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hotel information, street and subway maps, vendor contact information, driving instructions, contact information for pretty much everybody at NYBOT, and all sorts of other relevant information. The BCP was the official source of information about which system administrators were expected to report to Queens and which ones would be required to go home. It also included trader booth assignments at the Queens site, along with booth phone numbers. It even included a wallet-sized card that members could carry at all times with the most important information on it. Since the information was made available on paper and electronically via NYBOT s web site, there was no excuse for anyone to be without it. Two of the most important issues introduced in the Y2K BCP were the concepts of shared space and staggered trading schedules. The Queens site had just 2 trading pits, rather than the 13 at 4 WTC. In order to continue trading under these cramped and limited conditions, they needed to develop a plan to share the trading floor by staggering trading schedules. Instead of trading simultaneously for four or five hours a day, as each commodity did at 4 WTC, at the recovery site they would be forced to limit their trading to just 90 minutes a day. All around the trading pits are trading booths: small cubiclelike spaces with telephones, where orders are sent to the brokers and all the paperwork associated with the trading is done. At 4 WTC, there were 600 booths. In Queens, there were just 100. This meant that users who were accustomed to having four or five booths might be relegated to just one or two. And instead of having access to the booths all day, traders would only have them for a 90-minute interval each day. After one broker s time expired, another broker would take over the booth and its phones. Of course, just because all this was written into the plan doesn t mean that anyone had ever tried it. In the end, though, after all of this preparation, and as it did for so many other organizations, January 1, 2000, came and went without incident for NYBOT. Once they got through Y2K, a new push began. The system administrators worked to change the corporate culture to get all users to put all of their files and other data online and on the servers whose data regularly got replicated to the recovery site. If they failed to do so, individual user data would be lost in a disaster. In early 2001, the information technology group began to push their testing efforts harder than ever before. Everyone who could work from home was able to work from home, and this capability was regularly tested, and all expenses to do so were picked up by NYBOT. The goal was to make sure that even if a user had no work space in Long Island City, he would still be able to get his job done, albeit remotely. Quarterly testing remained the target, and everybody whom they supported seemed much more willing to take part in testing than they ever had before.
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Every system at 4 WTC had a backup system operational in Queens, and they all worked. When problems occurred at 4 WTC, and processing switched over to Queens, users could not tell; the switchover was totally transparent to NYBOT s users. Testing for the second quarter was done on July 12, and the third quarter s round of tests was scheduled for September 18. It never occurred. NYBOT was about as well prepared for a disaster as they could be. Sadly, one occurred anyway.
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September 11, 2001
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As the first plane struck the World Trade Center complex on September 11, Pat was stuck in routine morning traffic, waiting to drive into the Holland Tunnel from New Jersey. He heard a news bulletin of a still-unidentified explosion at the World Trade Center. Immediately, he picked up his cell phone and called his office. He spoke with Walter Hines, NYBOT s CFO, who had felt the explosion shake their building violently, but he didn t yet know what it was. The Executive Floor Committee (the members who help coordinate daily floor operations) had calmly decided that it would be wise to evacuate the building. The phone call ended calmly, with a simple talk to you later. Since it was early in the day, there weren t too many people at work at NYBOT yet. There were about 200 to 250 people there altogether, 100 active cocoa traders (cocoa trading had begun at 8:00 A.M.), 50 financial traders, and 25 to 50 support staffers. There were also a handful of coffee traders who had arrived, as coffee trading was scheduled to begin at 9:15. Next, Pat s wife, Adele, called him, and said that a plane had crashed into Tower 1. Like most people, Adele and Pat assumed that it was just an accident. She saw the pictures on TV, including the fireball and the big hole, and she was very concerned, but no more than that. Before they got off the phone, she saw the second plane hit. That changed everything. Pat was still half a block from the Holland Tunnel toll plaza, and he was stopped right there. Port Authority Police immediately closed the tunnel, and turned everyone around. Having no place else to go, Pat returned home, arriving there just after Tower 1 collapsed, at around 10:30. Steve was at Penn Station in midtown Manhattan having just arrived on a commuter train from his home in Pennsylvania. He was unable to get any kind of information. The police closed Penn Station, and said that there was some sort of police action in progress at WTC, but nothing else. His first clue that there was something serious going on was when the police appeared and forced all the taxi cabs out from their taxi stand underneath the station. The 250 or so NYBOT evacuees reached the street very quickly, as most of them were on the eighth floor of 4 WTC. Most of them got downstairs in time
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