News that the bank branch boom may be slowing down is music to my ears, but it comes too late for many.
The Rockaway Sunset Diner, formerly the Ram's Horn diner, was long a meeting place for the people of Rockaway. Different classes and ethnicities mixed and mingled there over pancakes and hot cups of coffee. In 2001, after the plane crash that devastated its community, the diner provided free food to rescue workers, and residents gathered there for comfort and connection.
The diner was demolished and in its place an HSBC bank is now rising.
One descendant of Rockaway told me, "It was called the Sunset Diner because it was right on the ocean, where you could sit and eat and watch the sunset. No one goes to a bank to see the sunset."
No one goes to a Duane Reade to see the sunset either, but now the people of Rockaway can do both, side by side. Aren't they lucky?