Coney Island Residents Still Without Full-Service Bank Since Sandy

The impact of Hurricane Sandy three-and-a-half years ago is still being felt in Coney Island, where residents have been without a full-service bank since the storm. NY1's Jeanine Ramirez filed the following report.

The mail carrier passes right by the former Chase Bank building on Mermaid Avenue. That's because this branch has been boarded up since Hurricane Sandy tore through Coney Island.

"This has just been sitting here dormant for many years," said one resident.

The Chase branch was the only full-service bank in Coney Island. For a while, Chase set up trailers in the back of the building to offer limited services, but the trailers are gone, forcing customers to travel to other neighborhoods.

"To Brighton Beach," said resident Joseph Packer. "And there's no place to park there. Horrendous parking. I got three tickets already just for parking over there. So it's just the plight of the community."

Taylor Murphy, resident: I have to take the F train, and then I have to take, I think it's the B16. I have to transfer to a bus.
Ramirez: Just to get to the bank?
Murphy: Yeah.

City Councilman Mark Treyger says the situation is unacceptable.  

"It was insulting to residents in my district and to me to suggest that they have to go so far away to handle such important day-to-day banking matters," Treyger said.

The bank's temporary solution is to open up a storefront here. But the site, only a few blocks from the old building, will only have ATM service when it opens later this month. The bank says it's committed to finding a new permanent home in the neighborhood. Meanwhile, its old building, which it owns, sits neglected.    

"This is a major eyesore, and it is holding back Coney Island's ability to actualize its full potential," Treyger said.

Treyger says the building has been deemed unsafe. It's in a prime location, a commercial strip along a road that leads into the amusement district.

"This is a critical avenue for this community, and it needs anchors, and a bank would be a great anchor," said Carlo Scissura of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.

Chase says its plan is to sell this building. The community hopes that will happen soon.

"We need bakeries. We need banks. We need clothing stores. We need food stores. So this is holding us back," Treyger said.

No "For Sale" signs are posted on the bank, and Chase could offer no timeline for a sale.

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