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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Going Postal in Midtown

33rd Street Post Office cornice
Photo by myself of the main post office at 33rd Street and Eighth Avenue.

This enormous building comprises an entire city block, and was designed by the renowned architecture firm McKim, Mead and White. It was built in 1912.

Wikipedia says that the motto carved into the cornice was actually supplied by the architecture firm, and comes from Ancient Greek writings. Apparently the postal service in ancient Greece was pretty good.

The entire inscription reads:'Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds', and spans the length of the facade.


Related posts: The Royalton, Revisited, Architecture, A Glorified Profession and Dusk Among Towers.


Frank de Jol said...

Beautiful columns.
Without actually windows the building looks like ancient buildings.
In 1912, still wanted to do such beautiful things.

Anonymous said...

About the only thing that stops the postmen and postwomen from delilvering mail here is no sidewalks. You must have sidewalks if you want mail delivered. You put sidewalks in and the postmen and postwomen walk in the grass from house to house.

Anonymous said...

Cool shot.


dianasfaria.com said...

Kitty, isn't that the neatest thing? Cool photo.
& Abe, I'm sorry to hear it, but that is so funny!

ChickenUnderwear said...

Back in the '90s NYC had a lot of snow. Residential mail delivery was suspended for a couple of days. The Postmaster was interviewed with that inscription over his shoulder.

The question went something like this,"How can you suspend delivery when you have that written on top you your main Post Office?"

I remember the answer something like this. "It's a motto, not a policy."

Washington Cesar Takeuchi said...

Hi Kitty,

Great picture, nice building.

Did you take the picture from ground? How did obtain that point of view?


Michael said...

Thanks for the photo. I never got to see this great building in all it's glory, on a visit in 2006.

Tiago said...

Nice photo!

mari said...

Beautiful shot! Years ago, when I lived in the West Village, I remember going there around 11 p.m. on April 15th to get my tax return stamped on time. There were people walking around dressed as bottles of Tylenol passing out samples, and a small food truck that I think was doing pretty good business...and there were a few people still filling out their forms in line (!). The building is definitely more beautiful in the day when you can really see it.

Ken Mac said...

you always set up a nice frame, Kitty

Kitty said...

Thanks everyone! Glad people like this building as much as I do.

Frank yes, the Beaux Arts period focused on such ornate Classical decoration, and we're lucky for it!

Hi Abe
Love your funny quip. We don't have much grass here in NYC! ;-)

Thanks Paz and Lily!

Ha, Chicken. It's great that you remember such a quote. I remember that snowstorm.

Hi Washington
I took the photo from across the street on the sidewalk. I tweaked the perspective a little afterwards, to correct the distortion.

Hi Michael
Hope you revisit and see it! It's located just behind Penn Station. Not the greatest area, but a short walk to Times Square.

Thanks TC :-)

Hi Mari
Ha, I know what you mean. I've been there too (though not filling out forms, just mailing the taxes out). It's quite a scene, no?

Thanks Ken Mac!!

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