Thursday, December 16, 2004

NYC, Site Unseen

As Tom surmises, the end-of-semester crush has interfered with my blogging. In addition, I spent a few days in NYC, presenting a paper at a seminar and hanging out with old friends.

Somehow I managed to live in New York for six years without ever going to see the New York Stock Exchange. For an economist, this is something like being Muslim, living a few miles from Mecca, and never making the Haj. So I decided I would finally do it on this trip, especially since my hotel was only two blocks away. On Tuesday morning, I walked up to the guards in front of the building – and they informed me that the viewing area had been shut down after 9/11 and never reopened.

I walked way, muttering something I’ve found myself thinking more and more frequently (particularly when traveling): “The terrorists have won.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Welcome home. See there, Wall St., in spite of the folklore to the contrary, can recognize a imminent risk when they see one! Maybe they thought you, as an economist, were going to terrorize them with common cents. Or maybe you were just in violation of the strict dress code at the exchange. Plaid socks are in no way preferred, Glen. Don't you know that is why the brokers are always pushing plain vanilla common socks to the casual dresser and investor. Doesn't the sock exchange have a sunken area called the "pit" where they throw Christians (i.e., small investors) to the lions? Then I can see why it would be appealing to bloodthirsty tourists.

If up till now, you thought this has been an irritatingly innane post, rest assured it's only going to get mildly worse. When it comes time for punishment for small-time, white-collar crime, shouldn't we be practical rather than tyrannical? Would it not be better if convicts were forced to do their time at the place of their crime? Empirically, this proposal seems to work best during the winter holiday. For all these bad- rhyming reasons , I call this practical practice of the season The Rhyme Method. Martha could be making restitution for her insider trading by decorating the "pit and the pendulum" right now, when the gloomy sock exchange needs some good cheer and holiday spirits the most. When Senator Clinton stops on by to witness capitalism in all its gory, Martha can interrupt her mess hall routine to help Hillary pick out some common socks and teach her how to bake some green cookies with red sprinkles. (Btw, why do you think the Clintons named their cat Socks?) Witnessing all this, the entire floor of the sock exchange will break out singing in unison (that means together), "deck the halls with boughs of folly, Fa la la la la, la la la la. Tis the season to be jolly, Fa la la la la, la la la la. Don we now our gay apparel (plaid socks),...

You should be thankful you avoided all that dissonant (i.e., lousy) singing and stocking Pandemonium.

Happy Holidays to Glen & Co. and don't forget to write off your trip and your sock purchase as a business expense!

--Sock It To Me