Past Exhibition: Capital of Capital

New York's Banks and the Creation of a Global Economy

Grade Level: 2nd through 12th grade
Keywords: Asset, bonds, capital, collateral, commodity, credit, currency, debt, derivatives, entrepreneur, finance, investment, liability, loan, merchant, mortgage, recession, redlining, regulation, stock market, stocks.
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The Corporation of the City of New York 12-and-a-half-cent note, 1830s. Museum of the City of New York.

We live in a moment when New York’s banks and their connection to the world, national, and local economies are in the headlines almost daily. The future is uncertain: will New York remain the world’s capital of capital? A look back at how the banks built this global center of capital, the products they marketed, the projects they made possible, and the controversies they have created can provide a springboard for exploring banks in our own time and beyond. This guide explores how banks became intertwined with New York’s growing economy, changing with the city itself as it became larger, more influential, and more global in reach.