The Federal Reserve Bank of New York works to promote sound and well-functioning financial systems and markets through its provision of industry and payment services, advancement of infrastructure reform in key markets and training and educational support to international institutions.
Regional & Community Outreach connects the Bank to Main Street via structured dialogues and two-way conversations on small business, mortgages, and household credit.
Economic Education improves public knowledge about the Federal Reserve System, monetary policy implementation, and promoting financial stability through the Museum and programs for K-16 students and educators, and the community.
Caricatures of Alan Greenspan and Warren Buffett in the National Portrait Gallery? Are we hearing correctly? The National Portrait Gallery indeed collects and has great respect for caricatures. The Gallery had a 1998 exhibition and post entitled “Celebrity Caricature in America.” Caricature is quite an old art form: According to Werner Hofmann’s 1957 “Caricature from Leonardo to Picasso,” caricature in the Western world dates back to Leonardo da Vinci. Caricatures of bankers and financiers have been around probably as long as bankers and financiers.
There are many methods by which financial institutions can ready themselves for worst-case scenarios: they participate in the federal deposit insurance system, they follow a variety of banking regulations, and they prepare for natural disasters, for starters. But what about bank robberies, which typically strike their targets with little or no warning?
St. Mary’s Bank was the first credit union created in the United States, in Manchester, New Hampshire, in 1908. A website honors both the centennial of the institution and the credit union concept. A small museum (see article about its opening) was created near the site of the credit union, which is still functioning.
Why do we associate pieces of eight with pirates? Perhaps it has to do with the role of the phrase “pieces of eight” in one of the greatest pirate adventures in literature, Treasure Island* (Robert Louis Stevenson, 1883). It’s Captain Flint the parrot, belonging to the pirate Long John Silver, who’s continually screaming “pieces of eight!” The last few sentences of the book read:
The bar silver and the arms still lie, for all that I know, where Flint buried them; and certainly they shall lie there for me. Oxen and wain-ropes would not bring me back again to that accursed island; and the worst dreams that ever I have are when I hear the surf booming about its coasts or start upright in bed with the sharp voice of Captain Flint still ringing in my ears: “Pieces of eight! Pieces of eight!”
“The trouble with money,” said a Federal Reserve Bank of New York publication in the 1960s, “as with all material things in the world, is that it does not last forever.” The Federal Reserve has the important task of adding liquidity to the market, but did you know that it is also responsible for removing money—literally—through currency destruction? U. S. currency is made of 25 percent linen and 75 percent cotton, which makes it pretty durable, but even so, currency is removed from circulation at a surprising rate. Each denomination of notes has its own life cycle, and $1 bills, for example, have to be replaced every 5.9 years or so.
Would it ever occur to anyone that Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Roald Dahl, 1964) teaches economic lessons about “incentives, poverty, scarcity, producers, consumers, and competition”? Or that The Lorax (Dr. Seuss, 1971) covers “natural resources, choices, and scarcity”? Or that Curious George Goes to a Chocolate Factory (Margret and H. A. Rey, 1998) is an examination of “producers, capital resources, and goods”?
In a prior blog post, we saw how Maiden Lane evolved over time. It was here that a momentous event occurred in
1790, changing the history of the United States.
While serving as Secretary of State in 1790, Thomas
Jefferson rented a “mean house” at 57 Maiden Lane "for
106 pounds per year" and “not approving much of the stiff style and
etiquette of New York he gave up all his time to the establishment of his new
department, foreign affairs, and home." There was much to occupy
Jefferson’s time while he was in residence here—in particular, the debt crisis
In the 1600s, a stream flowed near the land now occupied by
the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, running all the way to the East River. At
that time, maidens followed a footpath to the stream’s banks to wash laundry in
its fresh water, earning the path the name Maidens’ Path (or in Dutch—Maagde Paatje). When the English arrived
in 1664, the name of the street changed to Maiden Lane. As New York City
expanded beyond its downtown origins over the years, city planners covered over
the stream—but the street’s name stuck.
The Grinch (from the Dr. Seuss children’s book) and Santa are often invoked to describe what’s happening with consumer spending around the holidays. If consumers are able to spend more, then Santa’s responsible. But if they’re unable to spend more, then they’re forced to be more penny-pinching (which isn’t like the Grinch really, but more like Scrooge; either way, there’s the sense of Christmas being ruined).
Black Monday, Black Friday, Green Monday, Black Thursday, Silver
Thursday, Red Thursday, Black Tuesday—How to keep track? The more famous of
these phrases refer to either political or economic/financial events. Black usually
symbolizes something negative (and when finance-related, usually refers to a
market crash), but it also suggests something positive (being “in the black,” or
out of debt). All the days near Thanksgiving called “black” are “black” in this
way. Red seems to refer to fire, communism, being “in the red” (in debt), or
Thursday is caused by retail workers being forced to work on Thanksgiving).
“White” days are often religious. “Blue” and “purple” and sometimes “pink” tend
to be for social causes. For some reason, British miners like these
appellations—they have Red Friday
and White Thursday.
Silver does come up—Silver Thursday
refers to a commodities market panic that began with a steep drop in the price of
silver in 1980.
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