Melrose 10451: Landmark Post Office Up For Grabs

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For almost 80 years, The Bronx General Post Office has stood guard up the hill on the Grand Concourse and 149th Street, easily one of the most iconic structures on that Grand Boulevard. Since it was built in 1935, this august building has served most of “Downtown Bronx” aka Melrose and the lower Concourse and even the Yankees before they moved to the north side of 161st Street. It was our version of the main post office in Manhattan which is being transformed into the new Penn Station.

And now it is for sale.

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After years of rumors and threats that it was to be shutdown due to ever increasing costs and decreasing revenues, the United States Postal Service has put up this landmark for sale according to a letter posted in the lobby of the building which was brought to our attention by local Concourse resident, William Casari.

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The letter appears to have been sent via certified mail to Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr on December 31st, 2012 from USPS Real Estate Specialist Joseph J. Mulvey with a certified copy sent to Mayor Bloomberg. In the letter, Mr Mulvey breaks down the reasoning behind their decision and their need of only approximately 7,300 square feet in which to operate in. Mr Mulvey goes on to say, “The Postal Service wishes to work in partnership with you and the community, and we would appreciate the opportunity to meet and discuss these plans with you or your designated representative.

So far, the community has yet to be engaged in any talks and no statement has been made by the Borough President’s office in the month since the letter was sent to him. This is rather unsettling since the Bronx tends to be the victim of backroom deals that end up costing us rather than benefitting us. Why hasn’t his office made this public?

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Operations have already been scaled back over the past decade as it no longer processes the mail for the entire Bronx. Long gone are the days that I could look out my bedroom window as a child and see the postal trucks coming in and out 24 hours a day. Still, every now and again I like to walk up the steps and into the cavernous main area just to look around at the murals. It truly is a remarkable building.

I don’t know if we can save this building from being sold but if it is, we must rally as a community to protect this piece of our borough’s history. The exterior is landmarked, however, the interior can fall into the same fate as the Old Penn Station lest we band together to make sure we can preserve its grandeur.

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If it indeed is sold, it would make a great building for the Bronx Tourism Council as well as a satellite location for the Bronx County Historical Society – just not another Dunkin Donuts. This building has the potential to turn into something quite wondering.

Thoughts? What would you like to see happen here? How do you feel about Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr not saying a word about this in a month?
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