Financial DistricT

23 Wall Street

On a wall of the J.P. Morgan & Co. building, just across from the Stock Exchange, you can see the scars from a terrible event. A bomb was detonated just before noon on September 16, 1920. It was probably left by an anarchist; this note was found just before the 100 pounds of dynamite exploded:

"Remember we will not tolerate any longer. Free the political prisoners or it will be sure death for all ofyou. American Anarchists Fighters."

It was a gruesome scene, 33 died, about 400 wounded. Despite an extensive investigation, nobody was ever charged with the crime.

Today, you can still clearly see the pock marks from the blast on the wall of the building.
In spite of the awfulness of this event, I'm fascinated by places where you can see a physical mark on the landscape caused by historical events. (Another good example is the Bowling Green fence, where you can see 200 year old saw-marks- look on the 'Bowling Green' page of this site.)
Wall Street is still a place where people feel threatened. Right across the street, heavily-armed police are permanently stationed, guarding the Stock Exchange.


There are a lot of things in Manhattan that look like historic cast-iron, but are really modern reproductions. Most of the street lamps that look like cast-iron, for example, are not. The Wall Street subway entrance on the 4 & 5 train is the real deal. It was designed by George Heins and Christopher Grant LaFarge, and is a century-old remnant of the original 1904 Subway.
The Canyon of Heroes
This is the southern end of Broadway. I love looking up into Manhattan from here- the beginnings of the tall, narrow, dark urban canyons. This is where they give the ticker tape parades- like this one, on the right, for golfer Bobby Jones in 1926. That curving building on the right, below, is the Standard Oil Building. A friend of mine pointed out how the bottom of the building curves to conform to the contours of the old cow-path streets of the Dutch, while the top of the building (with the scaffolding) twists to align itself with the rigid grid of upper Manhattan.
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