What Is Wall Street? Location, Importance & Job Types

Wall Street may not be very long, but some of the world’s most influential financial institutions are headquartered here.

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What Is Wall Street? Why Is It Famous?

Visit Wall Street in New York City, and you’ll find the world’s largest stock exchange by market cap, the New York Stock Exchange. Bounded by Broadway to the west and the East River to the east, Wall Street may be only eight blocks long, but it’s filled with gilded-age skyscrapers that are home to dozens of commercial banks, insurance companies, and even the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Wall Street once had an actual wall along its northern border in the 17th century, but today, its boundaries have blurred. It’s now known for being the heartbeat of New York’s financial district—and the power center of the financial world.

Aside from its physical boundaries, Wall Street is also a state of mind since people often use the term when referring to the stock markets and trading activity in general. To many people, Wall Street represents economic power and perhaps a sense of elitism, since the white-collar workers who inhabit Wall Street help to run a capitalistic engine that never seems to stop churning out profits.

Where Is Wall Street Located? What’s On It?

“Wall Street is the only place that people ride to in a Rolls Royce to get advice from those who take the subway.” —Warren Buffett

It’s true that public transportation is the main method of getting around in New York City, and three subway stations empty onto Wall Street: Wall Street, Broad Street, and Wall Street at William Street. On any given day, you will also find yellow taxis parked outside of buildings, meters running, horns blaring, and the ubiquitous congestion in the streets .

Wall Street itself is located in the Financial District of Lower Manhattan. It’s a walkable neighborhood that once grew deserted when the sun set but has recently gained a new moniker due to its relentless development projects: The New Downtown. Its notable attractions range from the historic sailing vessels and cobblestoned streets of the Seaport, at its southern end, to the glitzy new World Trade Center complex and transportation hub known as the Oculus—an eye-catching feat of modern engineering.

The area also boasts upscale restaurants, brand-new luxury hotels, and museums like the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, giving visitors plenty of reasons to stick around—even after the stock market’s closing bell.

Who Works on Wall Street? What Do They Do?

The financial industry has many components: Investors buy and sell shares of stocks and other assets on stock exchanges, while investment banks facilitate IPOs, mergers, and acquisitions—to list a few. There are a number of financial firms headquartered on Wall Street, such as Citibank, Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan Chase, and Goldman Sachs, while nearby can be found the New York Mercantile Exchange and the American Stock Exchange. Still other financial institutions have expanded into offices in Midtown Manhattan, while even more have branched out to locations in New Jersey.

Three thousand people alone work on the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange; in total, Wall Street’s firms are estimated to employ 9% of the city’s workforce, or roughly 180,000 workers. According to CNBC, the average salary for a Wall Street securities broker was $434,000 in 2020—nearly five times higher than the national average.

Other types of Wall Street jobs include:

AuditorHedge Fund ManagerFinancial AnalystLoan ProcessorFinancial AdviserMarketing Manager

Where Is the Charging Bull Statue on Wall Street?

The Charging Bull, also known as the Wall Street Bull, is a 3-ton sculpture cast in bronze that depicts a bull in battle and is known as Wall Street’s emblem. It was created by artist Arturo di Modica after the 1987 stock market crash. He installed it in front of the New York Stock Exchange as a way to inspire traders to think positively—after all, a bull market is one that creates profits. Currently, it is located at the intersection of Broadway and State Street, across from Battery Park.

Where Is the Fearless Girl Statue on Wall Street?

The Fearless Girl statue was installed in front of Charging Bull in honor of International Women’s Day on March 7, 2017. Created by Kristen Visbal and commissioned by State Street Global Advisors, the four-foot sculpture stood in defiance of the bull and served as an icon of female empowerment.

Interestingly, the Fearless Girl also served as an advertisement of the State Street’s SPDR, MSCI Gender Diversity ETF, which was launched in tandem with the statue’s unveiling. Its ticker symbol, fittingly, is SHE. After di Modica complained that the new statue was an “advertising trick” that devalued his work, Fearless Girl was moved to its new home, in front of the New York Stock Exchange, in 2018.

Is Wall Street Open Today?

Trading hours for stock markets such as the New York Stock Exchange, the American Stock Exchange, and the Nasdaq, are 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The markets are closed in observance of all federal holidays and also close at 1 p.m. on Christmas Eve, the Monday before Independence Day, and the day after Thanksgiving.

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