R, W at Rector St.; 4, 5 at Wall St.; 2, 3 at Wall St.; J, M, Z at Broad St.; 1 at Rector St.
Perhaps no building symbolizes America's capitalist ethic as readily as the New York Stock Exchange. George B. Post's million-dollar landmark structure opened its doors for trading on April 22, 1903. On what has come to be the most recognizable Wall Street exterior, six massive Corinthian columns (draped today by a giant American flag) are topped by a pedimental sculpture entitled Integrity Protecting the Works of Man. (The original 90-ton version was replaced in 1936 with a durable lead-coated reproduction.) Designed by sculptor John Quincy Adams Ward, human forms representing Agriculture and Mining (at right) and Science, Industry and Invention (on the left) symbolize the sources of American prosperity. The forms flank a central 22-foot corpus of Integrity. Surrounding ocean waves portray the far-reaching influence of the Exchange. Inside, the cluttered stock floor sits beneath marbled walls and 95-foot windows, which splash the entire trading area with light. Not that anyone on the hive-like floor is paying much attention. As volatile stock prices rise and fall, maybe the solidity of the building itself makes it easier for traders to stomach the fortunes lost and gained on any given day.Extra
To get a taste of the NYSE's frenzied trading floor—closed to the public after 9/11—head to Wall Street for the morning rush before the 9:30 a.m. opening bell.
Tours for the public were suspended after 9/11, but educational groups should contact the NYSE's Educational Services Department.