Today marks the 100th anniversary of the 1920 Wall Street Bombing, the second worst terrorist attack in New York City history that killed 38 people and injured hundreds of others. A memorial event organized by The Hundred Year Association of New York, a non-profit organization that recognizes those dedicated to public service, will be held today at 11:30 AM at the very site of the explosion — 23 Wall Street across from Federal Hall. During the event, Brian Andersson, the city’s former Archives Commissioner who spearheads the memorial, will read the names of those killed. “I’ve known this fact about my hometown my whole life and decided that it should be commemorated properly,” Andersson told Untapped New York yesterday. “As there were no plans by anyone to do something, I’ve taken it upon myself.”
On September 16, 1920, as business clerks on Wall Street were heading out for lunch at noon, a horse-drawn cart parked at the corner of Wall and Broad Streets, in front of the U.S. Assay Office and across from the J. P. Morgan building, exploded into metal fragments, immediately killing more than 30 people and injuring 300 some, according to the FBI.
The police ultimately decided that the bombing was an act of terrorism committed by Italian anarchists and communist sympathizers who wanted to destroy the heart of American capitalism. However, the evidence was scant, with the only promising one being a letter carrier containing anarchist flyers found by the police prior to the explosion. After interrogating thousands of people and arresting many political radicals, communists, and anarchists of foreign origin, the FBI and the Secret Service dropped the case in 1940, without convicting any suspects with the crime.