A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from July 13, 2004
Wall Street (from a graveyard to a river)
Wall Street (the financial capital of the United States) is, according to the old saying, "between a river and a graveyard" -- the East River and Trinity Church Cemetery. The comment has been cited in print since at least 1894, when it was printed in the newspaper Truth (New York, NY) and reprinted in many newspapers.


Wikipedia: Wall Street
Wall Street is a 0.7-mile-long (1.1 km) street running eight blocks, roughly northwest to southeast, from Broadway to South Street on the East River in the Financial District of Lower Manhattan, New York City. Over time, the term has become a metonym for the financial markets of the United States as a whole, the American financial sector (even if financial firms are not physically located there), or New York-based financial interests.

5 November 1894, Cleveland (OH) Leader, "Pleasantries," pg. 4, col. 7:
HE DIDN'T QUITE AGREE.
Murray -- Wall Street is very well equipped for the man who wants to do a little speculation.
Holloway -- Oh, I don't know. There is a graveyard at one end and the river at the other. -- Truth.

10 November 1894, Brooklyn (NY) Daily Eagle, pg. 4:
Murray -- Wall Street is very well equipped for the man who wants to do a little speculation.
Holloway -- Oh, I don't know. There is a graveyard at one end and the river at the other. -- Truth.

10 April 1904, New York (NY) Times, pg. SM1:
JAMES B. DILL, the corporation lawyer, has a modest wasy of attributing his own bon mots to others when first he springs them on his friends. The saying in point was started in this way, but there are those who recognized characteristics too familiar to admit of success for the attempted deception.Said Mr. Dill:"

A woman client of mine who has made variegated investments during the past three years asked me if I could give her a good description of Wall Street. I couldn't and she said:"'

Well, Mr. Dill, Wall Street is short and crooked. It begins with a graveyard and ends in the river.'"

14 August 1904, New York (NY) Times, pg. F51:
Q -- Why is Wall Street the shortest road to Heaven and Hell?
A -- Because it ends in a graveyard.

21 December 1904, New York (NY) Times, pg. 9:
"Then come criticisms of Wall Street, with its sick hurry and frantic arithmetic; that it is not the straight road to success, but a narrow,crooked street, with the river at one end, and a graveyard at the other."

29 January 1924, New York (NY) Times, pg. 24:
...sent a shiver down the Wall Street spine which extended from "the graveyard to the river."

Google Books
Wall Street:
A Pictorial History

By Leonard Louis Levinson
New York, NY: Ziff-Davis Pub. Co.
1961
Pg. 4:
The moralist points out that Wall Street emerges from a graveyard and winds up in a river.

Google Books
The Wit and Wisdom of Wall Street
Edited by Bob Thomas
Dallas, TX: Bascom-Hall
2011
Pg. ? (Introduction):
Wall Street is much more than, as one cynic put it, “a thoroughfare that begins in a graveyard and ends in a river."
Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityStreets • Tuesday, July 13, 2004 • Permalink