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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Great Wall Street Titty Riot OF 1968


The Great Wall Street Titty Riot OF 1968


It has been over three years since I self-published my first book “Maybe It’s Just Me.”  In retrospect this is a fairly common title; if I had it to do over I would name it, “Perhaps it is I.”

Anyway

I think after three years I can assume the 27 people that have bought it are probably the last of those clamoring for the wit and wisdom of this tome.  There are a few stories which I may decide from time to time to release on this blog, otherwise no one else will ever see them.  The following is a story which several readers actually told me they liked.

This story comes from my earliest experience working on Wall Street.  Originally titled with the year 1969, research has confirmed the year to be 1968.  At my age, what's one little year?

The Wall Street community before 1980 was one big Men’s club from the highest glass offices to the open rooms of clerical desks packed together row by row.  Women workers were in short supply, and the men were 95% white.  On the floor of the ultimate Men’s Club, The New York Stock Exchange, women were nonexistent, and the men were all white.

A unique feature of the Wall Street community was that workers of the various firms were in constant contact with each other as part of the normal day’s business.  Communication between firms was required to complete transactions, or to resolve differences in comparing and delivering securities.  The result of this close communication between firms was that rumors on “The Street” could spread in minutes, even without e-mail, texting, instant messaging, or tweeting.

It was this Men’s club atmosphere and instant communication that created a panic on Wall Street in the summer of 1968 that could only have occurred in this unique environment.  I call it the Great Wall Street Titty Riot of 1968.

 

The Great Wall Street Titty Riot OF 1968

 

 

I tried to do some research on this event, but Google came up empty.  The Wall Street riot of 1970 where construction workers took to the street to bash in the heads of Hippies who were chanting “One two three four, we don’t want your fucking war” made the internet search, but the Titty Riot did not.  My recollection may have some errors, but I will let others dig into newspaper microfiche to verify events if they are so inclined.

In my building on 2 Broadway, there was an employee of a bank who came to work every day at 12:15.  I remember her well as I would often see her on the elevator on my way to lunch.  She was a big boned woman, not unattractive, but not a beauty.  She had nice legs, a slim waist, and HUGE breasts which were accented almost torpedo like by her penchant for very tight fitting sweaters. One could not help but give her a second glance, but no one in the building made a big deal out of her extraordinary shape.

This young lady, Francine Gottlieb was her name as I recall, exited the IRT at Wall Street, right in front of the NYSE Broad Street entrance every day at 12:05.   She did so uneventfully for weeks until one fateful day several exchange clerks on lunch and or smoke break took notice.  These clerks casually mentioned the HUGE breasted woman, who exited the IRT every day at 12:05 like clockwork, to several other exchange workers.

The next day the normal small gathering of exchange clerks outside the IRT exit grew to over one hundred and fifty expectant gawkers.  Francine’s appearance brought oohs, ahs, whistles and cat calls from the enlightened Wall Street minions as a horrified Francine hurried past on her way to work.

Word of Francine’s unique figure spread, and on day three Francine exited the IRT to the hoots and hollers of over five hundred Wall Street workers.  On day four, Wall Street was packed with workers from the NYSE building to 2 Broadway a distance of several blocks.  Cars could not pass, and the unfortunate cars parked on the street had their roofs caved in from the crazed workers who climbed up for a better view of the 12:05 spectacle. Trading came to a halt, and all business activity was suspended for an hour 

There were at least 15 to 20 thousand workers crammed on Wall Street (actually Broad Street), all to see the “chick with the big tits”.  Ticker tape, time cards and key punch cards floated from Wall Street windows as poor Francine had to be escorted to work by police through the mob and the impromptu “parade”. 

The Great Wall Street Titty Riot made all the papers and was national news on TV.  Francine was offered a spot on the "Tonight Show," and a great deal of money from various strip clubs.  Francine wanted none of it.  Apparently shy and quite religious, she was humiliated by the attention. The next week Francine was transferred to an uptown branch of the bank where she settled back into obscurity, safe from the Men’s Club rowdiness that was Wall Street.

Wall Street returned to its chaotic norm, concerned with the Viet Nam fiasco, stagflation, and a paper crunch which one year later would be the demise of several of the largest firms on the street and come close to bringing the country’s financial system to its knees. 

I often wonder what became of poor shy Francine whose misfortune was being blessed with a nice figure, and HUGE breasts.  
 
 

17 comments:

  1. Hilarious post! My folks often talk about the riots and the bra burning's back then. I was little so I don't really remember them. This particular riot though I'm really surprised wiki doesn't list it with all the other riots! I am wondering if you've checked with the Harper Valley P.T.A.? Maybe they know her whereabouts! :)

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  2. I'm sorry, that is SAD. I hope civilization has advanced a bit since then, at least on the surface, and that the fear of litigation for such lack of respect has at least stifled a bit of our Neanderthal tendencies.

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  3. I remember reading about it at the time.
    But I thought her name was Gottfried.

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  4. I remember it well. I went to school at Church and Worth at that time. Her name was Francine Gottfried and she was known as the Wall Street Sweater Girl. Of course, I only remember hearing about her.

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  5. That goes without saying JJ.

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  6. Hey, there's a Wikipedia item about this. Your description of the Wall Street Men's Club helps put this into context.

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  7. Too bad you didn't finish off with a mea culpa, wea culpa apology for the complete assholes you were. You cannot possibly have come this far without developing some hindsight.

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  8. I observed this story through the newspaper, I never participated in the nonsense, so I do not feel a need for a mea culpa...sorry.

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  9. geez. get a grip, fellas! and, no, that wasn't a come-on!

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  10. I would have been around fifteen at the time, and this episode in American history, just like the sexual revolution, passed by me unnoticed.

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  11. Some thing like that is not expected from people of the USA where women are not restricted like back in India or even other Eastern countries. I never knew this happened. It is sad like Eileen says.

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  12. Sadly, some boys/men NEVER grow up!!

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  13. I apologize; I didn't need to include a slur.
    However, I was this young woman, in the time frame you set.
    I was not raised to expect that kind of treatment; my dad not only respected women, he hired women engineers into Goodyear Aircraft Corporation, later Goodyear Aerospace, in the fifties and sixties.
    The sort of men in this crowd only made our jobs harder, but look what it got you. The new head of the Federal Reserve bank is a woman.

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  14. Thanks Joanne, I see how the story hit a nerve.

    I find the story interesting in demonstrating how far we have come. Many people today could not conceive that such a thing could have ever caused a riot...as well it should not.

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  15. How sad this poor young woman was put through this humiliating experience. Got any more pictures? ;)

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  16. We've come a long way, baby! But we still have a ways to go.

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  17. This story is both fascinating and horrifying. This would have had a huge (negative) impact on this woman, and yes the men involved were assholes. Even when I started work in the 1980s sexual harassment was standard and it really did have a humiliating, constricting impact on us. Thank god things are so much improved.

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