The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), often called “The Big Board,” is the largest stock exchange in the world by dollar volume and ranks second in the number of companies listed on its exchange.

The exchange is located in Manhattan at 11 Wall Street (between Broad & New), but actually consists of five building, or “rooms,” that are used for trading. The main building (18 Broad Street, between Wall Street & Exchange Place) is a National Historic Landmark.

The roots of the NYSE reach back to 1792 at the Buttonwood Agreement. From that agreement, named for the buttonwood tree that it was signed beneath, the current concept of trading grew. The exchange’s current location is not far from its original location at 40 Wall Street, but the building, like the system of trading, has grown exponentially since the beginning.

When I first walked by the exchange, a couple of things raced through my mind. First, I thought about our whole capitalistic system, and what part the exchange played in all of that. Then, I thought about the movies that portrayed a frenzy on the trading floor (“Wall Street” and “Trading Places”). Then, I wondered if any of that was true — so I stood outside the door, hoping that when someone went in or out, that I’d be able to see something. No luck!

Unfortunately, and due to heightened security restrictions, the exchange no longer offers public tours. A call to their public office reaches a recording that says that it is closed to tours indefinitely, and that they are not taking appointments. That number is (212) 656-5168.

For now, you’ll have to content yourself with a walk by this historical location, and maybe if you stand around long enough, you’ll get a glimpse at what’s inside.

The exchange can be reached by subway: 2, 3, 4, or 5 to Wall Street, or the N, R, or W to Rector.


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