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New York Daily Photo: New York Stock Exchange
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Tuesday, 19 June 2007

New York Stock Exchange

The first thing to know about the New York Stock Exchange building is that it is not located on Wall Street (click here for photo), but around the corner at 18 Broad. The New York Stock Exchange (the world's largest) traces its origins to 1792, when 24 New York City stockbrokers and merchants signed the Buttonwood Agreement outside 68 Wall Street under a buttonwood tree. In 1817 they drafted its first constitution. By the late 1800s larger facilities were needed and 8 NYC architects were invited to participate in a design competition for a new building. George B. Post's neo-Classical design won and in 1903 the new Exchange building with its six massive Corinthian columns opened to fanfare and festivity, recognized from the first as an example of masterful architecture (note - the flag was draped in front of the building after 9/11). Among some of its marvels (from the New York Stock Exchange website): The trading floor was one of the grandest spaces in the nation. It measured 109 x 140 feet and its marble walls rise 72 feet to meet the ornate gilt ceiling. The window wall: The entire front of the building is glass, making practically one stupendous window, 96 feet long and 50 feet high. Another window of the same size forms the New Street front. Skylight: The trading floor is surmounted by a vast skylight, 30 feet square. Air conditioning: The Stock Exchange building was one of the first structures in the world to employ it. There is even an emergency hospital with a physician in constant attendance. The great figural sculptures in marble on the NYSE building’s facade were designed by John Quincy Adams Ward and are among the building’s most recognizable features (click here). Entitled “Integrity Protecting the Works of Man”, the classical design depicts the 22 foot figure of Integrity in the center, with Agriculture and Mining to her left and Science, Industry and Invention on her right, representing the sources of American prosperity. The waves on either extreme of the pediment symbolize the ocean-to-ocean influence of the Exchange (the pediment required replacement in 1936). In 1967, Yippie founder and activist Abbie Hoffman threw dollar bills on the trading floor to proclaim the Death of Money. It never came to pass :)


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