Saturday, December 27, 2014

Follow us:
Follow @NY1 on Twitter Follow NY1 News on Facebook Follow NY1 News on Google+ Subscribe to this news feed 


Banks Remain Closed As Rockaways Slowly Recover

  • Text size: + -
TWC News: Banks Remain Closed As Rockaways Slowly Recover
Play now

Time Warner Cable video customers:
Sign in with your TWC ID to access our video clips.

out of 10

Free Video Views Remaining

To get you to the stories you care about, we are offering everyone 10 video views per month.

Access to our video is always free for Time Warner Cable video customers who login with their TWC ID.

  To view our videos, you need to
enable JavaScript. Learn how.
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.

Then come back here and refresh the page.

In the neighborhoods hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy, residents mostly have access to basic necessities like heat, food and water -- but finding other essential services, like banks, remains a daunting challenge. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.

The sign on a bank in Far Rockaway says 24-hours, but in fact there’s been no banking at all here ever since Hurricane Sandy.

Like so many businesses, bank branches in the Rockaways sustained major damage, leaving many residents unable to manage their finances.

“We couldn’t do anything. We had checks that we got --a little FEMA check. We couldn’t do nothing with them because they were closed," one man said.

“You have to go back into brooklyn, basically, to do anything," a man said. Whether it’s grocery shopping, banking -- anything. That’s the hard thing. What are we, about six weeks into it now? And there’s no stores open.”

In fact, it’s now seven weeks later, and still most bank branches here on the Rockaway Peninsula remain closed.

Unlike in the immediate storm aftermath, there are at least ATMs now.

But other tasks are impossible. Luiza Baker’s father died recently and because her mother has been unable to access important documents in a safe deposit box here, his affairs remain unsettled.

“She needs to get papers to take care of so that she can deal with social security and everything else to do with his life insurance. Everything is in that box," Baker said. "They say that we should be able to have access to the box by appointment, but we are not getting any return phone calls.”

As in other aspects of life here in the Rockaways and other hard-hit communities, there are slow, incremental signs of progress. A Citibank branch on Beach Channel Drive that's been out of commission since the storm reopened for business on Monday.

Meanwhile, Chase last week opened a temporary bank branch in a trailer in a municipal parking lot across the street from where the actual branch remains closed.

Some other banks, too, have reopened.

As for Luiza Baker, late Monday her mother finally got a call from Capital One. She’ll be able to access her safe deposit box on Tuesday. ClientIP:,, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP