By Holly Dutton
Friends since their high school days at Horace Mann Prep, James Kaplan and Richard Warshauer have guided a Wall Street walking tour through lower Manhattan since 1987, the year the stock market had its biggest fall since the crash of 1929.
Twenty-five years later, and it is more relevant than ever.
With the 2008 economic meltdown a not-so-distant memory, the tour feels just as important as it did when it began in the late 1980’s according to Warshauer, a 34-year veteran of the commercial real estate business.
“It’s a labor of love for us,” he said. “But the climate is particularly strong given the election and Occupy Wall Street movement.”
This weekend, the pair will celebrate the 25th anniversary with a tour that will look at the parallels between past and present economic woes and how both the key players of Wall Street have changed as much as the neighborhood.
Warshauer is senior managing director of Collier’s International and a Wall Street expert who has worked with clients such as the State University of New York, the Coca Cola Company and The Salvation Army.
Kaplan is head of tax, estates and employee benefits at Herzfeld & Rubin and a political historian. Their partnership began in the late 1980’s, when Kaplan was giving tours for the 92nd Street Y and suggested Warshauer join him to lead a tour in honor of the great crashes of Wall Street. The 1987 crash was still fresh in his mind.
On October 19, 1987, a date that became known as Black Monday, Wall Street suffered its greatest loss ever on a single day.
“We talk about the various panics that seized Wall Street,” said Warshauer of the tour. “Since it is the 25th anniversary, we are making an effort to compare the stock market in 1987 with what’s happening today, outlining and contrasting parallels. We talk about famous swindles and irregularities, and about the real estate market.”
The three-hour tour is sponsored by the Museum of American Finance and starts at its offices at 48 Wall Street, taking in Hanover Square, the old Customs Building and ending at Chase Manhattan Plaza.
The two guides cover everything from the discovery of New York by Henry Hudson to the dynamics of the new FiDi residential neighborhood.
“The whole nature of Wall Street has changed radically,” said Warshauer, adding that tourists now spend $1 billion a year in Lower Manhattan, an area that used to be “deserted” on weekends.
The pair also talk about recovery, and how Wall Street has come back from its crashes.
“The reason we chose the last Saturday in October [for the 25th anniversary tour] is to commemorate the 1929 crash, which was significant in how long it lasted,” said Warshauer. “Many of the great crashes happen in October — it’s usually a bad month for Wall Street.”
The longtime friends are looking forward to the 25th anniversary tour this Saturday, Oct. 27, beginning at 1 p.m. at the Museum of American Finance, 48 Wall Street. Tickets are $15 each. For details visit www.moaf.org/events.