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Farley Post Office 1912

by McKim, Mead and White

The James A. Farley Post Office was designed in 1912 by McKim, Mead and White, the architects that completed Pennsylvania Station in 1910. The Beaux-arts building was similar in style to the old Pennsylvania Station, and stands today as a reminder of the past. The post office is named for the 53rd postmaster James Farley, who was a noted businessman and politician.

One of Farley’s most well known features is the prominent inscription “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” This quote is often mistaken as the official creed of the US Postal service. It was actually chosen by the architectural firm McKim, Mead & White, the architects who designed the Farley Building and the original Pennsylvania Station. It derives from a quote from ancient greek historian Herodotus, and refers to the courier service of the ancient Persian Empire. The United States Postal Service actually has no official creed or motto.

Directly inside the post office rests two murals by artist Louis Lozowick entitled “Triboro Bridge” and “Lower Manhattan.” The art-deco murals were WPA commissions completed in 1936. The murals sat in the post office lobby – which was open 24 hours a day until 2009 – and were subjected to the brutal winters, air pollution and hot summers. The murals were in severe disrepair in 1998, when the Post Office facilitated their $300,000 restoration. The murals were cleaned, chipped paint was filled, and they were given a new coat of varnish. When re-installed, the murals were hung ¾ of an inch from the wall, so as to preserve them from further deterioration.

Today, the Farley Post Office is undergoing the first phase of a plan to transform the Post Office into Moynihan Station, a new train station that would alleviate Penn Station congestion. MAS has been advocating for the creation of Moynihan Station for years, and continues to push the project forward today.

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