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Walking up Nassau Street past numerous, seemingly identical cross streets its easy to start to feel lost in the Financial District. Only with the help of landmarks like the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (on the right in today's photo) can one regain their bearings.
When you first approach the Federal Reserve (which is hard to miss; it takes up a whole city block), it's immediately apparent that this is an important place. The scale of the stone walls and the thickness of the iron bars across the first floor windows help create that impression. You may assume that like many old "banks" these architectural elements are vestiges from a bygone era. However, that's not the case. As anyone who's ever watched Die Hard 3: With A Vengeance can tell you, The Federal Reserve in NY holds more gold than anywhere in the world – including Fort Knox. The vault in the building's basmenet sits 50 feet below sea level, directly on Manhattan bedrock. This is partly because the combined weight of the gold (approximately 13,400,000 pounds) would far exceed the capacity of other foundations. Unfortunately for the United States and our economy, very little of the gold actually belongs to us, but rather is stored for free on behalf of other nations.
Photo source: Tom Riggle, Flickr