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Midday Traders: 1910

Midday Traders: 1910

New York circa 1910. "The Curb Market, Broad Street." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


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No such thing as coincidence

I was just talking about this area the other day. Noticed on CNBC the lack of humans on the floor of the NYSE. I recall comments my cable foreman made while on a job back in the mid 90s. We had a manhole opened nearly in front of where the United Cigar shop was. It was around 4PM on a weekday and the area was not busy. My foreman mentioned back in the late 70s the sidewalk was so congested one had to walk in the street! Timeandagainphoto gives a good idea of what is like now. Progress!

Not A Lunch Break

This was not a lunch break, it was "investors" actively trading penny stocks. The "Curb Market" was the predecessor to the American Stock Exchange and favorite haunt of the legendary speculator Jesse Livermore.


Based on the hats (boaters) the season is summer. Between Memorial Day and Labor day, you put away the wool hat and took out your boater!

Signs not Stores

United Cigar paid for signs, just as Coca-Cola paid for luncheonette signs in later decades. They didn't actually own those stores.

On TeryCarroll's comment, I'd imagine Mary Jorjorian took the elevated [train], not the elevator, home.

Curb Enthusiasm

The curb exchange was just that - an outdoor stock exchange. The curb exchange usually traded more speculative stocks - railroads and steel got their start here. As the industries matured, they often moved on to the more venerable (and indoor) New York Stock Exchange.

A few years before this photo, the brokers organized themselves, codifying their rules. In 1923, they moved indoors, and in 1953, they renamed themselves the American Exchange (AMEX). AMEX was absorbed by the NYSE in 2008.

It was still "rather interesting" 11 years later

This is from my wife's grandmother Mary Jorjorian's diary, Tuesday, April 19, 1921:

After breakfast was dressing to go out when a telegram came from Peter. Left house about 10 am, went in answer to ad. Disappointed. Went to uncle’s place, hard time finding it. After leaving there went to answer to couple ads downtown, took B’way car. After leaving these places went to Wall Street curb market. Rather interesting. Next took Elevator home, had lunch 1:30 pm, swept house. Felt rather sleepy and rested awhile. Went shopping about 3:30 pm, got string beans and prepared for dinner, bought goods for pedi soak in the evening. Took aunt to hospital for eye. On return Mr. and Mrs. Musegian came to see us. Bed 12 midnight.


Below is the same view from April of 2011.

Always there.

United Cigar must have been a big chain store outfit back then. Seems like most of the Shorpy cityscapes from back then have a United Cigar store !

Lunch Hour

What a fabulous New York City moment! Nothing really changes in NY; the lunch hour provides for quick 'buffet' meals and informal meetings along the streets with colleagues.

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