NYC - Midtown: James A. Farley Building - Connecting Offices
Many of the offices at the James A. Farley Building are connected.
The James A. Farley Building, New York City's General Post Office (Zip Code 10001), located at 421 Eighth Avenue and occupying eight acres across two full city blocks, consists of the old general post office building and its western annex. The Farley Post Office holds the distinction of being the only Post Office in New York City that is open to the public 24 hours/7 days a week.
The James A. Farley Building was constructed in two stages. The original monumental front half, boasting the longest giantr order Corinthian colonnade in the world, was built by William M. Kendall of McKim, Mead & White from 1908-1913 and opened for postal business as the Pennsylvania Terminal in 1914. The imposing design was meant to match in strength the colonnade of Pennsylvania Station that originally faced it across the avenue. An unbroken flight of steps the full length of the colonnade provides access, for the main floor devoted to customer services is above a functional basement level that rises out of a dry moat giving light and air to workspaces below. Each of the square end pavilions is capped with a low saucer dome, expressed on the exterior as a low stepped pyramid.
In July 1918, the building was renamed the General Post Office Building and was doubled in space in 1934 by James Farley, replacing the 1878 Post Office at Park Row and Broadway. In 1982, the building was renamed once more as the James A. Farley Building. Farley was the nation's 53rd Postmaster General and served from 1933 to 1940. As a candidate for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States in 1940, he was only the second Roman Catholic to receive delegates towards such a nomination after Alfred E. Smith. Farley also served as a campain manager to both Smith and Franklin D. Roosevelt, and is considered the finest Athletic Commissioner/Boxing Commissioner in New York State history.
The building prominently bears the inscription: "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds." Commonly mistaken as an official motto of the United States Postal Service, it is actually taken from Herodotus' Histories (Book 8, Ch. 98) and describes the faithful service of the Persian system of mounted postal messengers under Xerxes I of Persia.
Moynihan Station, a planned train terminal, would expand Penn Station into the Farley Post Office Building. Plans for the expansion of the the busiest train station in the country, serving more than 550,000 daily passengers, the busiest train station in the country with more than 550,000 daily passengers. It has since gone through a portracted series of delays and redesigns over the years. Phase I of the current plan, "Moynihan Moving Forward", broke ground in 2010 and, with work occuring only on nights and weekends, is expected to be complete by 2016. The phase consists of mostly below-grade, transportation infrastructure improvements including the expansion of the Long Island Rail Road West End Concourse under the Farley building steps to serve Amtrak and New Jersey Transit platforms, new entrances through the Farley Building, and improved ventilation. The second phase includes a sky-lit grand hall with 1 million square feet of retail space. The Farley Building's facade will remain untouched, and it will retain retail postal lobby services . However, all mail processing operations will be relocated one block away to the Morgan Processing and Distribution Center.
The United States General Post Office was designated a landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1966.
National Register #73002257 (1973)