A status report on the world's most famous financial district, through which winds of change have been storming since the 1960s. A veteran financial journalist who knows his beat, Sobel sketches the history of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and other US equity markets over the pass 100 years. Owing to a combination of circumstances, the author notes, the NYSE has been losing its pre-eminent position in the securities business. Technology now enables non-member brokerage firms using computer-based communications terminals to buy and sen common shares for their clients without going anywhere near the floor of an exchange--a principal reason for the Big Board's waning influence. In addition, pressures from Washington to establish a central stock market encompassing not only issues listed on major exchanges but also those trading ""over the counter"" are creating new balances of financial power. The 1975 introduction of negotiated (rather than fixed) commission rates also has taken a toll since institutions (banks, mutual funds, pension trusts, and related organizations that deal in large blocks of stock) presently account for more than two-thirds of NYSE trading volume. Sobel's narrative is accurate if not vivid in detail; he largely ignores the people who shape events inside Wall Street and fails to analyze their consequences. In sum, an instructive but pedestrian tour of capitalism's home address.