Sunday, August 7, 2011

Postmark Adventures: Fire Island, NY; Part III

Now for the third of three entries about the post offices of Fire Island. [Here are the links for Parts I and II.] Part of the enjoyment of making this postal run is that I doubt there's such a high concentration of CPOs, or otherwise unique and tricky-to-reach post offices, anywhere in the country.

Day 2 – August 31, 2010
August 31 was the last day all Fire Island post offices would be open during the summer season. It was most efficient to visit the final three offices as follows: (1) Take the Sayville—Fire Island Pines ferry in early in the morning; (2) visit the extreme, earliest-closing post office (Davis Park) first; (3) take the water taxi back to Fire Island Pines and visit that office; (4) walk to Cherry Grove, visit that CPO, and take the other Sayville ferry back.

The distance from Fire Island Pines to Davis Park is 4.5 miles, but the water taxi wasn’t running that morning. Thus, I had to start the day by walking, in 95° heat, on a bright and sunny day, 4.5 miles – on the beach. (At least it wasn’t uphill, both ways.) After 2.5 miles I came across a house-cleaner who'd just finished a job and had a boat. She took pity and piloted me the rest of the distance to Davis Park.

Davis Park’s CPO was a couple hundred feet along the main north-south road from the ferry terminal. A hand-painted wood sign with blue-and-yellow lettering adorned the front of the building, which also serves as the community's ‘free lending library’. There are filled bookshelves in the customer area of the building. Above the front door, inside, there are photographs of the prior buildings that have housed the Davis Park CPO. There are also Fire Island postcards for sale inside.

Davis Park Post Office [CPO]:

Postcards showing photos of the office:

The only official postmark was a "Patchogue, NY" cancel; I was told they'd have a Davis Park dater this year.

I bought a Pepsi at the general store across the street, refilled my canteen with water, and began the 4.5-mile trudge pack to Fire Island Pines. By the time I'd arrived at the Fire Island Pines office, a beautiful and seemingly new wooden structure with a green Post Office sign, it was just past closing time (1 pm). Fortunately a bit of pleading got me some cards canceled for my collection before they headed off for the day.

Fire Island Pines Post Office [CPO]:

The Cherry Grove CPO is closed from 12:45 to 2:45 for lunch. I opted to take my lunch at a pizza shop in Fire Island Pines.

Cherry Grove's post office is in a blue building that appeared to house residents on the upper floor. It had a couple hundred old PO boxes. I got some photos for the museum but didn't feel like staying for postmarks; it was 1:55, and after 2:00 the next ferry left at 4:00.

Cherry Grove Post Office [CPO]:

Fortunately there was some more post office time left in the day, so I stopped at Cherry Grove's Sayville parent office and met the Postmaster. He said he could either forward the requests to the CPO, or personally cancel some cards once he got the daters back for the season. True to his word, I mailed for and got the cards later.

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