East Side Elected Officials Applaud News that Cherokee Post Office Will Remain Open
New York, NY – Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Manhattan Borough
President Scott Stringer, State Senator Liz Krueger, State Assembly
Members Micah Kellner and Jonathan Bing, City Council Members Jessica
Lappin and Dan Garodnick, and Upper East Side community leaders and
residents today hailed the announcement by the United States Postal
Service (USPS) that it is no longer considering closing the Cherokee
Station Post Office, which is located at 1483 York Avenue on the Upper
East Side. This summer, the USPS revealed that it was studying the
possibility of closing Cherokee Station and moving the services offered
there to several other post offices -- the closest of which, according
to the Postal Service, was the Roosevelt Island Station, about a
half-mile and one swift-moving river away.
“Since New Yorkers can’t walk on water, I am delighted that the Postal Services won’t be closing the Cherokee Station and moving its operations across the East River,” Congresswoman Maloney said. “I thank the Postal Service for hearing our concerns and keeping this vital post office, which has become an important part of the community.”
“For many New Yorkers, especially our seniors, post offices are their connection to world at large,” said Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. “Even during these tough economic times, we owe it to our communities to find a way to keep these offices open, and I applaud the USPS for taking this action today,” he said.
“I want to thank Carolyn Maloney for the incredible work she did negotiating to save the Cherokee Station for our community,” said State Senator Liz Krueger.
“As someone who personally relies on Cherokee Station for my postal service I am relieved to know that it will be there for years to come," said Assembly Member Micah Z. Kellner, "Cherokee Station is not only essential to Yorkville, the exemplary service its employees provide is cherished by neighborhood residents. I am so glad the Postal Service listened to the community about just how much they value Cherokee Station.”
“Our federal government must make every effort to maintain services to keep up with the ever-increasing residential development on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. I applaud the United States Postal Service’s decision to keep Cherokee Station open and appreciate the efforts of our Congresswoman, Carolyn Maloney, to achieve this result,” said Assemblyman Jonathan Bing.
“This is a great victory for our community,” Council Member Lappin said. “Closing this post office made no sense and I'm pleased the community has prevailed in our fight to keep it open.”“We asked the Postal Service to do right by this community, and they delivered," said Council Member Dan Garodnick.
"The high concentration of seniors who live near Cherokee Station and the absence of reasonable alternatives for them made it clear that we could not afford to lose this post office, and I am very pleased that the Post Service recognized that.""Fifteen years ago, this community found it necessary to have a larger post office for our area,” said Betty Cooper Wallerstein, President of the East 79th Street Neighborhood Association.
“With Congresswoman Maloney, we worked to persuade the U.S. Postal Service to expand Cherokee Station and the ribbon was cut by her and by East 79th Street Neighborhood Association officers. With the strong demand from our community, it made no sense to considering closing this desperately needed facility now. We collected nearly 1500 signatures to preserve the post office and we are thrilled that it has listened to us and has decided that Cherokee Station will continue to function here.
"In August, the elected officials wrote to the United States Postal Service urging the agency to save Cherokee Station. A copy of that letter is below.
Coalition of Elected Officials on the Upper East Side of Manhattan
C/O Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney
1651 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10128
August 12, 2009
Mr. John E. Potter
475 L=Enfant Plaza West, SW
Washington, DC 20260
Dear Mr. Potter:
We write to you as elected officials representing constituents using the Cherokee Station Post Office located at 1483 York Avenue, New York, NY 10075. It is our understanding that the United States Postal Service will begin a study for potential consolidation (closing) of the Cherokee Station. This would be a terrible decision that would place an extraordinary burden on our constituents.
The Cherokee Station located on the Upper East Side serves residents in the East 70's and 80's a densely populated area with many senior citizens. Consequently, Cherokee Station is a very busy, crowded station. Indeed, until 1994, this post office had been located in a smaller facility that was inadequate to the needs of the community. As one of her first actions as a member of Congress, Congresswoman Maloney helped secure a larger space, which is twice the size of the former station, with seven full service windows and 1,000 boxes as opposed to 200 boxes in the former station. By all accounts, this new facility is crowded by residents of this large and growing community. Closing a well-used facility in a dense urban community is a bad idea that would lead to overcrowding at already burdened neighboring facilities and poor service for local residents.
We are astounded to see that the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) considers the Roosevelt Island Station the next closest station. It may be a mere .4 miles away, but most New Yorkers cannot walk on water. They are separated from Roosevelt Island from a fast moving body of water called the East River. To reach Roosevelt Island, they would have to travel to the tram at 59th street (or the subway station at 63rd Street) and take mass transit to the island and then a shuttle bus or a lengthy walk to the post office.
The USPS has suggested three other stations, Gracie Station, Lenox Hill Station and Yorkville Station, each of which is more than half a mile from the Cherokee Station B a significant distance for anyone carrying a heavy package to walk. The closure would leave residents of the far east side with no convenient post office.
Unlike in most parts of the country, people in New York City do not have cars and most walk to their local post office. Closing Cherokee Station would be a burden on senior citizens and others in this community who rely on the USPS. We believe that it would likely add at least half an hour to a trip to a post office for many local residents. In making your decision, we hope that you will look at the availability of mass transit options (or lack thereof) to bring people to the next closest facility, the method by which most people reach their local post office (e.g. on foot, by bus, by car) and the amount of time it would take a senior to walk to the nearest facility. Simply measuring a distance on a map tells you very little about the ease or difficulty of reaching the destination.
We note that the survey that post office users are being asked to complete will not elicit any of this information.
We have heard the suggestion that many postal services can be done by computer. The population around Cherokee Station includes large numbers of senior citizens who do not have computers and therefore do not use email or pay bills online. They do, however, frequently visit Cherokee Station. Indeed, one of the frequent complaints we hear from local residents is that lines are often long at this post office.
We hope that you will look at the realities of this neighborhood, the nature of Cherokee Station=s customer base and the long distance people will have to travel by foot to reach a different post office. For all of the foregoing reasons, we urge you to keep Cherokee Station open.
CAROLYN B. MALONEY