Executives at the New York Stock Exchange put off a final decision on whether to open Monday until after Hurricane Irene hit the city. Like the crowds venturing out into the windy streets on Sunday afternoon, they seem to have been unfazed by the storm's effects.

"The Big Board is ready to open for trading Monday," The Wall Street Journal reports. Stock exchange operators huddled to watch the storm's effects, and ultimately decided not to call for the first weather-related closing of the NYSE since 1985.

But good luck getting to work. Much of the city's mass transit system is closed indefinitely, and local media predict "hellish" commuting conditions Monday morning.

 

"It's going to be a tough commute," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at an afternoon news conference. 

Indeed, the big concern was how quickly the city's transit network could be restored after being shut down for the first time ahead of a storm. There was flooding at the terminus of the No. 3 line in Harlem, Coney Island train yards, and mudslides at the Spuyten Duyvil Metro-North station among other problems.

Whether the city can get back to work Monday depends largely on the speed of restoration.

MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan said the agency is assessing the damage of the storm now. "At this point we don’t have a timetable [for when service could resume]," he said. "It depends on the extent of the damage."

It's perhaps a good thing that banks and financial firms seem to have made as many contingency plans as the government, including remote access systems for workers, shifting functions to areas outside the city, and buying up hotel rooms to give employees shelter on Manhattan during and after the storm.