Why Are There So Many Banks in NYC?


Really. Why? Specifically Manhattan. I had a really excellent day today but it was seeing 2 banks per block that got me worked up. They are an eyesore and are displacing lots of stores that create the charm and diversity of NYC. There are more Chase banks in my neighborhood than there are Starbucks. One Chase bank is now where our best $1 Store used to be.

Today I had to go downtown (towards City Hall) and decided to do the 2 mile walk south. After my appointment, I felt inspired to continue to the end of the island. It was a delightful walk but it was all of the banks I saw on my walk that got me riled. I walked down Broadway and then moved over to Church. I passed Duane Street and Reade Street (never ceases to amuse me). I made a pit stop for Falafel. I wasn’t sure which was the “good” falafel over by Century 21. There were now 4 trucks. Stress! I went with the one with the longest line which was Alan’s Falafel.(click to read the Yelp Reviews) And the $3 falafel was enough food for two to split. They added hummus and grilled eggplant and laughed at me (hard) when I asked for extra hot sauce and a jalapeno pepper. It may not be traditional (like I know) but it was damn certainly delicious.

Next, I made a pit-stop at Trinity Church on Wall Street. This is where I had my high school graduation. Although I am not a religious person (unless you count “New Yorkologist” as a religion) I do have a love for that church. On 9-11, after I checked up on friends and family, I called to confirm that Trinity Church was unharmed. Its architecture commands respect and is a splendid homage to the history of NYC. Along with all of the other Hymnals and Bibles in each pew, they also had a collection of “Lift Every Voice and Sing: African American Hymnals”. I love how they are mixing it up.

Before heading home, I swung by Ground Zero. I haven’t been there in a long time. Watching all of the massive construction and rebuilding take place was odd. Sort of like watching open heart surgery. You know it needs to be done to be healthy but damn, it feels/looks invasive. And add to that, that it has become a tourist attraction. Reminds me of those Eakin’s paintings, like “The Gross Clinic”: the masses watching over and perhaps finding entertainment in a someone’s surgery.

Speaking of operations, I went to the “Awake” Premier last week. My sister from another mother worked on the film. It was shot in NYC (which is good for us East Coast filmmakers). There was a pretty creepy and explicit surgery scene that had me averting my eyes (not an easy thing to do). The film was fun. Not profound … not every film is going to be “Children of Men” but I definitely enjoyed myself.

So, I had a great day today. I clocked about 5 miles walking. Got to appreciate NYC history and a really good cheap meal. Although it was raining, my “soundtrack” on my iPod had me skipping and humming. The only thing that got in my way was those damn banks.

So Auntie’s Advice: If Chase, Bank of America, HSBC, Commerce etc are going to use up that much real estate, then they should subsidize low income housing and offer 0% interest loans to NYC Mom/Pop Stores and Independent Film Producers.


~ by Cybel Martin on November 19, 2007.

One Response to “Why Are There So Many Banks in NYC?”

  1. Now that’s just silly Auntie. The number of banks is determined by the demand for them. If people didn’t need their services, they would begin to disappear, starting with the ones that were worst at cutting costs to deal with less business. If people didn’t need them, they wouldn’t be there!

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