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would not be conducive to trading, it was decided to announce a mock trading day on Saturday, September 15. On Saturday morning, everyone was asked to come in and acquaint themselves with the plans and policies that had been set up for Monday, and to do so on the staggered schedule. In reality, there were no plans to mock-trade anything. The point of the exercise was to bring everyone in to reduce Monday s chaos. (After all, since the system administrators had done a great deal of test trading, they already knew that they could trade successfully in Queens.) Saturday also gave NYBOT a chance to reissue badges and other paperwork that had been lost on the 11th. What they learned was that, despite its availability, many members had neither seen nor read the disaster recovery packet. Others complained that while they had two or three (or six) booths at WTC, they were being limited to just one at the recovery site. Nevertheless, the overwhelming reaction from the members was a combination of pleasant surprise, amazement, and genuine relief. They were amazed to see that what they had been paying for all those years was real, and they were relieved because it would likely save their jobs. Suddenly, all of the funds that Pat and Steve had been fighting for all those years over objections from many quarters turned out to be money well spent. The Saturday session revealed one very serious problem: The main telephone switch in the Queens building did not work. This meant that on Monday there would be no telephones in any of the booths for any of the traders. Pat contacted Mayor Giuliani s office on Saturday to get Verizon (their local telephone company) to come in and repair the failed switch. The Mayor s Office was exceptionally cooperative, and, in fact, had identified them as one of their three top priorities (along with the NY Stock Exchange and the NY Mercantile Exchange). Just in case Verizon could not get the switch working, later on Saturday Steve and Pat went out and bought 250 cell phones (cost for phones and service: $70,000) as a backup in case the new switch didn t work out. But, on Sunday afternoon, Verizon was able to get the switch working, and each booth had its two working phones. Even so, when members arrived Monday, cell phones were handed out on a limited basis, and they were used as extra lines for booths that needed more than two lines. The phone switch, however, held up just fine. Trading began on time at 7:30 A.M. on Monday, the 17th, with cocoa, as per the staggered schedule. Normally, cocoa is a lightly traded commodity, and the pit at 4 WTC where cocoa was traded had room for about 60 traders. On this day, though, over 150 traders were crammed into a much too small space. Witnesses said that it reminded them of a Tokyo subway at rush hour. In the end, though, the abbreviated trading session went without any major hitches; the traders handled any disputes themselves, and trading itself was successful and completed on time. By the end of the day, NYBOT had traded 140,000 lots
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of all commodities, which was almost double the volume of a normal day. The additional volume was attributed to pent-up demand, and the volatility to market uncertainty. In addition to the overcrowded trading conditions, NYBOT was also the center of a great deal of press attention, so on top of all the traders, there were a slew of newspaper and television reporters, along with representatives from the Mayor s Office. NYBOT accomplished all of this trading activity amidst another serious problem. It became apparent early in the day on the 17th that two wired phones per booth would be completely inadequate, especially with the compressed trading day. To be successful, each booth needed at least six phone lines. The only way to achieve this increased capacity would be to bring in a new and larger phone switch. So late in the day on the 17th, the Mayor s Office was once again contacted, this time to request a new 1,200-line telephone switch, with the highest possible priority. With air travel and crossings in and out of New York severely restricted at this time, getting a switch delivered to Queens was no easy task. Nevertheless, the Mayor s Office was able to cut through immense amounts of red tape, and on Wednesday, a U.S. Army helicopter flew to Long Island City with a 1,200-port telephone switch (a piece of equipment roughly the size of a standard computer rack). Four days later, in time for the Monday, September 24 trading day, every booth had four new phone lines running to its four new telephones, giving each booth a total of six lines and six phones. NYBOT estimates that under normal circumstances, it would have taken 30 to 60 days just to obtain the phone switch, and longer to get it installed and all the lines run and phones installed.
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