NEW YORK — German shepherds patrolled outside, concrete and metal
barricades formed a fortress around Wall Street, and the crackling
of police radios was one of the few interruptions to an otherwise
But trader Mark Feeley pushed past it all and took up his place on
the floor of the New York Stock Exchange again Wednesday, savoring
the familiarity of a place that has been his solace throughout the
“The best thing is getting back here and going back to being with
everybody on this trading floor,” said Feeley, a Morgan Stanley
trader who’s worked on the exchange for 26 years. “Because, I will
tell you, this is my second family down here.”
Feeley and all the other people who make Wall Street work paused to
mark the moment Wednesday when the World Trade Center fell, to
recount the stories of the friends they lost, to give thanks for
those who made it. Then, they got back to business.
But even as the nation’s financial heart again demonstrated its
resiliency, traders and brokers known for being brash and loud
turned quiet. The day reminds them, they said, that this place and
its people have changed.
Those feelings were echoed in the notes scribbled by mourners in
church’s registry book. “Peace to all Men,” one wrote. “Thank You
God For All Our Blessings,” wrote another.
The music from the service — a Schubert string quintet — mixed
with the roar of commuter buses pouring into downtown, as workers
arrived for a delayed opening of stock trading. On the streets in
the financial district, many people were silent, some bowing their
People who know the area say the pulse of the financial district
has been altered by what happened.
“When I first came back here, they were still pulling out bodies
and the sounds and smells were devastating,” said Andrea Moxey,
who left her job at a firm just down the street from the exchange
within weeks of the attacks because she couldn’t bear to spend
every day in Lower Manhattan.
On Wednesday, though, she passed through the district, and noted
that even a year hasn’t been enough to change the way she feels.
That sense of foreboding also continues to weigh on investors,
Stocks retreated Wednesday on extremely light volume, a reminder
of a year in which the markets have been dragged down by reaction
to the attacks, then to a flurry of corporate scandals and because
of lingering doubts about an economic rebound.
The fact that investors continue to worry about terrorism is just
one more reminder to Wall Street about what took place just blocks
away, traders said.
“Getting through every day helps psychologically,” said Ted Weisberg
of Seaport Securities, staking out space in a sea of traders on the
NYSE floor. “Trading stock every day is very emotional. You have to
deal with emotions and you have to learn to keep those emotions
outside when you walk into the building.”
Others who work on Wall Street, though, said Wednesday’s ceremony
at Ground Zero, the two minutes of silence observed on the floor
of the NYSE and the completion of a year, were an important step
in moving on.
It wasn’t easy, though. In the moments before trading began at noon
Wednesday, trader John Pickett spoke of the three friends caught
in the south tower before the second plane hit. One made it out.
The others, who ventured back upstairs to retrieve a cell phone
and a computer, when a mistaken all-clear signal was given, perished.
“A lot of people down here on the floor lost a lot of colleagues, a
lot of friends,” he said. “Today really brings some closure.”
He and other traders erupted in loud applause when New York Mayor
Michael Bloomberg, Governor George Pataki, former Mayor Rudy
Giuliani and Harvey Pitt, the chairman of the Securities and
Exchange Commission, walked on to the floor of the NYSE.
And they cheered minutes later as New York City Policeman Daniel
Rodriguez sang the last words of the Star Spangled Banner, and
officials sounded the opening bell.
Wednesday may remind Wall Street of what it lost, but Thursday it
will move on, the people who work here assured themselves, because
it is a captive of its own inertia.
“I’m sure it will be back again tomorrow. It has to be,” said Chris
Wurtz, an employee at Deutsche Bank, pondering the future over a
cigarette. “What choice do we have?”
Copyright © 2006 The Reno Gazette-Journal