Free Walking Tours NYC : 55 Wall Street – Shortly after the signing of the Buttonwood Agreement in 1793 the founders of the New York Stock Exchange decided they needed a more formal meeting space than the street – side. This first informal space was called Tontine’s Coffee House and was formerly located at this address.
The Tontine Coffee House was in every way a true coffee house as you would imagine it as people would literally sit around having their drinks and “making deals.” The coffee house remained a center of trade until 1817 when the exchange moved to a larger space on Wall Street.
The current building on this site is a Greek Revival structure that was erected in 1842 and is one of the three oldest buildings on Wall Street. This structure is often referred to as the Merchants Exchange Building after one of its former bank tenants. It was designed by a Boston architect by the name of Isaiah Rogers.
The original four-story structure designed by Rogers was actually the lower half of this building. It contained these monumental Ionic columns which were carved from single pieces of stone from a quarry in Massachusetts, floated via raft to New York and then hauled to this locale for installation via forty teams of oxen.
From 1862-1907 this building served as the US Customs House prior to moving to the Alexander Hamilton Customs House near Bowling Green. In 1907, the First National Bank (now a part of Citibank) hired the architectural firm of McKim, Mead & White to, in essence, double the amount of space within this building. This renovation included the addition of the second level of columns, this time in a Corinthian style.
From 1998-2003, the Regent Wall Street Hotel was located here as one of the most luxurious hotels in the area. The hotel played a prominent part in the finale of the 2004 remake of The Manchurian Candidate starring Denzel Washington.
Address: 55 Wall Street, New York City, NY