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Postal Officials Brief Community Board Committee on Proposed Pitt Station Closing

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Last night, two officials from the U.S. Postal Service briefed a Community Board 3 committee about the threatened closure of the Pitt Station Post Office on Clinton Street. As we have reported, the USPS, facing a large budget shortfall, is considering closing hundreds of post offices nationwide. Postal Service representative Thomas Utzinger told members of CB3’s human services committee that a district manager put the Pitt Station on the list, but that the decision was “very preliminary.” He said officials are now evaluating each post office on the list before deciding which locations should be closed.

The officials reported that only about a quarter of 2-thousand surveys that were made available to consumers at the Pitt Station were returned. Among the findings from the surveys received:

  • 25 respondents said there were “long lines” at the Pitt Station
  • 90 respondents said they were senior citizens
  • 42 said travel time to the post office was a concern
  • 58 people said they had a disability

They pointed out that the nearest post office, the Knickerbocker Station, is only .3 miles away. However, CB3 Chairman Dominic Pisciotta emphasized that many residents already walk a considerable distance to the Pitt Station. For example, the co-ops at the eastern end of Grand Street are a half-mile away. Pisciotta said it would be burdensome for many of those residents to walk the additional distance to the Knickerbocker Station on East Broadway.

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Zach Bommer, representing Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, urged the USPS to take into account the large number of seniors living in the co-op buildings surrounding Pitt Station.The neighborhood is a NORC, a Naturally Occurring Retirement Community, meaning that at least half of the residents are over the age of 60.

Other members of the committee were concerned that the Knickerbocker Station is not fully accessible to the disabled. They indicated that an elevator at that post office is frequently out of order. The officials said, when the elevator is not working, they would station employees on the street to help customers. That suggestion was met with great skepticism by members of the committee.

The officials said, if the location is closed,  more customers could order stamps by mail or over the internet. But committee members countered that most people go to the post office to mail packages, not buy stamps. The officials said a decision on which offices would be closing is several months away. They indicated there would be more opportunities for input from the public.

Speaker Silver was supposed to meet yesterday with USPS Manhattan District Manager William Schnaars to discuss the situation, but Schnaars canceled at the last minute. Zach Bommer, Silver’s community representative, said residents are welcome to email their office for updates: Silver@assembly.state.ny.us.

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