Politicians deliver: Post offices won’t be closed

Daniel L. Squadron

November 29, 2009

By: Lincoln Anderson

Feature article found in the Downtown Express

A united front by local politicians and residents has stopped the U.S. Postal Service from making good on its threat to possibly shutter three Downtown post offices.

Last Friday, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Congressmember Carolyn Maloney announced that U.S.P.S. would not be closing the Pitt Station, at 185 Clinton St., on the Lower East Side. The same day, Congressmember Jerrold Nadler reported the Postal Service had agreed to keep open the West Village Station, at 527 Hudson St., and the Port Authority Station, at 76 Ninth Ave., in Chelsea.

The stations appeared on a list of 15 under review for closure earlier this year.

“Unnecessary closures can pose tremendous inconveniences, particularly for seniors, those with disabilities and businesses,” Nadler said in a statement. “[U.S.P.S.] must continue to ensure that the community members and businesses have essential services by keeping these much-needed facilities open.”

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer added to Nadler’s statement, saying, “Even during these tough economic times, we owe it to our communities to find a way to keep these offices open.”

In the case of the Pitt Station, 14,000 signatures were gathered on a petition opposing the closing.

“Pitt Station is a vital resource for the many residents of this area,” Maloney said in a statement. “I’m grateful to the Postal Service for hearing our concerns and retaining this vital part of the neighborhood.”

Co-op Village on Grand St., with four co-op complexes, including 4,500 apartments and 12 buildings, is a NORC, or naturally occurring retirement community, where most residents are seniors. The politicians argued that many residents would be unable to walk the half-mile to the nearby Knickerbocker Station were Pitt Station closed. 

“The booming voices of the Lower East Side said keep Pitt Station open, and the United States Postal Service listened,” said Silver. “This post office is an essential stop in the daily lives of seniors and the working-class people who rely on its close proximity and money-order services.”

State Senator Daniel Squadron said, “Saving the Pitt Station post office delivers a great victory for the community.”

“The people of the Lower East Side have spoken and the Postal Service has heard us,” said Councilmember Rosie Mendez.

“I am very happy that the wonderful folks of this community will have a place from which to send holiday gifts in the coming season,” said Councilmember-elect Margaret Chin.

Michael Tumminia, Seward Park Co-op president, said, “Our post office, which serves over 10,000-plus residents, is a part of the fabric of our community. Our voices were heard loud and clear in Washington as a result of the efforts by Assemblyman Silver and Congresswoman Maloney.”