Two weeks ago, the New York Stock Exchange Luncheon Club, which once fed the likes of J.P. Morgan and Andrew Carnegie, served its last meal. A gracious but snooty place where the barons of Wall Street and American capitalism had lunched since 1898, it fell victim to a combination of increased security after September 11 and the changing demands of trading in a more hyperactive world. Floor traders can no longer take time away from their posts to sit down for lunch with clients for fear of missing a big market move and the clients do not want to go through a full-scale security clearance to get into the building. The closure may be just about as symbolic as it gets. Many believe that the entire stock exchange building will eventually turn into an anachronism and be closed. The exchange is now a publicly traded, for-profit company, and is moving swiftly into the world of electronic marketplaces with its purchase of rival Archipelago. So, it is not difficult to find people who think that one day - probably sooner rather than later - the opening and closing bells will cease to ring out across the floor and there will no longer be specialists with their brightly coloured jackets dodging around the TV cameras, barking out orders. One historian of Wall Street, Charles Geisst, has said the building could one day become a museum or the NYSE apartments. If it became a residential development, the building would have plenty of company. Many of the old bank buildings on Wall Street have already been developed in similar ways. Bank vaults have been turned into swimming pools, bowling alleys or games rooms, while trading screens have been replaced by flat-screen TVs. A lot of the investment banks and brokers have already moved to newer buildings in midtown Manhattan that were built to incorporate the latest fibre-optic communications systems and have vast expanses of space for the thousands of traders. Wall Street's narrow steel and marble canyons with low ceilings, and piping and heating systems from another era, just cannot compete. Those same buildings have a cachet for the moneyed that would be difficult for any designer to dream up. For example, J.P. Morgan's former offices at 23 Wall Street, which is now part of a condo complex, still bear the pockmarks left by an explosion in 1920 that killed 39 people and maimed hundreds. And yet, some changes only reinforce the old order. With many of the Wall Street area apartments selling for more than US$1 million, they have attracted many young investment bankers. One property broker bought advertising space on phone booths that got straight to the point: 'You know where you can stick your bonus,' it declared.