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“interesting and free”

Federal Reserve Bank of New York
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and up
Hamilton Musical Walking Tour
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Downtown Manhattan Walking Tour
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World Trade Center Tour with Optional 9/11 Museum Ticket
Ranked #193 of 1,118 things to do in New York City
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Owner description: You can tour the trading rooms, the museum and the Fed's vault, which holds 900 tons of gold.
Level 6 Contributor
109 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“interesting and free”
Reviewed March 15, 2013

We just returned from a 4 day trip to NYC. Tried to book as many inexpensive or free attractions as possible. The federal reserve is an excellent option. Unfortunately we could not score any tickets for a guided tour that included the tour of the vault. Instead, we settled for the self guided tour and while interesting, it was a bit sparse. Likely, related to the fact that the coin exhibit is no longer available. Hopefully, they will enhance the attractions. There are no photos allowed, and make sure you bring your tickets and ID or you will be denied any access. You also need to go through security screening as well.

Visited March 2013
3 Thank roadtripjunkie38
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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229 reviews from our community

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Glenview, Illinois
Level 6 Contributor
222 reviews
75 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 212 helpful votes
“Unless you are a “Gold Bug”, better to first see New York’s top 25 attractions.”
Reviewed March 11, 2013

Hurtles to going to the Bank:
1. There are a small number of daily tours for a couple of dozen people
2.Unless you are a “Gold Bug”, better to first see New York’s top 25 attractions.
Booking ahead is required. Unless there is a cancellation, tours are available only 4-6 weeks ahead.
3. You must download a present a dated ticket, provide ID and go through airport style + security. No small children allowed on the tour. The security consists mostly of NYPD part timers. Would you expect less with 7000 tons of gold lying around.?

There are two “attractions”. On the 1st floor is a smallish, somewhat outdated museum about money and the Fed.
It’s worth at least ½ hour. The main attraction is view a vault allegedly containing a hoard of gold bars. You descend 80' to bedrock—the lowest basement in lower Manhattan. 25% of the world’s reserves, about 95% from foreign countries for safekeeping during WWII, are stored in the form of 27 pound ingots. Unfortunately, all you will see are a display of 21 bars arranged in the shaped of a pyramid. All the rest are stashed in a series of locked jail-style rooms with mesh completely obscuring any view. You do learn about interesting aspects such as scales that measure weights down to a grain of rice or 1/3 of a $1 bill.

Be sure and look at the vault door and, if possible, have them give the handle a few cranks. It is very unusual. Just before the “viewing room”, the hallway leading to the vault narrows to around 4' wide and 7-8' tall. As you pass through that narrowing, you are actually walking through a vertical slit in a 90 ton cylindrical door. At night the door is hand cranked 90 degrees to seal the entrance and time locked until the next day.

Visited March 2013
5 Thank kasey1945
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Very informative and...free!”
Reviewed February 25, 2013 via mobile

I was in NY recently and took a tour of the FED which is housed in an austere Renaissance-style building in the financial district. On their website they say reservations are essential and should be made well ahead of time but I found out that they put vacancies online a few days beforehand. The tour itself takes about 40 minutes and starts off in an exhibition corridor with a brief on economics and on the role of the Fed in the US economic system. You are then lead down to the gold vault where the reserves of several foreign countries are held for free to enhance political relations. It is located on a bedrock 5 levels below the ground to support the weight of the vast accumulations of gold. Expect to see a warehouse with iron gates just like a prison cell and only a few gold bars in sight. All in all the tour was educational and well planned. The tour guide was knowledgeable and took questions on several occasions. An absolute YES on your bucket list of things to do while in NY.

6 Thank Kovceg S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Columbia, South Carolina
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Gold Vault Tour - Disappointing”
Reviewed January 17, 2013

I recently took a group of high school students on the gold vault tour. It was disappointing to me, and to the students. The tour begins with a 10 minute economics lesson (which was actually very good, but it was a lecture) and then you proceed down into the vault. The vault, which you see from a small foyer, looks kind of like an old prison. You only see a very small amount of gold, and it wasn't at all impressive to see.

Visited January 2013
3 Thank roadtested
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Raleigh, North Carolina
Level 6 Contributor
108 reviews
30 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 240 helpful votes
“Interesting, though not essential”
Reviewed December 26, 2012

This is actually a great thing to do; I lived / worked nearby for a while and always walked by this uber-secure building with turrets on the top meaning to go inside. I finally investigated and identified the process to get inside. You cannot simply show up on the day of and expect to get in, you need to be part of a tour. The guided tours are free and take about 45 minutes; though need to be booked well in advance (I'm talking months) –http://www.newyorkfed.org/aboutthefed/visiting.html.

The building is very secure; think airport, you will have to go through metal detectors and cannot bring anything inside. You’ll get to see old coins, learn about what the Federal Reserve System does...and see the vault! It is an exhilarating feeling to walk through the ridiculously thick door into the vault. Although it is supposedly the largest accumulation of gold on the planet, it is a far cry from holding about 10% of the world’s gold as it did in the 1920’s. It is still a thrill to stand a few feet from millions of dollars. I could not help thinking of Die Hard 3 the entire time I was inside.

The NY Federal Reserve Bank is located close to the subway and to several other attractions in Lower Manhattan (like the New York Stock Exchange).

Visited May 2012
5 Thank IchBesorgeDasBier
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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