Posted: 2/9/2011Provided by Citysearch -
We arrived to the Fed and once inside, perused the nice-sized museum explaining the history of currency. Interesting, but as currency can be it was a little dry. Once the tour began we were ushered into a small room and shown a video of a NJ facility where modern paper cash is actually housed. I guess I understand that this is part of the process, but being shown into a random room, sat down like a bunch of schoolchildren and shown a video was a bit silly. I think I actually would have preferred hearing about that process from a knowledgeable staff member but the gentleman giving the tour didn't appear to have many answers. After the exciting (uh-huh) video, we were then escorted (we were about 30 people on the tour and so because we had to get into elevators there were three tour guides with us at all times) onto elevators which whisked us down five stories and then taken through another little exhibit (again, not much info from the tour guides, it was mostly ""read all about it yourself"") which then led to the vault where the gold bars were interred. The most interesting aspects of this part of the tour were the entry to the vault (which rotates and completely cuts off access to the vault) and the metal ""shoes"" that vault workers must wear to protect their feet and which cost about $500 a pair. I was really disappointed to learn that 95% (that's NINETY-FIVE PERCENT) of the gold housed in the Fed's vault belongs to other countries. Yes folks, that is correct. All this money to protect the Fed, the vault, pay the employees, etc. and fully 95% of the gold that we, the U.S., are protecting belongs to other countries. I felt more than a little bit disgusted about that. After we were removed from the vault, we were whisked, escorted, back up to the main floor, given our belongings, and bid adieu. So to sum up: 1. arrived. 2. saw short video. 3. saw gold. 4. were bid adieu. In other words, that was an hour of my life that I will never get back.