* 38,000 New York customers without power
* Mayor Bloomberg says "big cleanup" effort ahead
* Subways reopen, some commuter rail lines still suspended
* U.S. financial markets up and running
By Paul Thomasch
NEW YORK, Aug 29 New Yorkers returned to work
under blue skies on Monday but the destruction left by
Hurricane Irene made commuting a nightmare for thousands in the
city's suburbs whose train service was suspended by flooded or
blocked rail lines.
The storm's strong winds and heavy rains downed some 2,000
trees on Sunday, leaving branches and debris scattered across
streets and thousands of residents without power.
"We have a big cleanup job ahead of us, no question about
that," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at a press conference.
He said about 38,000 New York City customers remained
without power, but added he hoped electricity would be returned
within a day or two.
Subway service resumed at 6 a.m. on Monday, after officials
shut it down at noon on Saturday in preparation for the storm.
The city's bus service was also running normally on a morning
when New York enjoyed a spell of dry, warm weather.
Commuters from New Jersey, Connecticut and Long Island had
a more difficult time of it, with many unable to get to their
jobs in Manhattan because of train cancellations due to flooded
stations and tracks and damage from fallen trees. Some turned
to buses, ferries or car pools, while others worked from home
or took the day off.
At Pennsylvania Station, a picture of the flooded Trenton,
New Jersey, train station was hung in the window of the Amtrak
teller booths to show customers why trains had been canceled.
Across town, a clerk at Grand Central Station was advising
Metro North commuters that there would likely be no service to
Connecticut on Monday, and that there was no guarantee trains
would be running on Tuesday.
Peter Rugen, 45, a banker who normally commutes to work in
Stamford, Connecticut, from his home in Manhattan, was
frustrated there would be no trains Monday.
"I'll probably just pay a taxi a lot of money to take me
there," he said, adding it would cost about $120, compared to
the train fare of $12.25.
FINANCIAL MARKETS OPEN
Irene weakened before it struck New York on Sunday and
damage was less severe than feared in low-lying areas of the
city, particularly in downtown Manhattan's financial district.
About 370,000 people across the city were evacuated ahead
of the storm and officials feared windows in skyscrapers would
shatter and subway tunnels would flood.
But with the city largely spared, financial markets opened
as normal on Monday, with the New York Stock Exchange, the
Nasdaq Stock Market and the alternative BATS venue starting the
week as usual.
The doors of the New York Stock Exchange had been lined
with sandbags and tarps on Sunday in anticipation of a flood
but they were were nowhere to be seen on Monday morning.
Federal courts in New York were also open, while air travel
at major airports slowly started to resume service.
With donors unable to give blood over the weekend, the New
York Blood Center said its supplies had run low and it put out
an emergency appeal for donations.
The National Tennis Center in the borough of Queens escaped
serious damage and the U.S. Open was due to start on Monday as
A football game between the New York Giants and New York
Jets was also due to go ahead on Monday evening at the
Meadowlands stadium in New Jersey, despite forecasts that
flooding in the state could get worse in the coming days.
Bloomberg said the economic impact would likely be a "mixed
bag" for the city's 8.5 million residents and its businesses,
since sales of emergency items such as batteries, flashlights
and water would help offset lost sales at stores closed Sunday
by the storm.
"In the grand scheme of things, it isn't something that
most people can't survive through."
(Reporting by Reuters bureaus throughout the East Coast;
Editing by Eric Beech)