The History Lesson
Right around this time back in 1817, the New York Stock Exchange formally began. The New York Stock Exchange Closing Bell — wasn’t always a bell.
In the 19th century, a guy would bang a gavel to signal the end of the trading day. Later, it was a Chinese Gong. But in 1903, the exchange moved into a new building, with a giant gilded trading room 7 stories high. A gong wasn’t gonna cut it — they needed something loud.
Enter the bell. Or, rather, bells. There are four of them, which ring in unison in each of the exchange’s trading areas. They’re 18-inches across, they look kind of like big brass fire alarms and they’re priceless.
How come? Well, no one makes bells that big and loud anymore. Not brass ones, anyway. In fact, in the 1980s, when the Exchange ordered a backup replica bell? The company that built the originals had to bring workers out of retirement to make it. They were the only guys who knew how.
They never got to complete the replica, though. Because just as they started working on it — someone discovered a fifth bell. It’d been shoved in a crawl space above the trading floor 80 years earlier — and forgotten. Probably because at two feet wide — it was too loud to use anywhere except a war zone. Today it sits on the stock exchange wall with the volume cranked down.
For decades, ringing the closing bell was considered a rare honor. Reserved for dignitaries and CEO’s. Lately — not so much. Recent bell-ringers include Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Models — New Kids On The Block — and Spongebob Squarepants.
The Exchange Elixir
Mixed by Dave DiCerbo at Les Halles bistro, New York City.
In a shaker add:
- 2 oz. vodka
- 2 oz. St. Germaine
- fresh lemon and lime juice
- dash cranberry juice for color
- dash grapefruit juice
Add ice, shake and strain into chilled martini glass. Garnish with lemon peel. Avoid entirely when taking risks with other people’s money.