A united front by local politicians and residents has stopped the US Postal Service from making good on its threat to possibly shutter a handful of local post offices.
On Fri., Nov. 20, Congressmember Jerrold Nadler announced that the USPS had agreed to keep open the Port Authority Station, at 76 Ninth Ave., the Port Authority Convenience Center, at 625 Eighth Ave., and the West Village Station, at 527 Hudson St.
State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Congressmember Carolyn Maloney also reported that the Postal Service would not be closing the Pitt Station, at 185 Clinton St., on the Lower East Side.
The stations appeared on a list of 15 under review for closure earlier this year. Two other Manhattan branches and four in the Bronx will also stay open.
“Unnecessary closures can pose tremendous inconveniences, particularly for seniors, those with disabilities and businesses,” Nadler said in a statement. “[The USPS] 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.”
State Sen. Thomas Duane, whose district includes both Port Authority branches and the West Village Station, also lauded the decision. “I am grateful that the United States Postal Service has recognized that the Port Authority and West Village Post Offices provide vital services for our neighborhood’s residents and businesses,” Duane said in a statement. “I applaud the customers, postal workers and community leaders who banded together with elected officials to convince USPS of the continued need for these postal facilities in our communities.”
In the case of the Lower East Side’s Pitt Station, 14,000 signatures were gathered on a petition opposing the closure. Politicians argued that that many elderly residents of co-ops in the area, which total 4,500 apartments over 12 buildings, would be unable to walk the half-mile to a nearby branch if the Pitt Station closed.
“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,” Silver said.
Clarice Torrence, president of the New York Metro Area Postal Union of the American Postal Workers Union, said the move would benefit customers most in need of their neighborhood branches. “It shows what can be accomplished when communities, unions and elected officials work together to defend a common good,” she said in a statement. “I’m particularly happy for the senior citizens, the disabled people, the small business owners and the low-income people who are most dependent upon the existence of a neighborhood post office.”
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, whose district includes both Port Authority branches and the West Village Station, thanked her Council colleagues for passing a resolution in October calling on the Postal Service to protect branches from closing.
“While some may rely on other methods to deliver their correspondence, there are many who still rely on a number of key services that post offices offer,” Quinn said in a statement. “Most of all, I want to thank the residents, especially those in my district, who would have been affected by these closures,” she added. “They rallied around their neighborhoods, collected signatures and voiced their concerns at our City Council hearing. Our residents depend on the vital services that the United States Postal Service offers.”