Sunset Park Post Office relocation sparks outrage from locals

Dozens of activists gathered outside the Bush Terminal Post Office in Sunset Park’s Industry City on Aug. 25 to support postal workers and the USPS.
Photo by Paul Frangipane

A historic Post Office in Bush Terminal is relocating from its longtime location on Third Avenue, prompting outcry from locals who accused Industry City’s owners of strong-arming the office out of the 33rd Street building.

“That’s just an indicator of what this company is trying to do, what they’re trying to bring to this neighborhood,” said Jorge Muñiz, a member of the local group Protect Sunset Park who organized a rally outside the Post Office on Tuesday, Aug. 25. “Higher rents, displacing workers that most of Brooklyn relies on.”

Amy Gibbs, a regional spokesperson for the United States Postal Service, confirmed that the retail portion of the Bush Terminal station will be relocated to a storefront on Fourth Avenue between 26th and 27th streets, eight blocks away from the current location at 900 Third Ave. The facility where mail carriers work is still under contract, she said.

Locals on the northern end of Sunset Park say the move will deprive their section of the neighborhood of mail service and make it harder for seniors to access their mail. 

“Something so simple as a letter from a grandparent to a grandchild is essential, and we will lose that,” said Aidee Canongo, a Sunset Park resident and a member of United Mexicans of America.

The relocation comes as Industry City is poised to expand their waterfront campus pending a controversial rezoning, which may be approved despite the opposition of local councilman Carlos Menchaca. The pol, who holds outsized power over the application’s passage in the Council as the district’s representative, maintains that Industry City’s development of Sunset Park’s waterfront will price out the neighborhood’s heavily immigrant, working-class population in favor of luxury condos and large corporate retailers.

Locals accused Industry City of forcing the Post Office out of its longtime home on Third Avenue.Photo by Paul Frangipane

Nationwide, the United States Postal Service has received an outpouring of support after efforts by the Trump Administration to sideline the service in order to deter voting by mail.

In mid-July, four out of 48 high-volume sorting machines serving Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island were deactivated — leaving just 44 to process between 7 to 9 million pieces of mail per day, the Queens Chronicle reported. Officials say their removal is part of a long-term plan to reduce equipment because a declining use of letters, but workers charge that fewer sorting machines will cause delays.  

A spokesperson for Industry City claimed that locals’ anger is misplaced and that the decision to move the Bush Terminal branch was made solely by the Post Office.

“This is another attempt to confuse people with misinformation,” said Lee Silberstein. “USPS made the decision, based on its desire to improve customer service as well as on recommendations it received from members of the community board and other community leaders, to relocate its Post Office retail operation to another spot in the neighborhood.”

Members of Protect Sunset Park counter that postal workers say the Post Office was unable to negotiate with Industry City, and that both parties are portraying the move as a choice in order to preserve their public image.

“The truth is they are evicting the essential workers at this historic federal Post Office by doubling the rent and failing to offer the public a new long-term lease,” said Sunset Park resident Sophia Sutcliffe. “The corporate landlords don’t see the waterfront as a space for working-class union jobs like those available at the United States Postal Service and instead see a prime location to expand luxury retail.”