It’s an ATM to die for.
A conveyor belt of cash-strapped New Yorkers — most of them unemployed and a few from so far as Queens — queue up every single day at an ATM on East 22nd Road. They wait greater than two hours on a block-long line, the place there may be little social distancing and loads of frustration.
The weary people danger catching the coronavirus, partly, as a result of the state issued them — and 1000’s of different metropolis residents — debit playing cards for unemployment advantages by way of KeyBank, which has solely a single department and ATM in your entire metropolis. The department in Flatiron is closed on account of COVID-19, however one ATM is open.
On Wednesday, prospects baked in 79-degree temperatures as they waited, many listlessly cell telephones and others agitated, sitting on curbs and leaning on automobiles.
Some stated they endured the road and rolled the cube on their well being to keep away from getting gouged with surcharges at out-of-network banks. Others stated the KeyBank machine was the one one the place they might get a each day most withdrawal of $1,500. And a few merely didn’t know that the bank was a part of a community of 1,000 ATMs — as a result of neither the state nor the bank informed them after they despatched the “Key2Benefits” playing cards.
“It’s crazy, but we have to do it,” stated Could Adams, 73, who withdrew $500 for hire. She walked throughout city to the East 22nd Road department from her house in Chelsea.
Eric Kwan, 40, a former Meals Community “Chopped” champion who’s now out of labor, stated he biked from Chinatown to save lots of $3.
“I have all the time in the world now,” he stated. “However I want the federal government would no less than waive these charges for the opposite banks.
New Yorkers line up to make use of the ATM at NYC’s solely KeyBank department.J.C. RiceThe lack of social distancing on the enormous line worries him.
“We’re all crowding,” he stated. “Not everyone knows what six feet apart is. … Some people don’t wear masks.”
“If this continues … it’s going to get crazier,” he stated. “People will do desperate things.”
Siouxche Sharpe, 33, who was furloughed by FedEx in April, stood off to the aspect of the road as a result of she has “slight claustrophobia” and fears catching the lethal virus. She traveled to the ATM from the Bronx.
“This sucks. This is ridiculous that there’s just one branch,” she stated. “There’s no organization and no consideration.”
She additionally lamented that “it’s hard to keep the mask on this long under the hot sun.”
Could Adams on the entrance of the road to make use of the KeyBank ATM.J.C. RiceSharpe wouldn’t disclose how a lot cash she wanted, however stated, “Like everybody else, I gotta live, I gotta eat, I gotta keep the lights on.”
One man walked as much as the ATM door and requested the line-sitters, “You guys waiting for the ATM?”
Informed the place the top of the road was, he groaned, “Oh, sh-t.”
Vicente Flores, 45, an out-of-work line prepare dinner from Queens, waited almost three hours earlier than attending to the teller machine. “I feel tired … but I need the money,” he stated. Flores, who has a spouse and two kids, withdrew $500 in the direction of his $1,500-a-month house hire in Astoria. Flores stated he pays his landlord piecemeal as a result of he additionally wants to purchase meals.
Flores stated he didn’t have “any idea” there have been different free ATMs obtainable and because it was a KeyBank card he merely went to the KeyBank department and took his place in line.
“This is every day since the beginning of April,” groused a doorman, who spends most of his shift attempting to clear the bank patrons blocking the doorway to the luxe, 60-story rental 1 Madison. It’s the place celebrity NFL quarterback Tom Brady and Brazilian supermodel spouse Gisele Bündchen lived till 2018.
A disaster communications skilled who lives within the neighborhood stated he’s witnessed the lengthy strains of “exhausted, frustrated” prospects for weeks. He walks in the midst of the roadway now to maintain his distance from the sidewalk sitters.
“You are always hoping the money doesn’t run out or the machine doesn’t break down,” stated Kelvin Hill, 50, a former boxer and present actor who cooled his heels for 2 hours. “Everybody is just trying to keep it together right now.”
A KeyBank spokeswoman stated they are going to be including signage on the East 22nd Road department “to remind of the importance of social distancing.”
New Yorkers ready in line to make use of the ATM at Key Bank in Manhattan.J.C. RiceThe spokeswoman famous KeyBank has branches in Westchester County cities of Eastchester and New Rochelle.
That was little solace to Maya Sultanova, who stated, “KeyBank bad!”
The bank additionally has surcharge-free entry to cardholders at any Allpoint ATM areas, of which there are greater than 100 in Manhattan, the spokeswoman stated.
Furloughed FedEx employee Sharpe stated she observed a reference to Allpoint on the state Labor Division and KeyBank web sites and paperwork that got here along with her card however “it seemed like another hassle.” She stated after all of the aggravation individuals skilled getting the playing cards, “no one is going through the labor” of analyzing “the fine print.”
Kwan agreed, saying he’s been withdrawing cash on his debit card since April, every time on the East 22nd Road bank. “It’s not efficient for sure. They should have at least one person working in the bank offering customer service. I didn’t even think to look for that information (about alternate ATMs). Maybe I’m clueless but the information should be shown to me without hassle.”
Eric Kwan ready in line to entry a Key Bank ATM.J.C. RiceKeyBank is a Cleveland-based establishment with $156 billion in property and branches in 15 states, however just one in New York Metropolis.
“There are more than 1,000 ATMs in New York City that KeyBank debit cardholders can use for free, including over 100 in each borough, and it is entirely unacceptable that the bank failed to communicate those options to unemployed New Yorkers,” stated state Division of Labor spokeswoman Deanna Cohen.
“Every business has a responsibility to provide services in a way that ensures public health during this pandemic and the bank must implement immediate corrective measures.” As well as, Governor Cuomo waived ATM charges from state-regulated banks by way of no less than June 6, she stated.
Additionally, Allpoint ATMs have a decrease single transaction restrict, however a person could make back-to-back transactions till they attain the $1,500 each day restrict, she stated.
Cohen stated almost 80% of unemployed New Yorkers obtain their advantages by way of direct deposit — “which is the fastest, most efficient way to access your benefits and allows you to use your existing bank — the remainder choose to use KeyBank debit cards at no cost.”
The state stated KeyBank was chosen in 2015 to deal with the state’s unemployment insurance coverage funds through a aggressive Request for Proposals.
After studying the Submit story Saturday, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer fired off a letter to Cuomo saying “KeyBank and the state must work together to fully communicate these options to unemployed New Yorkers who are already faced with burdensome and challenging conditions as it is. I suggest that text messages and emails be regularly sent to remind New Yorkers of where their debit cards can be used without surcharges, and in addition, that this information be conveyed during the unemployment certification process.”