New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Upper East Side Patch Give Roosevelt Island A Bank, UES Community Board Says by Nick Garber

Give Roosevelt Island A Bank, UES Community Board Says

UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — A community board called on city and state officials this week to resolve a gap in banking services that has left Roosevelt Island without a single bank branch for nearly a month.

Amalgamated Bank closed its Main Street location on Sept. 25, forcing at least 11,500 residents of the island to venture into Manhattan for any in-person banking services. Amalgamated still operates multiple ATMs around the island.

Members of Manhattan Community Board 8, which includes Roosevelt Island and most of the Upper East Side, unanimously approved a resolution on Wednesday that asks officials to "re-establish full banking services on Roosevelt Island" and help seniors and people with disabilities access those services until they are restored.

Beyond the island's permanent residents, board members also expressed concern that students and employees at the island's Cornell Tech campus, as well as patients at the city-run Coler nursing home and rehabilitation center, might be inconvenienced by the absence of services.

City Councilmember Ben Kallos, who represents the island, told Patch on Thursday that he has been in touch with state and federal officials about restoring banking services.

The developer Hudson Related, which has built up parts of the island, has also "reached out to a laundry list of banks" to inquire about setting up a new branch there, Kallos said.

Other possibilities include opening a branch within the island's Foodtown supermarket, or leveraging the state-owned Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation to bring in a state bank.

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