A Year In New York

A Daily Bite of the Big Apple

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Day 234: Break Glass In Case of Emergency

February 17th · No Comments

My wallet lacked $20s, so I visited the WaMu down the street. This particular block has a coffee shop,  a frozen-yogurt place and a cigar store with a wooden Indian outside, yet I like the bank the best. That’s because it’s a WaMu.

WaMu is Washington Mutual, the Seattle bank known for its open floor plan and the gentle sense of humor it employs to seem less bank-like. (WaMu used to advertise its free-checking plan with picture of chickens and a legend that read, “Free Range Checkin’.”) I bought the bank’s vibe completely, even though I knew I was being played. I liked that its name rhymed with the name of a killer whale at SeaWorld.

This day, however, the lighted sign was swaddled in black plastic and paper littered the floor where desks used to be. The ATMs had been removed, and through the gap I saw that someone had left a fire extinguisher. Last year, JPMorgan Chase swallowed my bank like an even bigger whale. Now I have to trudge two blocks down and conduct my business under the cold, Borg-like glow of Chase’s logo.

When Joo and I met, we discovered we both banked at WaMu and bonded over our mutual affection (or MuAf.) Now all we have is memories, and another empty storefront, and a fire extinguisher, just in case the banking industry catches even worse fire than it already has.

Tags: Deep Thoughts · East Coast v. West Coast · Sights & Scenes · The Rat Race · Why I Hate This Town

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