Going postal: DUMBO frustrated as post office remains locked

Even snails can’t send mail

July 30, 2013 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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DUMBO’s only post office – an unmanned “Self-Service Kiosk” at 84 Front Street — has been shuttered since last Wednesday and snail mail customers are growing increasingly frustrated.

“I mailed a package on Monday and according to the tracking it doesn’t show that it’s progressed past the DUMBO location,” DUMBO resident Maria Hoey told the Brooklyn Eagle. “My guess is that it’s locked inside — although it’s possible that it’s lost somewhere else in the system.”

Hoey said she had Consumer Affairs trying to track her package down, but there’s really “no way to tell until its opened back up.”

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There are no signs posted on the postal center’s glass doors, and no word on when the little office will be reopened. An employee at a high-rise sharing the same address said residents have been asking their postal carrier for more than a week what the problem was. “He told us the Postal Police locked it up, but he didn’t know why,” the employee said.

A spokesperson from USPS told the Brooklyn Eagle on Tuesday that they would be looking into the problem.

In the meantime, DUMBO residents have been doing their own research, and what they’ve uncovered leads them to believe that the city’s fastest-growing tech neighborhood is without a post office because someone lost the key.

“After calls and more calls we’ve been told that the key is lost,” Hoey said. “The US Postal Police lock the facility at Front Street every night. Apparently they lost the key.”

A commenter to the DumboNYC blog wrote on Monday, “2nd call to the USPS police this afternoon and I was told that they are waiting for a key from the third-party vendor who actually owns/operates the machines.”

The USPS, however, told the Brooklyn Eagle that the kiosk is USPS property. As opposed to “Approved Postal Partners,” which are branches inside privately owned retail businesses such as Home Depot, kiosks like the DUMBO branch are USPS property maintained by postal employees. According to the General Accounting Office, USPS owned and operated about 2,500 kiosks, also called Automated Postal Centers (APCs), as of 2010.

According to comments posted on Twitter, this is not the first time the DUMBO post office has been out of order. Customers complained of similar problems in May and June as well, according to DumboNYC.

In the meantime, “until the vendor provides a new copy [of the key] the unsent mail sits locked behind the door,” Hoey said.

On Monday afternoon Hoey said that she was told by the USPS Police in Manhattan that “it’s up to the supervisor of Cadman Plaza Post Office– Ms. Rivera — to open the location. That he had spoken with her yesterday and that she needed to get a locksmith.

“It’s been a Sisyphean task,” she added.

Updated on August 2 to reflect that the kiosk is not owned by a third-party vendor, but by the USPS.

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