For some time now, the number of bank branches in the city has been rising like the Dow. It's not that we don't like being able to overdraw at every street corner from our depleted checking account. It's just that the city is becoming a giant, badly-designed ATM—and the East Village is getting it bad.
Reflect for a moment on the recently closed Second Avenue Deli. Though it may again spring to life, on 3rd Avenue, its original home is now inhabited by a Chase Branch. Across the street what was once Rectangles, an adorable if not quite hygienic Israeli-Yemeni restaurant, is a graffiti-themed Washington Mutual. Farther south and a bit more easterly, that Schneider's Juvenile Furniture on A and 2nd is now a North Fork. Meanwhile, things that we wished would stay a bank have become ghastly Dantean nightclubs like Element. So who's next?