wall st

On Wall street

Gerry wanted to capture the sense of isolation in the financial district on Manhattan, a place where the buildings tower above you and the streets turning into dark alleys. As soon as he spotted the American International Building, which is now known as 70 Pine St, he knew he had found the perfect building for the print.

70 Pine Street

70 Pine Street has had many names in the past. It's also been known as the American International Building, 60 Wall Tower and originally it was known as the Cities Service Building. It's a 66-story high skyscraper and was built in 1931 to 1932.

The building went up during an era known as the New York skyscraper race, which is when many of the gothic-esque and spire-topped buildings in the city were built. When it was completed it was the third tallest building in the world after the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building.

It was the tallest building in Downtown Manhattan until the 1970s when the World Trade Center was built. After the 9/11 attacks it once again became the tallest building in the financial district and today it's the 73d tallest building in the world (if those sort of things are important to you).

The style of it has been described as a mountain with a snow cap, which makes it perfect for our purposes of capturing the giant buildings in this part of New York.

From slave markets to financial markets - the history of Wall Street

Wall Street itself isn't just synonymous with the financial district of New York, it is the financial district of the world. Not bad for an eight block long, 0,7 mile (1,1 kilometre) long street on Lower Manhattan. It's home to the New York Stock Exchange, the world's largest stock market and several other stock exchanges.

Like many other places in New York, Wall Street originally had a Dutch name, it was called de Waal Straat. Supposedly the name came from something as glamorous as an earth wall on the north side of the New Amsterdam settlement. But even in the olden days traders and merchants would gather along the wall to by and sell shares and bonds. Wall Street was at the time also a marketplace for slaves and became an official slave market in 1711.

A century later Wall Street was home to both businesses and homes. But the people living in the area started complaining that they couldn't get anything done because of the annoying and noisy traders. In the 1800s most of residents moved north to midtown and Wall Street started becoming the business district it is today.

Wall Street's heyday was the 1900s. That's when the skyscrapers started popping up and business was (more often than not) booming.

Today Wall Street has become associated with the the darker sides of the banking industry, the financial crash and 9/11. It can feel like a soulless place. But as you walk in the shadows of the giant skyscrapers it's worth remembering the boom years, the hope, the greed and the big thinking that created a place like this.

Our illustration

Lotta and Gerry found a good spot on the corner of Wall street and Front street to capture the American International Building. Gerry crouched down on the ground with the camera and tripod and waited for a suitable (and preferably suited) character to walk past. It was unusually quiet on Wall street that morning and in the end Lotta ran up to a well dressed man asking if he could walk past the camera.

After that Gerry spent many weeks tracing the outline of the buildings (and all those windows!). Finally he added some colour and shading to make the final print come together.