Last week I answered the call to travel to New York and visit the ‘Big Apple’ for my very first time. It had been something I had wanted to do for a long time, and the catalyst came along, the invitation for me to book the trip. I stayed in a hotel at the foot of Wall Street, near the waterfront, about four blocks from the destination where I had registered for some investor education.
Have you ever been to New York? If not, there’s nothing like it I have ever experienced. You’ve heard of the crowded sidewalks as people flow past each other, in a steady stream. As I walked to 2 Wall Street, basically across the street from the New York Stock Exchange, one morning I actually passed Jim Cramer, the talking head on CNBC’s The Street. You could tell he was lost in his own thoughts as he plowed straight ahead, moving within the stream of faces.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to trade stocks with the pros? That is what I did, in what they called “the Cage”. There was a chatter they kept up all day as the excitement of the day’s events and stock movements took place. I got my education all right, from some of the best. It was a good week of learning and doing, visiting the places I had never been, meeting new people and seeing the lifestyle of New Yorkers.
My first day upon arriving to the offices of Shines Room, I noticed a huge police presence with steel barriers blocking thru traffic on Wall Street in the block immediately surrounding the New York Stock Exchange. I realized later that it was the necessary by-product of the total disruption of business as usual by the Occupy Wall Street crowd a couple of months ago. Now there is still a small contingent of hangers-on folks who have nothing better to do than sit in the cold and mock the people earning a living who pass by. I quickly grew tired of their presence and pondered the public cost of police crowd control to maintain order in the streets.
I was able to visit the National September 9/11 Memorial where the Freedom Towers are being built. The first phase of this impressive Memorial will officially be completed later this year, but is open now for visitors who must pass through tight security, as you can imagine. There are two big open water features in the shape of the foundations where the World Trade Center Towers sat, and water flows down the walls to the floor some 30 feet below. The entire border of both water features is framed in a bronze memorial where all the peoples names are inscribed who died in this tragic attack. It was unforgettable and humbling to witness.When the Memorial is completed, the eight acre site will hold four enormous office buildings. Building 4 World Trade Center, under construction now, will (planned, not yet built) will rise 1,776 and when completed, will be the tallest building in the entire United States.
It has been a decade of healing for our country and for those who were affected directly by this terrorist attack. It’s clear to me that New York and America will not be defeated or denied, and this will forever be a memory of our tragedy and the triumph to overcome it.
Leaving New York to catch my plane on Friday afternoon will be the follow on post because it was a rush that I’ll never forget, (to be continued).