By Chris Diorio, Media Relations
For those who may not know, on the floor of the NYSE, we've turned an iconic children's toy into a celebrity guestbook. The NYSE Hulk Fist has been signed by dozens of luminaries who've visited us here and represents the New York Stock Exchange’s star power and unmatched networking potential.
On a given day, Frank Masiello will unlock a cabinet at his trading post on the New York Stock Exchange floor and remove two large green fists covered with black scribbles - they belong to Marvel's Incredible Hulk and they've been covered with signatures from Warren Buffet, Robert Downey Jr., and Ray Lewis. And they will be out for the next big name to arrive on the floor.
From Purple Shorts to Paisley Ties; the History behind the Fists
Masiello points to one of the numerous marks that cover the fists. “That one’s Jerry Rice, it’s the biggest signature on there,” he explains, highlighting the John Hancock-esque autograph on the fist’s forearm. Identified as the first celebrity to sign the NYSE Hulk Fist, Rice began the long withstanding tradition that now boasts nearly 200 different celebrity autographs.
“The Hulk Fist was given to us by Marvel when they came down to promote the original Hulk movie,” says Masiello, referring to an opening Bell ceremony from June 2008. “A little while later Jerry Rice was on the floor. After he rang the Bell he came down to throw footballs around and sign autographs. We didn’t have a football for him to sign, all we had was this fist. So just like the Will Ferrell movie Stepbrothers we said ‘You’re not going to not get Jerry Rice’s autograph.’”
Thus a tradition was born. Five years and countless celebrity interactions later the NYSE Hulk Fist exists as a local legend in the Stock Exchange, an iconic symbol of the many influential guests the trading floor has hosted.
“It was myself and my boss Billy Bott who started the NYSE Hulk Fist. In August Billy passed away and since then we kept the tradition going for him,” explains Masiello, who manages the Fist with his partner Michael Pistillo. Due to the heavy flow of celebrity personalities at the NYSE, the duo is at the moment working on their fourth Hulk fist. “There are now four NYSE Hulk Fists. It’s not very publicized, I guess because of the myth,” explains Masiello. “One is with Billy’s family, one is upstairs in a case with Billy’s name on it, and the other two are on the trading floor.”
“I would argue that there’s nothing in the world with such a diverse range of signatures." That includes Stan Lee (the creator of the Hulk), Sean Connery, Mariano Rivera, Joe Torre, Richard Branson, McKayla Maroney, and Kim Kardashian. “If there is something, I’ve never heard of it.”
The future plan for the NYSE Hulk Fist is to auction them off for charity, but first the word has to be spread. In the meantime the NYSE Hulk Fist will continue to record the high profile visitors of the NYSE trading floor until the right opportunity presents itself.
“When do they end? I guess never, so long as we keep bringing people onto the trading floor.”
“This picture of Robert Downey Jr. is me telling him who’s on the fists. You can see he’s just like “Wow.” – Frank Masiello and RD
An Incredible Network
The NYSE Hulk Fist is not only an interesting and unique glance at the personalities the NYSE interacts with, it has also come to represent the vast network of influencers associated with the Exchange. With connections to different sectors such as finance, entertainment, politics, and media, the NYSE can be seen as the Rome of the corporate world, with all roads leading to its trade floor - and its all on the NYSE Hulk Fist's signatures.
Says Masiello, “It all comes back to the scope of the publicity that the NYSE has the opportunity to give you. The reason that all these people come down here is because this is one of the most watched events in the world. When the world wants to look at finance they’re looking here. These people come here for that reason. The prestige of ringing the Opening and Closing bell is because it’s something the most important people in the world do. Presidents, leaders, prime ministers, and kings of so many countries, this is where those people come. When people come to New York and they come to this floor, everyone leaves and says ‘it’s the greatest thing I’ve ever seen.’ They go everywhere else, but they don’t care; this is where it’s at. The enormity of the media, everyone in the world that is watching this, that’s what helps make the NYSE the epicenter to the corporate world.”
Twitter and Instagram @NYSEHulkFist