Wall Street

Reflections on New York

Richard and Gary reflecting on New York

Richard and Gary reflecting on New York

New York City. Gary and I were in New York to see the Gary Winogrand show at the Met and see what Manhattanhenge was all about. We had a great day, walking all over the city taking pictures of all sorts of things. Now it’s going to take us a while to sort through the images and get them posted. This small collection is my start: various reflections and shadows from around the city.

Richard reflecting on Wall Street

Richard reflecting on Wall Street

Gary shooting up

Gary shooting up

Ground Zero balloon sculpture reflections

Ground Zero balloon sculpture reflections

Richard and Gary shooting 1 World Trade Center

Richard and Gary shooting 1 World Trade Center

The Wall Street Code

I first posted on vpro digital’s excellent documentary Money and Speed: Inside the Black Box a year ago. This is their new piece on the people who design the black boxes, a group of people called “quants.”

This new piece is also is a very well produced one hour documentary that has the feel of a Frontline piece mixed with the excellent movie Margin Call.

I love this stuff, even though the ideas presented here scare the shit out of me, both as an investor and as a citizen of the world, the economic health of which is more and more in the hands of machines competing against one another.

The Fear Index

Fictional Thriller Tackles Dangers of High-Frequency Trading

This is an excellent Paul Solman NewsHour piece on both high frequency (algorithmic/machine) trading on Wall Street and the author Robert Harris’ new book The Fear Index. Fascinating and scary and you know a movie is going to be made or is in the process of being made. Robert Harris wrote the book The Ghost Writer which was made into an excellent movie directed by Roman Polanski.

By the way, if you’ve not seen the movie Margin Call I recommend it highly.

Wall Street

Wall Street

New York City. Before we boarded a subway to Brooklyn Gary and I sat down to eat lunch on the steps of this rather large investment bank. These are the greedy bastards that built insanely risky investments from collections of sub-prime mortgages cooked up by the likes of Countrywide Realty (California) and others.

The sad truth is, even while being bailed out they continue to build risky investments to make short term profits which all of us have become addicted to. Makes me feel old and conservative or young and libertarian or some combination of both.

This American Life: The Giant Pool of Money

The NPR radio show This American life had a special episode on the mortgage and credit crisis that I just listened to while mowing the lawn: The Giant Pool of Money.

Wow, that a great show and it told the entire story of how these sub-prime mortagates got invented and how people up and down the investment chain exploited them. In the end, everyone lost.

You’ll be able to find a free download of it in the iTunes Music Store starting on Monday, May 12th and continuing for the next week.

This is a fascinating show and it reminded me of two movies: Wall Street, and, Boiler Room except it is entirely true.

New York Financial District at night

Canyon of Heros at night

Bowling Green and Canyon of Heros at night

New York City. Just north of Bowling Green Park Broadway merges with Whitehall Street and is called Canyon of Heros because New York’s ticker tape parades originate here.

Canyon of Heros

Canyon of Heros at night

Some of the buildings that form the "canyon walls" along the Canyon of Heros in the Financial District.

Wall Street Subway Station

Wall Street Subway Station

Descending into the station I noticed that the railing has spikes on it (painted over), no doubt to stop people from sitting down. You know those investment bankers, always trying to stick their butts where they don’t belong.

Notice the Trinity Church lit up in the background at the bottom of Wall Street.

Even at night when people who work here have gone home this place has an air of excitement about it; most days much of the world’s money passes through here in one form or another.