Rep. Maloney, Speaker Silver, LES Leaders Applaud News that Pitt Post Office Will Remain Open
Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, New York State
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Borough President Scott Stringer,
State Senator Daniel Squadron, Councilwoman Rosie Mendez,
Councilwoman-elect Margaret Chin, and Seward Park Co-op President
Michael Tumminia today hailed the U.S. Postal Service’s announcement
that it is no longer considering closing the Pitt Station Post Office,
which is located at 185 Clinton Street on the Lower East Side.
This summer, the USPS revealed that it was studying the possibility of closing Pitt Station and moving the retail services offered there to four other post offices, the closest of which is the Knickerbocker Station, about a half-mile walk away. At that time, the elected officials argued that it would be difficult, if not impossible, for the many senior citizens who live near Pitt Station, most of whom do not own cars, to walk an additional half-mile to the next-closest station. Further, the post office would likely lose revenue to parcel delivery services, banks that issue money orders, mail boxes stores and other competitors. Speaker Silver and Congresswoman Maloney organized a petition drive that collected nearly 1400 signatures from residents supporting the post office.
“Keeping Pitt Station open is a great victory for this community,” Maloney said. “Pitt Station is a vital resource for the many residents of this area, so much so that there are often lines out the door. Closing this station would have been terrible for the neighborhood, but also for the Post Office, which would lose much-needed customers if it closed its operations at Pitt Station. I thank Speaker Silver and the rest of our team of Lower East Side elected officials for their work to keep Pitt Station open, and I’m grateful to the Postal Service for hearing our concerns and retaining this vital part of the neighborhood.”
“The booming voices of the Lower East Side said keep Pitt Station open and the United States Postal Service listened,” said Speaker Silver. “I am extremely pleased that this post office will remain open, as it 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. This development would not be possible without Congresswoman Maloney’s leadership, Senator Squadron’s advocacy, and the determination of concerned residents who demanded that this station remain open.”
“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.”
State Senator Daniel Squadron said, “Saving the Pitt Street Station post office delivers a great victory for the community. Today the USPS is showing commendable responsiveness to elected officials and community leaders, in continuing to serve our neighborhood's particular needs. I want to commend my colleagues in government and recognize the leadership of Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and passionately dedicated members of the Lower East Side community for this incredible and successful effort.”
“The people of the Lower East Side have spoken and the postal service has heard us,” said Councilwoman Mendez. “A post office is a community resource, especially for senior citizens who, more so than other groups, depend on receiving letters, documents and bills solely through the dependable US mail. Saving the Pitt station is a victory for them and for all of us.”
"I am very pleased to hear that the USPS has decided to keep the Pitt Street Post Office open,” said Councilwoman-elect Chin. “I am glad that they listened to the community, to the people of this neighborhood who came together and organized, and worked together with their elected officials to send the message that this Post Office was essential. I want to applaud the work of Congresswoman Maloney, Speaker Silver, as well as Senator Squadron, Councilmember Gerson and others in saving this service. And I am very happy that the wonderful folks of this community will have a place to from which send holiday gifts in the coming season."
"Seward Park Coop and the entire Coop Village are very pleased that the Pitt Station post office will remain open,” said Michael Tumminia, President of the Seward Park Cooperatives. “Our post office, which serves over 10,000 plus residents, is a part of the fabric of our community. We would like to thank our elected officials, including Assemblyman Sheldon Silver and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, for leading the effort to save Pitt Station. Our voices were heard loud and clear in Washington as a result of the efforts made on our behalf by Assemblyman Silver and Congresswoman Maloney."
In August, the elected officials wrote to the United States Postal Service urging the agency to save Pitt Station. A copy of that letter is below.
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 who use the Pitt Station Post Office located at 185 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002. It is our understanding that the United States Postal Service will begin a study for potential consolidation (closing) of the Pitt Station. This would be a terrible decision that would place an extraordinary burden on our constituents.
Since this decision was announced, we have been hearing from constituents who are outraged about the idea of losing their local post office. New York City is one of the most densely populated regions of the country, and Manhattan is possibly the most dense region in the world. What may look like close proximity on a map, may be a world away in terms of our neighborhoods and actual street plans. Very few Manhattanites own cars and most walk to their local post office.
The Pitt Station is located in a dense residential community known as Cooperative Village, which is surrounded by other apartment buildings. Cooperative Village, which is comprised of four cooperatives with 4,500 apartments in twelve buildings, is part of the NORC (Naturally Occurring Retirement Community) program, indicating that most of the residents are seniors. In general, seniors have a greater difficulty walking significant distances. They need a post office that is close to home and accessible.
The nearest post office to Pitt Station is Knickerbocker Station, which your list suggests is .3 miles away from Pitt Station. In New York, one usually counts 20 blocks to a mile. By our count of blocks on the map, it would take a minimum of 10 blocks to walk to Knickerbocker Station from Pitt Station, suggesting that Knickerbocker is actually half a mile from Pitt. It may be .3 miles as the crow flies, but people are limited by the actual street plan.
Indeed, some seniors would need to walk up to a mile to reach the next closest facility. 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 actual distance customers would have to travel by foot using streets, the availability of mass transit options (or lack thereof) to bring them 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 while the Pitt Station is at ground level, Knickerbocker Station has steps that must be climbed to access the building. Knickerbocker Station does have an elevator, but it requires an elevator operator to run the elevator. There are often delays in waiting for the elevator operator to respond. Further, customers complain that the elevator is often out of order, posing an added burden on a senior or disabled person who may have walked a long way to reach the post office.
We have heard the suggestion that many postal services can be done by computer. That may work in some areas but the population around Pitt Station includes large numbers of senior citizens and low income families. Many do not have computers and therefore do not use email or pay bills online. They do, however, frequently visit their local post office.
We hope that you will look at the realities of this neighborhood, the 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 Pitt Station open.
CAROLYN B. MALONEY