Money Pit: MoCNY’s New Exhibit On New York’s Banking Industry

Opening today at the Museum of the City of New York is a history of the city’s (and the world’s, for that matter) banking industry called “Capital of Capital: New York’s Banks and the Creation of a Global Economy.”

According to the museum, the exhibit…

explores how the economic dynamo that is New York was made possible in great measure by its innovative and controversial banking sector.

Tracing the trajectory of the city’s banks from the founding of the Bank of New York by Alexander Hamilton in 1784 to their primacy in today’s nation and world, the exhibition utilizes rare historical objects and images, including banking instruments, architectural renderings, and advertisements, to tell a fascinating saga of growth, innovation, and, at times, unintended consequences.

In so doing, it also reveals how New York City’s particular circumstances—geography, human capital, and political alignments—helped make finance a major component not only of Gotham’s economy but also of its identity.

Fittingly, the exhibit was made possible by a bank.