Wednesday, June 15, 2011

DPO'd: Fort Tilden, New York

Back in February, after I visited the Broad Channel CPU featured in this popular post, I was surprised to find that the Fort Tilden post office was not open. It was a Friday during normal business hours, after all.. and lunch only lasted from 12 and 1!

The sign on the door effectively stated "Closed: no heat."

In fact, that was the only sign on the door: aside from some mailboxes and a blue box out front, there was virtually no way to know this building housed a post office. Well, close -- after you look for a little bit you see a paper-sized sign in the window with USPS's Sonic Eagle logo and the office's hours on it.

Here are two views of the office:

I was told the post office (technically a CPU) was likely to be closed soon, due to the building's utter decrepit condition; but I had no idea it was like this. I learned later that the post office was known to close one day a week during the winter, due to lack of heat. In New York City!

The post office served the small community of Breezy Point at the western end of Far Rockaway, and was located at the exact location signified on this map:

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Fort Tilden was an actual, well, fort. Established in 1917 and decommissioned in 1974, it how houses to two arts organizations and is part of the National Parks Service: Gateway Recreation Area. You can find more about Fort Tilden here.

Given the largely residential nature of the Breezy Point community, it seems unlikely that the post office will be able to find a new commercial establishment to call home within the limited area.

The nearest post office is Far Rockaway's Rockaway Park Station, 2.6 miles away. A photogenic post office in its own right, it's now the destination for Breezy Point residents' P.O. Box and retail needs.

Here's a map showing the trek from one location to the other:

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Here's the Rockaway Park Station:

Now the Fort Tilden post office, I was told, was going to be saved by the office of now-disgraced Congressman Anthony Weiner, who serves the District that includes south Queens and parts of Brooklyn. Apparently that plan fell through: While the office lasted through February, when it was originally scheduled to close, it was finally shuttered on April 30.

A treat for those of you who have read all this post: Here is the Facebook page for the Fort Tilden post office, made by the contractor. You can follow more of the story there.

On a side note: The contractor misspelled Tilden on the Facebook page ("Fort Tillden"); and the postmark actually read "Fort Tildeo". Fascinating, no?

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