Judith Jamison Rings Closing Bell at NYSE

Yesterday I attended Judith Jamison’s ringing of the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange. It was the first time I’d ever actually been inside NYSE and it was a really cool experience. So glad Alvin Ailey invited us to attend!

It wasn’t really a huge ceremony. There were no spoken introductions, though there was a line of ticker tape that read that Judith Jamison of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater would ring the closing bell in celebration of the 5oth anniversary of Mr. Ailey’s Revelations. So, if you were in Times Square watching the screens or watching on TV or on the NYSE website, you probably saw that. But inside the NYSE, she was simply escorted in by several NYSE press people, led up to the podium, and at 4:00 p.m., when the stock exchange closes for the day, she led a round of applause for the traders, who joined her in applause, and then she rang the bell, which lasted for several seconds. Afterward, Robert Battle (incoming artistic director), who accompanied her up to the podium, lifted a little gavel and softly struck in on the podium a couple times. Also with Jamison and Battle were Masazumi Chaya (associate artistic director of AAADT) and Sylvia Waters (artistic director of Ailey II.) The ceremony was over pretty quickly.

They let me take some pictures though:

From right: Chaya, Waters, Jamison, Battle, and the NYSE guy. This is right before the bell.

They posed for the press cameramen, who asked Waters to change places with Battle.

This is before the ringing of the bell. The NYSE people let me take some general pictures of the inside.

And these are from outside, around the corner, around Wall Street.

We had a snowstorm the day before and for some reason New York was pretty shut down by it. At NYSE I learned that only about half of the traders were in that day. And, my bank was closed, my post office was closed, most of the coffee shops in the area that I used to frequent when I worked down there, were closed, the New York Public Library was closed. The subway stations were dangerous to get into as the steps hadn’t been de-iced. My own sidewalk wasn’t de-iced and it was hard to get from my building to the subway. I was nearly snowed into my building, as we have a few steps leading down to our entrance and those weren’t de-iced until later in the day. My street wasn’t cleaned and cars not realizing that would drive down and get stuck right in the middle of the street. For two days I kept hearing cars screeching and screeching to free their tires from the clumps of snow. It was bizarre. I mean, yeah, it snowed, but I’ve lived in New York for 17 years now and we’ve had far more severe snowstorms than this. And I’ve never seen the city have such a problem handling it. Maybe it’s just that we haven’t had a snowstorm in a while.

Anyway, things are better today – now the snow is melting in to a sludgy mess, but at least it’s just dirty water and not ice.

Even trudging through the snow, though, I’m so glad I went down there. Thank you again to Alvin Ailey for inviting bloggers to apply for press passes and to NYSE for allowing us in.

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