New York is home to the financial district of the U.S., including Wall Street. The name Wall Street is synonymous with the American Financial system. The name “Wall Street” is thought to be derived from the Dutch name “de Waal Straat” – an earthen wall on the edge of a colonial settlement in that location. In the late 1600s, a 12 ft stockade wall was erected to protect the settlement. It was the location of trade and business as well as the first official slave market of the region.
In 1789 it was the scene of George Washington’s first presidential inauguration. In the 19th and 20th century it became one of the first construction sites for skyscrapers and heavy commerce.
Currently Wall Street is where the New York Stock exchange and several other financial headquarters including the NASDAQ, New York Board of Trade, and New York Mercantile Exchange reside. Visitors coming to Wall Street may see such notable buildings as The Trump Building, the New York Stock Exchange, Federal Hall, Trinity Church, and the Bankers Trust Company building.
One highlight of the street is the Federal Reserve tour. Visitors register online to get a short video presentation about the reserve and then a visit to the vault that has a 180,000-pound rotating cylinder door, behind which are hundreds of bars of gold. Wall Street also connects to the site of the former World Trade Center, now the site of One World Trade Center and the 9/11 Memorial.