Today’s news:

Feds may go postal on your local mailroom

The Brooklyn Paper

Money-saving measures might cost Brooklynites their neighborhood post offices.

The United States Postal Service is considering closing postal stations and branches around the borough in hopes of trimming a debt that is already in the billions — potentially leaving the borough’s snail mail enthusiasts further from their nearest post offices.

“The postal service is reviewing more than 3,000 stations and branches nationwide,” said postal spokeswoman Darleen Reid. “With the state of the business now, everything is on the table.”

Not only is the Postal Service in trouble financially, but the very nature of its business has changed due to the newfangled invention called the e-mail, which has revolutionized communication in the way that the telegraph obviated the Pony Express.

The agency insists it hasn’t made any final decisions about which stations and branches it will close, but insiders from the American Postal Workers Union claim that three stations and 18 “retail” stations — which are just like regular post offices except that they don’t house mail carriers — are under particular scrutiny for closure in Brooklyn.

“The Postal Service is trying to get out of the retail business altogether,” said Jim Musumeci, president of the American Postal Workers Union’s Brooklyn local. “There are only three or four clerks and assigned to each retail station. There are no letter carriers working out of these stations. They are strictly selling stamps, postal money order, so they think it would be easier to close them.”

None of the changes would go into affect until the fall — and not without substantial public warning, postal officials said.

Here’s how the postal cuts could end up slicing the borough:

Park Slope
To save cash in the 11215 ZIP code, which has two satellite stations, the Postal Service is considering eliminating either the retail location on Seventh Avenue near Second Street or its counterpart on Prospect Park West near 17th Street, according to Musumeci.
Closing either retail station would likely divert customers to the already bustling Van Brunt Station on Ninth Street between Fourth and Fifth avenues, which is the main station in the busy 11215 region.
Clearly, customers aren’t happy.
“It would be a pain in the neck,” said Seventh Avenue mailer Margaret Hagen. “The lines at Ninth Street are already very difficult. There is limited space there, too. The little post offices take pressure off of the big post offices.”
Others complained of extremely poor service at the Ninth Street location.

Red Hook
The Postal Service is considering closing the Red Hook branch on Clinton Street — potentially diverting mailers and the couriers themselves as far away as Cadman Plaza East in Downtown, said Musumeci. Post office users in the already-isolated neighborhood might be left schlepping to the Van Brunt station on Ninth Street between Fourth and Fifth avenues — a proposal they aren’t particularly happy about.
“Say what!? That ain’t no good idea,” said Red Hook resident Flay Lights at the office near the corner of Centre Street. “Look at all the people here, where are we going to go? This post office is convenient for everybody. We need it!”
The location is also a popular one for passport applicants, as there are few lines for that service. Lines are far longer at the Park Slope and Cadman Plaza stations.

Bay Ridge/Dyker Heights
Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights may face one retail station closure and one branch consolidation.
The agency is considering consolidating the Dyker Heights branch near the corner of 13th Avenue and 83rd Street into the Fort Hamilton Branch on Fifth Avenue near the corner of 88th Street, Musumeci noted.
“It’s gonna be really inconvenient,” said resident Kevin Thornton as he strolled down 13th Avenue. “I can do everything here, but for one thing I’m going to have to go to Bay Ridge?”
On the north side of the neighborhood, the Postal Service is pondering shutting down the Ovington station on Fourth Avenue near 68th Street — a proposal that has already riled state Sen. Marty Golden (R-Bay Ridge).
“Bay Ridge can not be adequately served by one post office, and that message must be heard by officials before this decision is made,” he said in a statement.

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Reader Feedback

Caryl Leventhal from Park Slope says:
This is a necessary post office. In a central location in Park Slope it's easily accessible. I am disabled and it is next to impossible to get to the Van Brunt station on 9th Street between Fourth and Fifth Avenues. If this was in the private sector, closing this busy station wouldn't even be considered. It's always busy and does a lot of traffic. Closing this location would be an inconvenience and wouldn't be considered if it was in the private sector.
July 30, 2009, 10:29 am
frissure from prospect heights says:
Silly me, I had thought that service at the post office couldn't possibly get worse....
July 31, 2009, 5:33 pm
john from dyker heights says:
Instead of closing postal stations why not cut delivery back to 4 days a week. This would both save green money and also green house gases
July 31, 2009, 7:18 pm
Ivan from Bay Ridge says:
Can't wait until Dyker Heights customers get smooshed into the Ft. Ham. branch ... where utterly-deliverable stuff gets sent back as undeliverable; "final notices" are the first notices you get (if you get one at all); mail tends to disappear; boxholders' get others' business mail, or get near-zero mail followed by several days' worth jammed in all at once ... It's gonna be a real picnic.
Aug. 4, 2009, 4:13 am

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