street under which traders and speculators would gather to trade securities. The benefit was being in proximity to each other. In 1792,
traders formalized their association with the Buttonwood Agreement which was the origin of the New York Stock Exchange. The idea of the agreement was to make the market more “structured” and “without the manipulative auctions”, with a commission structure. Persons signing the agreement agreed to charge each other a standard commission rate – persons not signing could still participate but would be charged a higher commission for dealing.
In 1789, Wall Street was the scene of the United States’ first presidential inauguration when George Washington took the oath of office on the balcony of Federal Hall on April 30, 1789.
The opening of the Erie Canal in the early 19th century meant a huge boom in business for New York City, since it was the only major eastern seaport which had direct access by inland waterways to ports on the Great Lakes. Wall Street became the “money capital of America”.
In 1882, the first electricity plant in the world is launched on Pearl Street by Thomas Edison in order to power 7,200 lamps on Wall Street.
On July 8, 1889, the Wall Street Journal debuted with a two-cent cover price, published by Dow Jones & Company. Its most popular feature was the “Dow-Jones Industrial Average,” an index that charted the stock performance.
In the 20th century, several early skyscrapers were built on Wall Street, including 40 Wall Street, once the world’s tallest building.
Trinity Church is a historic parish church in the Episcopal Diocese of New York, at the intersection of Wall Street and Broadway in the Financial District of Lower Manhattan in New York City.
Charging Bull, sometimes referred to as the Wall Street Bull or the Bowling Green Bull, is a bronze sculpture that stands on Broadway just north of Bowling Green in the Financial District of Manhattan in New York City. The 3,200-kilogram (7,100-pound) bronze sculpture, standing 3.4 m (11 feet) tall and measuring 4.9 m (16 feet) long, depicts a bull, the symbol of aggressive financial optimism and prosperity. Charging Bull is a popular tourist destination that draws thousands of people a day, symbolizing Wall Street and the Financial District.