You possibly never heard of the DTCC, in which case a rehash :
DTCC, through its subsidiaries, provides clearing, settlement and information services for equities, corporate and municipal bonds, government and mortgage-backed securities, money market instruments and over-the-counter derivatives. In addition, DTCC is a leading processor of mutual funds and insurance transactions, linking funds and carriers with their distribution networks.
DTCC's depository provides custody and asset servicing for more than 3.6 million securities issues from the United States and 121 other countries and territories, valued at US$36.5 trillion.
In 2010, DTCC settled nearly US$1.66 quadrillion in securities transactions.
The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation is a big-deal, Wall-Street owned corporation which does just what you'd expect it to do based on the name : it clears transactions (such as for instance those entered into on the NYSE) and it holds various things in trust, a sort of safekeeping.
Holding things in trust (and especially things at that level of value) ordinarily involves the use of vaults, and indeed, DTCC had a vault aptly located on Water Street, in Manhattan.
Then Sandy came.
Let that sink in for a minute.
Sandy came to Water Street and the vault DTCC used to store $36.5 trillion worth of stock certficates and other valuable paper took a little damage. This is to say that the entire town being underwater pales in comparison with the fact that the hurricane hit this one little known and mostly forgotten library of record. In fact, if we could have a choice, either a) the hurricane hits twice as wide an area, with twice as many dead babies et al but spares Water Street vs b) the present situation, a) would win with flying colors.
Because that's the magnitude of $36 trillion. The entire US GDP is quite under half that. It would take two years for every man, woman and child working like a slave and not eating as much as a bagel or turning on the lights for as much as five minutes to repay that damage. So, what'd you take, a) twice the surface flooded or b) two years in the salt mines ?
But let's leave these considerations aside for a moment. I've never built a vault, myself, but I can tell you right now that if I were drafted into building one (against my will, I guess) I'd build it airtight. Because, quite frankly, where water can go in other things can also go in, which means things can go out and as far as I can see if you hire me to build you a vault then you're fully entitled to go take a piss inside, leave, come back next week and find all your piss still in the vault. Cause it's your vault and your piss and that's what vaults are for.
Heck, even something like a 9`000 ton Nutella jar made to scale out of solid, five inch stainless steel and burried under the street level, with a 800 ton screw-on lid made out of solid, five inch stainless steel and operated by a huge crane would make more sense than a leaky vault.
So you have to wonder, why the hell was their vault leaky ?
And then you realise : it probably is illegal to make an airtight vault because "what if some dumbass gets trapped in there and dies". And you know who probably wrote this policy, and you know why : because they knew they won't be on the hook for 36 trillion, ever, and they knew they stand to benefit something from the stupidity of the crowd.
Well, what now ? Suppose all NY politicians spend their future years in the mines digging up salt to the value of 36 trillion ?