Wall Street Culture

December 3, 2008

By Tatyana Shumsky

To get a real sense of how much Wall Street culture changed, I went out to the Museum of American Finance, located at 48 Wall St.

Here, exhibits show the evolution of Wall Street, from a rowdy market where paper share certificates changed hands as street urchins ran buy and sell orders from investors to their brokers, to the more orderly tech-mess we see on TV today. There are separate sections on each of the capital markets, showing how bonds, stocks, and commodities developed, what a pork belly actually looks like, and the way a treasury bond evolved. The exhibit on trading technology goes all the way back to using career pidgeons and telegraph tape to broadcast market news and update stock prices, to the introduction of FM receivers and the Bloomberg machine for electronic trading.