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 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.
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:
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.
The Brooklyn Paper / Robert Voris