Home of the New York Stock Exchange, Wall Street conjures scenes of frantic traders yelling 'Sell'and Gordon Gekko types espousing 'Greed is good'all set to the '70s funk tune 'For the Love of Money'. The centre of US capitalism, the intersection of Wall and Broad Streets in the Financial District is where one billion shares are traded daily.
The grand frontage of the Neoclassical-style New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) building is located on 20 Broad Street with the imposing sight of six Corinthian columns supporting a pediment with the sculpture titled 'Integrity Protecting the Works of Man'. Built in 1903, brokers still trade on the floor but as it's computerised, the frenzied yelling happens at the nearby New York Mercantile Exchange on Vesey Street which deals in gold, gas and oil. Post-9/11, neither of these buildings are accessible to the public due to security concerns however you can wander around outside. If you are keen for a crash course in stocks and bonds, consider the Wall Street Insider Tour. For US$35 for adults and free for kids under 15, this 90-minute guided tour is helmed by Wall Street insiders offering firsthand accounts and info on the Financial District.
Other notable historic and financial buildings in the area include the Federal Reserve Bank of New York at 33 Liberty Street, which was built in 1924 and said to hold 25% of the world's gold bullion in a vault 15m below sea level. Free, 45-minute, pre-booked guided tours are available of the facilities from Monday to Friday between 11.15am and 3pm. For Finance 101, head to Museum of American Finance in a historic bank building at 48 Wall Street. The museum is open from 10am to 4pm from Tuesday to Saturday to answer any niggling questions about that fiscal cliff. Adult tickets are US$8, US$5 for students and free for kids under six years.
To visit New York's Financial District, take subway lines 2, 3, 4 or 5 to Wall Street. From here, it's a two-minute walk down Wall Street to the corner of Broad Street and the New York Stock Exchange.