Tag Archive | "Post Office"

Post Offices to remain open until May – NY1

The United States Postal Service will delay closing 3,500 facilities across the country until May 15, reports NY1. The moratorium, announced Tuesday, is part of a deal with the Senate that will give Congress more time to develop a cost-cutting plan. 34 New York City facilities are in danger of being closed by the Postal Service.

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An uncertain future for Morrisania’s post office

Inside the two-story post office on 167th Street and Park Avenue, the door slammed every few minutes on a recent Monday morning as customers filtered in and out. Only two of the five customer windows were open, and the lines snaked all the way to the entrance. Nothing unusual there, according to customers in line.

“I’ve been coming here for 47 years,” said Hassan Forrest, who arrived early at the Morrisania post office to pick up his mail. The Metropolitan Transport Authority employee still lives in in the apartment he grew up in on nearby Webster Avenue and has never gotten  around to closing his family’s post office box.

But Forrest and other Morrisania residents may have to transfer their mail to another address if the U.S. Postal Service is allowed to close over 3,500 post offices throughout the nation. The White House proposed these drastic cut backs after the post office became insolvent the end of September. It had reached a borrowing ceiling of $15 billion, and used the last of its cash reserves.

The Morrisania post office, located in a building recognized as National Register of Historic Places in 1988, is one of 17 branches in the Bronx scheduled to close. Neither customers, nor Morrisania’s mail carriers seemed to be aware of the proposed cuts. A staff member who was rushing out of the post office building on her lunch break  cut short a reporter’s questions, saying the place wasn’t closing. The only changes she knew of were the maintenance work recently undertaken in one of the second floor rooms.

“For me it’s not a major issue, but some older people are coming here,” said Forrest, who was on his way to work in his MTA uniform. One retired nurse from the Bronx said she comes to the post office at least three times a week.

Pakala Dingle, 63, said she depends on the post office to pay her rent every month. Money orders cost only $1 compared to $3 or more at the bank.  Dingle wakes up at 6:30 every morning to exercise and walks to the post office to collect her mail for the small business of organic products she started a few years ago after she retired. She also picks up her Social Security checks at the post office.

Like many others, Dingle and Forrest believe the Internet has affected the postal system, along with competition from other private mailing services. On a two-block radius around the post office, at least six stores sold stamps and two shops offered cheap money orders.

President Obama’s plan, which was announced earlier last month, did not include its initial promise that mailing costs would stay the same. On  Oct. 18, the postal service announced that stamps would cost 45 cents, a one-cent increase, starting next January. The plan also suggested that post offices could offer non-postal products and cut out Saturday deliveries as a way to reduce debt.

Jimi Perez, a postal union delegate, criticized Obama’s proposals as ineffective. Even though Obama is willing to pay back the postal service $6.9 billion for having overpaid a federal retirement fund for years, Perez complained that the federal government owes the workers still more. “In its plan, Obama proposed to reimburse only $20 billion out of the $80 billion USPS has overpaid,” he said.

The closest post office to Morrisania is on Westchester and St. Ann’s Avenue, about 20 minutes away on the BX41 and BX55 buses. “If this post office closes, the old and disabled people that come here everyday will have to commute to a much further place,” said Perez, 59, who said anyone working for postal service  was threatened by the budget cut. “And how will they come to pick up their mail? In a taxi?”

View Is your Bronx post office threatened by the U.S. Postal Service budget cuts? in a larger map


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Last Post Office In Morrisania Under Threat, Bronx Times

The United States Postal Service is considering closing the last post office in Morrisania, reports The Bronx Times.

The post office, located at 167th Street between Washington and Webster avenues, is one of 33 in the city being considered for closure. Half of the offices under threat are in the Bronx.

Morrisania residents would have to walk 10 blocks to the next nearest office on 174th Street and Third Avenue if the closure goes through.

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The possible closing of post offices in the Bronx feels like government abandonment to some

17 post offices in the Bronx, reports WNYC News, are slated to be closed. Many Bronx residents rely on the post office to pay bills, rent, and keep in contact with family in other countries. The removal of post offices would disrupt the daily workings of the neighborhood, simply making life harder for some. The USPS encourages users to conduct business online, but internet access is a luxury  for many Bronx residents. “It sends the wrong message to this community and others like it,” said Miquela Craytor, Executive Director of Sustainable South Bronx, ‘It says that you don’t matter, that you are not valued.”

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Vanishing Post Offices

by Mustafa Mehdi Vural

Janice Houston finds Crotona Park Post Office convenient and fast. Photo By Mustafa Mehdi Vural

Janice Houston finds Crotona Park Post Office convenient and fast. Photo By Mustafa Mehdi Vural

Almost every week in good weather, Barbara Harris leaves her Bronx apartment to walk one block to her local post office on Boston Road in Crotona Park East in the Bronx to send presents to one of her 21 grand children living in Texas and Florida.

The trip may soon become impossible for the 59-year-old grandmother. The Crotona Park Station Post Office is on the list of U.S. Post Offices slated for closure.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Postal Service announced it would be forced to shutter 677 local post offices around the country, including 53 in the city, due to last year´s record $7 billion loss in revenue. A recent revised list slated 371 to close, including 16 in the city. Seven in the Bronx are included on both lists, including the station in Crotona.

“It is going to be tragic for me,” said Harris, clutching her shopping cart handle for support. “I cannot go to another one. I cannot get around easily.”

“A lot of people do not drive and they need this place where it is. It is not fair,” said Daman Brown, a 41-year-old traffic agent at the New York Police Department, placing his mail in a mail box before rushing away.

One customer has used this post office for nearly 50 years.

“I got here in 1960 and the post office was where it is today,” said Taylor Carton, a 71-year-old retired resident, waiting in line to send his mail.

Crotona Park Post Office is located at a busy hub where Boston Road and Southern Boulevard intersect East 174th Street.

Others wondered how local businesses might be affected if the post office closed its doors. “Possibly some people will lose their jobs,” said Patrick Onapie, a 47-year-old broker and notary, rushing from the post office to his office across the street. “The post office is the life blood of businessmen around this area.”

The closure of the Crotona Park Post Office would leave the vast Boston Road north-south corridor from East 167th Street to Bronx Park South without a postal outlet.

“I think that since it is still open, I have not heard any complaints,” said John Dudley, District Manager of Bronx Community Board Three. That will likely change once it is locked.

Elected officials of the Bronx, including Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Congressmen Joseph Crowley and Eliot Engel asked the U.S. Postal Service by letter to reconsider closing all seven, which amounts to 17 percent of all the postal stations in the Bronx.

Along with Crotona Park, the other branches on the list are Botanical, Clason Point, Hillside, Melcourt, Oak Point, and Van Nest post offices.

Six of the proposed locations are one mile and a half or more away from the nearest station.

Closing post offices is not the only solution to the loss of mail volume caused by the recession and changes in consumer on-line use.

John Potter, the 72nd Postmaster General of the 234-year-old US Postal Service, already cut $6 billion in expenses and reduced the postal service workforce by 40,000 positions. But he still predicts $5 billion per year for the foreseeable future.

“There are critics of the post office who contend that we should simply shut it down,” said Richard R. John, a professor at the Graduate School of Journalism in Columbia University. “I think there is a vital role for the post office and I do not believe that law makers are going to permit the post office to lose the privileges that keep this hybrid government institution.”

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