Conversations: Sometimes Brooklyn is just so Brooklyn


Today, my husband and I went to open a business bank account at a bank in our neighborhood. What follows is an edited version (the whole transaction took about two hours) of what occurred there.

Bank Lady #1: (in heavy Brooklyn accent) Hello can I help you?

Me: We’re here to open a business account.

Bank Lady #1: Do you have all the paperwork?

Bank Lady #2 (comes over): (in heavy Russian accent) Do they have all the paperwork?

Me (handing them the folder): I think so.

Bank Lady #2 (examining the documents): Okay, good good, this looks good.

Bank Guy (coming over): Do they have all the paperwork?

He and Bank Lady #2 hunker over our documents.

Bank Lady #2: Articles of Organization…

Bank Guy: Articles of Organization…

Bank Lady #2: This is the filing receipt…

Bank Guy: Filing receipt…Do they have the tax ID number?

Bank Lady #2: Yes, it’s right here. See, IRS?

Bank Guy: Good. (To us) She’s going to help you. 

Bank Lady #2 (to Bank Lady #1): It’s almost lunchtime, so you can open the account. I have to go pick up the pizza. You know how to do it?

Bank Lady #1: Sure, sure, I can do it.

Bank Lady #2: Then I’ll come back and finish it. 

Bank Lady #1: Okay. Have a seat.

Bank Lady #2 leaves. We sit, Bank Lady #1 starts working on the computer, hands us papers to fill out.

Bank Lady #1: So what kind of business is it?

Me: Software development. 

Damon: And also film and music production.

Bank Lady #1: Oh yes, it says here you’re a filmmaker. You need any actresses? A lady in her 70s? I’m just kidding, but yes, I was born in 1940, I’m 74 years old. (To Damon) And what do you do?

Damon: I’m a developer and a musician.

Bank Lady #1: Oh, my boyfriend’s a musician! He plays at a bunch of places around here. I like to go watch him, any excuse to go dancing…

Bank Lady #3 (approaching): Are you helping them? 

Bank Lady #1: I’m just making conversation, keeping them amused. 

Bank Lady #3: Okay, but there’s no need tell them all this, just take care of them. (Walks away)

Bank Lady #1 (sotto voce): You see, they’re all managers, I’m the only employee. And I’m a part-timer. So they like to check up on me. She keeps telling me my face is red, but I just put on a little blush. It’s not too red, is it?

Me: No, I don’t think so.

Bank Lady #1: Okay. (Typing on the computer) So. Did you see the People’s Choice Awards last night? 

Me: No, I missed it.

Bank Lady #1: Betty White won! They had her up on stage, and she’s 92. Isn’t that wonderful? Oh, and so many beautiful actresses. It’s too bad you didn’t see it. Oh!

She goes up to get the door for Bank Lady #2, who enters, carrying two pizzas, walks into the back, then comes back out.

Bank Lady #2: Somebody ordered us that pizza from Di Fara’s. You know Di Fara’s?

Me: Oh yeah, it’s supposed to be some of the best pizza in the city.

Bank Lady #2: Yes, he’s a customer. I don’t usually eat pizza, but this pizza I eat because it’s very good. With the real tomatoes…

Bank Lady #1: The tomatoes…

Damon: Yes, everything’s fresh.

Bank Lady #2: …and the cheese, yes, it’s all fresh. I’m going to have some.

Bank Lady #1: It’s going to be cold.

Bank Lady #2: I’ll reheat it.

Bank Lady #1: Do you have tin foil for the toaster oven?

Bank Lady #2: I don’t think so.

Bank Lady #1: Well you can’t just put it in the toaster oven. (To us) It’ll drip all over and make a mess, with the cheese. (To Bank Lady #2) You have to go get some tin foil.

Bank Lady #2: (leaning over the computer) Let me see here…Okay, so you did that, good. No, just fill it in like this…good. (To us) Okay, would you  mind moving over to my desk to finish this? Because I have some things that I need over there. Is it okay?

Bank Lady #1: And I’m just going to tag along.

Us: Sure, no problem.

We all move a couple of desks back. Bank Guy comes out again.

Bank Guy: So you’re just going to finish up, and then they have to have the form signed…

Bank Lady #2: Yes. (To us) We’ll just have to have you take care of some things and bring them back to us, then we have to go take a picture of your business. Like this. (Shows us some photographs printed out in black and white of a building). You see, I take this with my phone, then I send it to myself.

Bank Guy: I know, it’s annoying, these are new rules. Everyone has to do it. Can we get you some water or something while you’re waiting?

Bank Lady #1: How about some coffee?

Me: No, that’s okay. 

Bank Lady #1: You sure?

Me: Really, we’re fine, thank you.

Bank Guy goes away again.

Bank Lady #2: He just came back from vacation in Hawaii. He loves it there.

Me: Oh yes, it’s very nice. A long flight though.

Bank Lady #2: Yes, I think 11 hours. It’s too long, I don’t like the long flights. I have this friend, she lives in New Zealand. She wants me to come visit, bring my children. But it’s a 24-hour flight. 24 hours! This is too long for me. Four hours, that’s the most.

Me: Well, you’d have to take a long vacation, two or three weeks.

Bank Lady #2: Well, I could, I do get four weeks of vacation time, I could take it. Though they’d have a heart attack here if I did. When I was pregnant, I worked right up until the day. I worked on Friday, had the baby on Sunday. We say he’s a bank baby. He was the first baby born to someone working here. There was a girl who had one after me, but I was the first.

Bank Lady #1: So you sure you don’t need an actress? A little tap dancing? (Starts tap dancing) No, I’m just kidding. (To Bank Lady #2) Is my face red? She was telling me my face is red but I said I just put on a little blush.

Bank Lady #2: Yeah, just a little blush. (To us) So what type of business is it?

Damon: Software development and film and music production.

Bank Lady #2: You know, I’m just going to say “software development,” because you don’t want to make it too complicated. Though they don’t have that here, but…(to Bank Lady #1, pointing at the computer screen) See, they have all these things, “gambling,” “pawn shop” — I can’t believe that’s a legitimate business.

Bank Lady #1: Sure, we had a pawn shop around the corner when I was growing up. My mother used to hock her wedding ring.

Bank Lady #2: She’d hock it then buy it back?

Bank Lady #1: Yeah. (To us) Times were tough.

Bank Lady #2: I could never hock my ring. Because I found out how much they pay for it. When I got divorced I wanted to sell it. $10,000 ring, they wanted to give me $3000 for it. So I said I’ll keep it. Give it to my daughters in law. If they’re nice. Hope I have nice daughters in law, I don’t have any daughters. My ex-husband, he works in a jewelry store on 47th street, so you know, I have some nice stuff. Okay, so what else do we have to fill out? Oh yes, this…

Bank Lady #1: Oh and don’t forget the W-9.

Bank Lady #2: Right, yes, the W-9.  Good thinking! (To us) She has a good memory, even though she’s older. Sign here and here.

Bank Lady #1: We’ve been working together ten years. 

Bank Lady #2 (taking signed forms): All right, yes, I think we’re done. So you just come back with this signed and then we can start everything.

Us: Great, thank you.

Bank Lady #1: Okay, so I’m going to go get the tin foil.

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