There is a tourist site in New York City that not only is that it’s exclusive but free … but also that they give you money to visit them. I am not kidding … not at all … and I mean American Dollars, the greenback. Not every Tom, Dick and Harry who wants to visit this place can just walk in here.
The place is the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Over a month before we left for this vacation, we sent in an application to visit the Federal Reserve Bank. They came back a few weeks later with a very impressive formal letter authorizing our visit at a given date and time which they enforce very strictly. If you are late by just 1 minute, sorry dude. So, we woke up early, skipped breakfast and went straight to the entrance of the fortress like Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
There are actually a total of 12 Federal Reserve Banks in the US but the one here in New York is the most important of them all and the largest in terms of assets.
Security was darn tight. They only clear one person at a time. First they check our IDs and official invitation at the door. Once checked OK, they shout our names to the next security level who cross check their list before they let us through to the secondary security check. Only when one is cleared the secondary check does the next visitor is processed. Granted too, photography is strictly prohibited. So, sorry, no pictures of the insides.
The interior is simply beautiful. It was so sparkling clean that even the lockers where we were to stash our bags looked many times classier than those you find in a 5-star hotel. We learned a lot about money, money and money. The exhibition area were very comprehensive and even include one of the remaining dozen $20 Double Eagle coins in the world. It last changed hands for $8 million dollars.
The best part of the tour was when they took us way down into the basement. It was something like 6-7 stories underground and below sea level where the infamous gold vault are located. This is where the largest collection of the world’s gold reserve is kept. We saw all the gold and it was amazing to see it for our own eyes. Security is like what you find in the movies. You know how thick is the vault door? 15 feet thick! And moreover it is completely airtight. If you get locked in the vault, there is no way for you to get out because it is timed and you better pray to God that there are enough air in there to last until the door reopens again.
And the workers there all wears steel boots … no, not like those that people wear in construction site. The ones here are real steel boots and you know why? It’s because often the heavy gold ingots does fall and if one just land on your feet, you can betcha your toes will be gone.
At the end of the tour they gave each of us 50 bucks. And it is real money too … well … except that they were all shredded!
If you are visiting New York, you should consider applying for an invitation to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. If you love money, you will come out from this visit loving money more. I love money and I love money more now. Oh … money … glorious mooooneeeeey!!!
After the Federal Reserve Bank visit which took almost 2 hours, we walked to the Federal House and the NYSE. Suanne had an afinity to this place because she used to work as a IS Asst. Manager in a stockbroking firm in Malaysia. Coming to see the NYSE is like going to Mecca for her.