Follow the Money: How New York City Became the Financial Capital of the World

The economic history of NYC comes to life on this illuminating tour through Lower Manhattan

This walking tour explores the oldest parts of New York City and explains how a small Dutch settlement became the world’s financial capital. During our walk through Lower Manhattan, we discuss how New York started on its path to such a predominant role in the world economy and how it grew and evolved over four centuries.

We also explore how its role as a center of finance and the city’s local politics affected how this neighborhood looks today. This tour is a very popular part of a course that the guide teaches at New York University on urban real estate.

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Photo by Daniel Lloyd Blunk-Fernández.

Tour Highlights:

  • Bowling Green – the city’s oldest park
  • Wall Street’s major sites – including The New York Stock Exchange and Trinity Church
  • Federal Hall – where Washington was sworn in and the first Congress met
  • J.P. Morgan’s headquarters and the remnants of its bombing in 1920
  • The Federal Reserve Bank of New York – which contains the world’s largest stock of gold
  • The Equitable Building – the shape of which spurred the city’s first zoning code
  • The pocket park Occupy Wall Street called home in 2011
  • One World Trade Center – the most expensive office building ever built
  • The Oculus – the most expensive train station ever built
Lower Manhattan in 1660

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The Tour

The tour lasts about 2 hours and covers 1.5 miles. It starts at Bowling Green (we will send the exact meeting place when you sign up).



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Please contact us to set up a private tour!


Walking Tour: 2 hours


This tour is best suited for ages 16+

Howard Yaruss is an economist, professor, attorney, and activist who has taught a variety of courses on economics and business and currently teaches at NYU. Prior to teaching, he served as Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Radian Group, one of the largest guarantors of debt in the world. He graduated from Brown University, studied at the London School of Economics and earned a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He grew up in government-sponsored housing in Brooklyn, serves on his local community board (the Upper West Side of Manhattan), and is the author of Understandable Economics (Prometheus Books, 2022).

Prep for the Follow the Money Walking Tour by listening to Bowery Boys episodes: “How Wall Street Got Its Name” and “New York Stock Exchange”.