Federal Reserve Bank of New York Gold Vault

New York Federal Gold Vault


Useful Information

photography
Gold Bullion. Public Domain.
photography
Gold Bullion. Public Domain.
Location: 33 Liberty St, New York City. (40.7084, -74.0087)
Open: All year Mon-Fri 13, 14.
Schools: All year Mon-Fri 10, 11.
Closed on Bank Holidays.
Arrive 30min early for security screening.
Only with online reservation, printed ticket, and valid government-issued photo ID.
[2020]
Fee: free.
[2020]
Classification: SubterraneaVault
Light: electric
Dimension: D=24m.
Guided tours: D=1h.
Photography: not allowed
Accessibility: yes
Bibliography:
Address: Federal Reserve Bank of New York, 33 Liberty Street, New York, NY 10045, Tel: +1-212-720-5000. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

photography
Gold Bullion. Public Domain.
23-DEC-1913 President Woodrow Wilson signed the Federal Reserve Act into law.
18-MAY-1914 Federal Reserve Bank of New York incorporated with 11 other district banks.
16-NOV-1914 Federal Reserve Bank of New York officially opens for business at 62 Cedar Street.
10-MAY-1916 Federal Reserve Bank of New York moves to the Equitable Building at 120 Broadway.
29-MAY-1924 main building at 33 Liberty Street in New York City opened for business.
07-APR-1941 opening of accounts for foreign governments on the books of this bank signed by President Roosevelt.
21-DEC-1965 The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, at 33 Liberty Street, is designated a New York City Landmark
2006 check processing centers closed due to declining volume and higher costs.

Geology


Description

photography
How Uncle Sam guards his Millions... Public Domain.
photography
...in Vaults of Federal Reserve Banks. Public Domain.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York Gold Vault is the place where the largest accumulation of gold in human history is located. The New York Federal Reserve Bank is located in Manhattan, New York. The vault below the bank is 24m below ground under the bank. It contains 7,000 tons of gold bars which is 5% of all ever mined gold. So forget about Fort Knox, this is where the gold is.

A gold reserve is gold which is the stable value behind money. Money is the promise to pay a certain value, without having any value itself, its just a piece of paper or a little electricity in a computer. To make the people believe this abstract idea, gold is often used to back it up, by the possibility to get the money converted into gold at any time. If you can go to a bank with a piece of colorfully printed paper to get a certain amount of gold, the piece of paper is worth the same as the gold. During most of history, a nation's gold reserves were considered its key financial asset. And the Reserve Bank is the bank which stores the gold reserves of countries.

The Federal Reserve System was created on 23-DEC-1913, when President Woodrow Wilson signed the Federal Reserve Act into law. It regulates the "...establishment of Federal Reserve Banks, to furnish an elastic currency, to afford means of rediscounting commercial paper, to establish a more effective supervision of banking in the United States...". In other words, Federal Banks are no consumer bank, you will not be able to open an account or get a credit card from them. They store the gold, analyze economy and supervise other banks. The New York Fed is responsible for the Second District, which includes New York City, New York State, the 12 northern counties of New Jersey, Fairfield County in Connecticut, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Other banks store money and gold at the Federal Bank, both U.S. and international.

None of the gold stored in the vault belongs to the New York Fed or the Federal Reserve System. The Fed only offers gold custody on behalf of account holders, which include the U.S. government, foreign governments, other central banks, and official international organizations. Individuals or private sector entities are not permitted to store gold in the vault. The list of customers is top secret, but numerous countries store at least a part of their reserve here. Think about countries in Europe who stored a lot of gold before World War II here. Or the gold reserves of the Nazis which were stored here to decide about their ownership, which were returned only recently to Germany after the end of the Cold War. But also countries in unstable parts of the world or countries with unstable political situation seek the security of a third party.

The visit to the vault takes an hour and includes a tour of several parts of the bank, the museum and finally the vault. The vault was built during the construction of the building in the early 1920s. It is embedded into the island’s bedrock which was considered stable enough to support the weight of all the gold. The main vault has no door, it is entered through a 3m long tunnel that is cut into a 90 ton steel cylinder. The cylinder revolves in a 140 ton steel and concrete frame, it is rotated 90 degrees for opening and closing. Of course, the rotating is only possible after first unlocking a series of time and combination locks. As taking pictures is forbidden inside we show you two artist's rendering of the security measures in place at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. They appeared in the March 1931 issue of Popular Mechanics showing the layout and inner workings of the bank and vault. There have been no substantial changes since then.

As this is a real bank, and the gold is real gold, there are enormous security issues. It starts with booking the tour. There is only one way to get a ticket, online and only 30 days in advance. You must print the ticket, and it must contain your name in the same way it is printed on your Id, so we recommend to be extremely accurate with the booking. When you arrive you need the printed ticket and a government-issued photo ID. This is no big deal for visitors from foreign countries, they need a passport to enter the U.S.A., but U.S. citizens normally have a problem because they do not posses a passport. Fortunately the Driver's licence is sufficient, bonus cards from the next supermarket or library cards do not work. Then there is the security check: we strongly recommend to leave anything at home, the hotel, or put it somewhere in a locker. There are no lockers in the bank and if you bring any kind of weapon it might be confiscated and may prevent entry into the building. Also do not bring any bags and while cameras and smartphones are allowed, you cannot use them inside, so its best to drop them with all the other stuff. As you see its quite complicated to even enter the building, so they recommend to arrive at least 30 minutes in advance.