Wall Street tour reveals a turbulent history of finance

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The enduring symbols of Wall Street’s fabled, turbulent history are inescapable on this walk through the epicenter of American capitalism.

Over there, at 23 Wall, is the former headquarters of J.P. Morgan’s banking dynasty, its granite facade still scarred by pockmarks from a terrorist bomb that killed 33 people in 1920. A block away, a skyscraper at 48 Wall occupies the site of the city’s first bank, founded by Alexander Hamilton in 1784. Names like Rockefeller, Roosevelt and Goldman Sachs are invoked at almost every turn.

The past, as outlined during a recent three-hour “Great Wall Street Crashes Walking Tour,” takes on greater meaning in the current economic crisis — an ongoing story of boom and bust, bull markets and bailouts, recessions and recoveries.

October historically being the cruelest month on Wall Street, emphasis is on the October 1929 stock market crash that triggered the Great Depression and a decade of Dickensian deprivation for many Americans, that ended only with World War II.

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