Looking Up the Length of Wall Street

Looking up Wall Street

Last week I visited Wall Street. I took the above picture standing down by the river underneath FDR Drive looking up the entire length of Wall Street, which terminates at Trinity Church, its steeple visible at the end.

Map of Wall Street

On this map you can see where I stood at the beginning of the red arrow, taking the photograph up the “canyon” of Wall Street. Trinity Church is at the top of the hill, about half way across the tip of Manhattan, at the green arrow of this map. The whole length of Wall Street is only about 0.7 miles long.

There are several different stories about why the street is named Wall Street. The most popular one is that there was a wall in the 1600s that separated the city from the wilderness and kept the Indians out.


This picture [public domain] comes from Wikipedia. Click to enlarge and you see a map of 1660, showing a wall on the right side of the city across the island.

Here is a picture [public domain] of Wall Street showing what it looked like in 1789, when Washington was inaugurated there. In the back you see Trinity Church.


The point where I was standing when I took the picture at the top of this post, at the very end of Wall Street, down by the water, is where the slave market used to be. The upstanding citizens of New York went there to buy slaves. They separated mothers from their small children, husbands from their wives, just for commercial gain. This went on from 1625 well into the 1800s. When I stood at the very spot, I tried to sense the ghosts of anguish, injustice and greed, I attempted to feel how a slave would have felt, just off the ship from Liberia after a harrowing journey in chains – facing a hopeless life.

Today I had dinner at a Panera Restaurant in a large shopping area in the suburban sprawl of Southern California, when I suddenly realized that the entire length of Wall Street would probably fit into the parking lot of the huge shopping mall where I was sitting.

Worlds away from Wall Street.

Visiting New York City

Today I spent a day in New York City. I visited the Museum of Natural History, and was astonished about the wealth of exhibits. It includes of the largest collections of dinosaur fossils in the world, the largest meteorite in the world exhibited, and seemingly endless collections of ancient art and artifacts. I was particularly impressed with the exhibits of the evolution of the human species. It reminded me of how long in the making we have been and how far we have come, and it made me think about how dangerous and disruptive we have become as a species going forward. What will natural history museums 1,000 years from now show about us?

When I had some extra time, I went downtown and checked on the World Trade Center.

One World Trade Center

One World Trade Center now has its antenna, and with a height of 1,776 feet, it is the highest building in the United States by far. The World Trade Center dominates the Manhattan skyline again. The crane at the top shows there is still construction going on. This is 12 years after 9/11.

Then I went to Bryant Park – it seems there are always protests.

Protest about Turkey

This time there were many activists showing signs about Turkey, wrapping themselves in the Turkish flag, performing chants and dancing in drum circles. It seemed peaceful enough. It was fun to watch for a while

Police is Watching

But that was only appearances. Turning around the other way, you can see police lining the entire periphery of the park. There were literally hundreds of officers surrounding the area. Dozens of police vehicles were parked in the surrounding streets, some of which were closed to traffic.

Wall Street

A couple of blocks away, all was quiet on Wall Street. The statue on the left marks the place where George Washington took the oath of office for President in 1789.

From Financial District

As I was walking north from Wall Street, finding a subway station to go back to Grand Central Station, I looked west and got a nice view of One World Trade Center in the background, framed by the tall buildings of the financial district.