Federal Reserve Bank – Seven Stories of Gold

Located in the heart of the Financial District, a massive fortress-like building is the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, completed in 1924. The architectural firm of York and Sawyer designed the building in a style of an Italian Renaissance, reminiscent of the 16th-century Florentine Palazzi.

The Federal Reserve was created by Congress in 1913 as an independent governmental entity to function as the central bank of the United States. It is responsible for formulating and executing monetary policy, supervising financial institutions, and serving as the banker for the U.S. government.

Purposely looking impregnable, the Federal Reserve building suggests strength, security and contains the most unusual vault that holds approximately 7,000 tons of gold bullion (valued at $415 billion as of October 2011). At its peak in the 1970s, the vault contained over 12,000 tons of monetary gold, the weight equivalent to that of 2,000 male African elephants!

This enormous weight is supported by the Manhattan bedrock, one of the few foundations in the world considered adequate for the task. The vault rests 80 ft (24 m) – an equivalent of a 7-story building below street level – and 50 ft (15 m) below sea level.

After World War II many European countries needed a secure location to safe keep their gold reserves. Since then, most of the gold stored in the Federal Reserve Bank is owned by the central banks of foreign nations. In addition, the Fed holds gold for the U.S. government, other governments, and international organizations. None of the gold stored in the vault belongs to the New York Fed, any other part of the Federal Reserve System, private individuals, or businesses.

The New York Fed’s three-story high cash storage vault is the size of a football field. If filled with $100 bills, it can hold a total of $350 billion. The large cash vault is unmanned, and robots transport cash.

The Federal Reserve System – the nation’s central bank and an independent governmental entity – inspire such confidence that Foreign governments and official international organizations choose to entrust their gold to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. It remains the world’s largest known depository of monetary gold.

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