A Rare Look Inside The New York Stock Exchange

The New York Stock Exchange used to be a major attraction for tourists and curious locals alike. From 1939 to 2001, pretty much anyone could pop into the trading floor to glimpse the hustle and bustle of high finance. That’s how this legendary prank in 1967 could even take place. But these days, paying visits to the trading floor has become a rare commodity. The NYSE closed its doors to the public just after 9/11 and didn’t open them up again.

Until just recently. The Ultimate Wall Street Experience escorted some of the Downtown Alliance’s staff on a bright and early morning by checking in at the security booth on Wall and Broad Streets. Once inside, coats checked and fancy golden name tags donned, we got to explore the inner workings of this centuries-old institution, from the founding document that created the New York Stock Exchange, The Buttonwood Agreement, signed under a buttonwood tree back in 1792 …

… to the golden-crested original trading floor — with a Fabergé urn in the corner (the largest piece ever created by the jeweler of those iconic gem-encrusted eggs) …

… to vintage ticker-tape machines …

… and maps of Lower Manhattan past.

At 9:15, we were ushered into the modern-day trading floor, stationed with dozens of news crews, for the market’s opening bell, which rang out at 9:30 to wide applause. Even those among us a bit critical of capitalism enjoyed such an iconic New York City ritual.