Concern, Uncertainty as Stuyvesant Station Post Office Announces Move

IMG_8001Roni Jacobson

Elderly residents are worried they’ll be left in the lurch when Peter Stuyvesant Station Post Office moves to a smaller location next year.

The branch on 14th Street — located across from Stuyvesant Town and blocks from Jacob Riis Houses and Campos Plaza — will move to an as-yet undetermined location when its lease expires in February of 2014, The Local has learned. “It is right down the street from public housing, so it is ideally located to serve seniors,” said Chris LeBarge, a spokesperson for Councilwoman Rosie Mendez. “If in fact it is relocated, we want to make sure there are no interruptions and it is not harder for seniors to get to the post office and use services.”

In February, the United States Postal Service sent a letter to Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer announcing the relocation plan. The current 34,000-square-foot site will be downsized to a 5,000-square-foot retail space, according to Mr. LeBarge. Mail that is currently sorted in the back office will instead be sorted at the post office on East 23rd Street.

Employees at Stuyvesant Station first learned of the transition early this year, and had another meeting about two weeks ago confirming the move, said Alger Johnson, the lobby director at the branch. Mr. Johnson is not worried about his job (management assured the staff that they would have positions at the new location) but he is concerned about the post office’s customers.

“I’m just wondering about the intricacies for the people that live in the zip code,” he said of the move. Mr. Johnson noted that a lot of customers have P.O. boxes at the branch; it is unclear what will happen to those boxes when the station relocates.

IMG_7998Roni Jacobson Relocation notices posted on wall

A letter informing customers about the relocation is posted on the wall of the building lobby, and Mr. Johnson believed they were generally aware of the impending move. Even so, only one out of the seven customers The Local talked to knew about the relocation plans; the rest responded with shock and bewilderment.

“I feel awful because I live around here, you know?” said customer Halina Giera. “This is my post office. I think many people are going to be unhappy.”

A couple of customers walking with canes expressed concerns that they would not be able to journey to the new storefront if the location was much farther away. “I can’t walk that well and the bus doesn’t go to the other places,” said Charles Smith. “It’s hard, I don’t want to think about it.”

“It’s very hard for me to travel,” said Helen Cameron, who uses the Stuyvesant Post Office every week. “I’m very upset, but I hope they make some changes if they close this location.”

Ms. Cameron said that she has a difficult time waiting in the long lines at the Stuyvesant office. Other patrons also complained about the pace of service at Stuyvesant Station.

“It’s the worst post office that I’ve ever been to, but by the same token, we need it because there is a big residential population around here,” said Jean M., an elderly resident of Stuyvesant Town who didn’t want her full name used because she didn’t want to receive even poorer service during her twice-weekly visits to the post office.

“They are like slow-motion turtles, they don’t care about the customers,” said Hilda Ramos, echoing dozens of negative Yelp reviews. “Maybe they’ll have some new people,” she mused about the relocation.

The Local first learned of the relocation when Community Board 3 released its April calendar of meetings last week. Councilwoman Mendez will host a town hall with community boards three and six on April 22 at 6:30 p.m. at Campos Plaza Community Center, where affected customers will be able to learn about the move and discuss their concerns.