Today, Congressman José E. Serrano released the following statement on the U.S. Postal Service's announced plan to sell the Bronx General Post Office on the Grand Concourse. The building, which has landmark status, contains 13 historically significant murals in the lobby which were completed in 1939 by noted artist Ben Shahn and his wife, Bernarda Bryson.
"More than many, I understand the budget pressures that the USPS is facing, and appreciate their need to find efficiencies. The potential sale of the historic Bronx General Post Office, a landmarked community jewel, seems to me to be step that should only be undertaken if all other measures have fallen short. I fear that while this may appear to be a good decision to them now, such a move is shortsighted and will have bad long term outcomes. This Post Office is a treasured piece of the Bronx urban infrastructure. Indeed, the magnificent artwork on the interior makes it more than infrastructure. We cannot sell off the public buildings inheritance we were left by previous generations of Americans.
"It is important to also pay attention to the other issues at hand. Above all, we must ensure that people in the Bronx are not unduly burdened by the need to cut costs at the USPS. We cannot ask frail seniors to walk long distances to use postal services. We must ensure that delivery is timely and uses a minimum of truck travel. We also must be sure that any sales or consolidation plans do not cost jobs. Too many jobs have already been cut at the USPS and we must find other ways to ensure its long-term survival.
"I am deeply troubled by many of the cost-cutting proposals that the USPS has been floating recently--especially ending Saturday mail delivery. As with the proposed Bronx General Post Office sale, I believe close attention must be paid to the negative impact that ending Saturday delivery would have on communities across the nation. Combining that change with the closure of post offices like the Bronx General Post Office would be a double burden to many people in our community.
"In summary, I believe that selling the historic Bronx General Post Office is a premature and unwise decision. I urge the Postal Service to fully and fairly consider the input that they receive on their proposal. I believe that if they do, they will come to the conclusion that selling this historic building is not a good idea. I am sure that in conjunction with all the stakeholders we could come to a better plan that would serve all needs."