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NYC Grid is a photo blog dedicated to exploring New York block-by-block and corner-by-corner. Each post covers a new street or feature with a focus on the mundane and ephemeral.

  

Entries in Financial District (22)

Tuesday
Nov262013

Before & After - The Federal Reserve Bank of New York

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after

The above photo is interactive. Drag the yellow handle in the middle to reveal more or less of the before or after image. Alternatively, you can simply click anywhere on the image to move the slider automatically.

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

Wednesday
Sep182013

Before & After - Broad Street & The New York Stock Exchange

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after

The above photo is interactive. Drag the yellow handle in the middle to reveal more or less of the before or after image. Alternatively, you can simply click anywhere on the image to move the slider automatically.

One of my favorite geographical fallacies is that of the New York Stock Exchange being on Wall Street. Sure, the building itself is right on the corner of Wall Street, but the main face and colonnade so often associated with the NYSE actually sits on Broad Street – a more impressive-looking street in my opinion, and one that often is misidentified as Wall. A more historic building, Federal Hall, sits on Wall Street proper and is visible from Broad. The steps of this building were the site of George Washington's first inauguration.


Photo source:  Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

Wednesday
Aug142013

Before & After - 23 Wall Street

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The above photo is interactive. Drag the yellow handle in the middle to reveal more or less of the before or after image.

If you're going to build something directly across from both the New York Stock Exchange and Federal Hall, you better make sure it can hold its own architecturally. At 100 years old this year, I don't think anyone would argue that 23 Wall St - The House of Morgan – is anything less than a staple of the Financial District. A bombing in 1920 left the limestone facade pockmarked from shrapnel. In recent years the classic building and its neighbor have been converted into a condo development.


Photo source:  Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division.

Monday
Aug122013

Before & After - Bowling Green

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after

The above photo is interactive. Drag the yellow handle in the middle to reveal more or less of the before or after image.

It may not be the most impressive, but at nearly 300 years old Bowling Green is the oldest public park in the City. Sitting at the southern-most tip of Broadway, the park offers little more than some benches, a fountain and some history. The park and the fence surrounding it are both on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. 

I thought I would be able to get a good photo that matched the angle of the original 1907 image by standing on the steps of the Custom House. Unfortunately from what I can tell, the original image was shot much further to the left than I was able to get.

Photo source:  Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division.

Friday
Aug132010

Stone St Between Broad St and Whitehall St

    

When I set out to walk down this block, I had blindly selected it based on the fact that I had heard people talking about its unique outdoor cafe seating and cobblestone surface. Imagine my disappointment when I realized I had picked the wrong segment of Stone Street (the part everyone talks about is two blocks away). But, I had made my choice and went ahead and took photos of this depressing block.

The block is fairly typical of this neighborhood – towering buildings with decaying bases and dirty sidewalks. The rare moment of sunlight trickling through is immediately curtailed by either construction canopies or rows of parked trucks. Both ends of this block are dead ends with huge buildings blocking thru-traffic. Walking down it you almost feel like you're on a movie set (you know, the type where you can't see infinitely down the street, usually due to the impracticability of building a ridiculously-long set?) that's easily escapable.


Tuesday
Aug102010

Broad St Between South St and Pearl St

   

Surrounded by the constant whirr of landing helicopters, the blaring horns of Governor's Island ferries and the thunderous hum of idling buses, it didn't take much to convince me to begin walking away from South Street. Though the views of the ferry terminals and the Brooklyn Bridge is quite picturesque, the convergence of land, sea and air transportation is a tad overwhelming.

Walking north, you can feel the scale of the Financial District overtake your senses. The shadows creep inward and the horizon disappears. Long vertical lines make up newer sky scrapers while burly stone work makes up the older ones. A single block of buildings, bound by Water, Pearl and Broad streets remains untouched by modern developers. This row of 17th and 18th century buildings is almost comically misplaced amongst the towering monoliths that surround it. You feel like you're looking at, not a real city block, but a diorama created by some skilled craftsmen to illustrate the diversity of Manhattan – condensed into a single scene. Surely it couldn't be real.