While looking for interesting and educational activities for your family in New York, maybe the Federal Reserve Bank comes up as a possible outing.
You check out their website and you’re in luck. They offer guided tours of the Museum and Gold Vault for free!!
SWEET. Who doesn’t want to see the stacks of gold bars hidden deep beneath the subway in Manhattan? The estimated value is $300 BILLION. Crazy!
Then reality sets in and it proves to be relentlessly difficult – within ONE MINUTE of tickets becoming available at exactly 9 am, they are sold out. It is a popular tour, that’s for sure
So how exactly did I snag two tickets?
There is good news. I am just an Average Jane, and it IS possible for me (and you!) to get these coveted tickets. All you need to patience, punctuality, and a laptop.
The bad news is that it is going to take you two days, minimum. If you are looking for a specific day in particular (like I was), you will need to ensure that you complete step 1 AT LEAST the day before at exactly 9 am.
Day 1 – 9 am
Log onto the Federal Reserves Tickets website. After selecting Make your Reservation, you will need to click through the basics: how many tickets are required, checking the privacy box, etc.
The reason why you will need to do it RIGHT at 9 am is because you will need to be able to “select” a ticket in order to enter your information.
Your goal is to make it far enough through the process to enter your name, address, and any other personal details that a visit requires.
It is also important that you do not clear your cookies between the two days to ensure that the auto-fill is able to complete your information. You will need the auto-fill in order to have a chance at one of the 25 tickets.
Day 2 – 9 am
Head back to the SAME device that you used yesterday to fill in your information. You are now familiar with the questions and can start answering quicker.
This is where the auto-fill will come into play. If you type the first letter or two, the cookies will remember your information and will highlight the rest as a prediction. Don’t keep typing! Select the right arrow (–>) on your laptop or click Enter if you are on your phone. This will speed up the input of your information.
If you manage to get tickets on the first day, take em! You can always forfeit them later if you are successful on your preferred date.
Based on my personal experience, you will still need to be fast. I clicked through my information and there was still only 12 tickets left to select from. This was not even 9:01 am.
Do I have to log on at exactly 9 am?
Yes. You have to attempt a login while there are still tickets available (which is usually less than a minute in peak time), as once the tickets are sold, you will not even have a choice to select a date or a link.
Where do I go? There is no address!
The website states that visitors must enter at 44 Maiden Lane and proceed through a security screening 30 minutes before tour time. However, there is no address or marker to advertise the building as Federal Reserves!
We walked along Maiden Lane, but the numbers jumped from 30 to 60 within the block radius. Not to fret, as the entrance to the Federal Reserves in located between William and Nassau Streets. You will see the iron bars over the windows, but there is only a discreet guard at a door.
Is this tour really worth the headache to get tickets?
I would say yes. Where else would you see rooms full of gold bars? It was a free tour, and we made sure to see some other landmarks while we were in the South end, such as the World Trade Centre and the Charging Bull on Wall Street.
How strict are the rules for the tour?
Pretty strict. There are no strollers allowed, and you must arrive 30 minutes prior to your tour time to go through an airport-style security screening. They also do not allow you to take photos.