Volume 17 • Issue 12 / August 13 - 19, 2004

Post office by W.T.C. reopens, gets stamp of approval

By Deborah Lynn Blumberg

Downtown Express photo by Elisabeth Robert
The Church St. post office was closed for almost three years after the 9/11 attack.

Downtowners living and working near the World Trade Center now have a shorter trek to make when sending packages and picking up mail — the Church St. post office reopened earlier this month after a three-year closing caused by damage from the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

The facility on the corner of Church and Vesey Sts. was shut down post-9/11 after suffering serious damage from debris, dust and the building’s sprinkler system.

Fortunately none of the Church St. post office’s mail carriers had gone into the W.T.C. the morning of the attack, and no workers from the post office were injured. Two postal clerks manning a small retail booth in the W.T.C. on 9/11 managed to escape without injury.

Since the attacks, workers have replaced more than 800 of the facility’s windows and restored the marble interior. The post office occupies the building’s main floor, with other businesses leasing the upper floors, which house several hundred employees.

“We feel that such a large building reopening Downtown will really benefit the community,” said Pat McGovern, a U.S. Postal Service spokesperson for the New York metro area. “We’re very happy we’re back and the community seems delighted.”

Before the reopening, many community members worried that the post office renovations, coupled with other area construction projects — such as the rebuilding of 7 W.T.C. and the renovation of 140 West St. — would disrupt the three blocks facing the World Trade Center site’s north side. But now that the facility is open, Downtowners said they are pleased to have it back.

“Getting to the post office was always a pain,” said D. J. Schneider, a law student who works near City Hall. “Now I can get my mail taken care of during my lunch break, so the reopening is quite refreshing.”

New Yorker Brian Kaye has used the facility at 90 Church St. since 1984, but since 9/11 has had to travel to the post office’s main branch at 33rd St. to access his post office box. “It’s more convenient to come here,” he said. “It’s right near the subway, and this is a lovely building.”

To help prevent any increased traffic north of the trade center site due to the reopening, the city Department of Transportation has allowed two-way traffic on W. Broadway between Vesey and Barclay Sts. D.O.T. said they have not received any complaints or observed any increase in traffic, according to Kay Sarlin, the agency’s deputy press secretary.

After the terror attack, the post office’s mail-sorting operations moved to Midtown, where they will remain, and as a result fewer mail trucks will pass through the Church St. facility than in the past, officials said.

The post office plans to hold a grand reopening ceremony, attended by the postmaster general and city officials, on Thurs., Aug. 19 at 10 a.m. During the ceremony the postmaster will re-present the post office’s original flag, which since 9/11 has been encased in the Hall of Flags in Washington, D.C.

The Church St. post office is open Mon.-Fri. 7 a.m. to midnight and Sat. from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., and offers window services, six self-service automated postal centers, vending machines, passport acceptance and passport photos, Post Office boxes and a new Postal Store.

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