I've been reading letters from the early 80s, research for something I'm thinking about writing. Many of them are from my mother and I'm, not surprised because I remember it well, but amused or amazed or something by how much we wrote about the Peter Stuyvesant Post Office on 14th and 1st. That place was some kind of black site for packages or a portal to hell or just a clusterfuck of bureaucracy and poverty and I don't give a shit about your mail.
I had a P.O. box when I lived on 10th between 1st and A. They'd put a yellow slip of paper in my box to let me know that I had a package. I'd wait in line, and wait and wait, and then more often than not they wouldn't be able to find the package. More than once, the package was just gone without a trace. Two or three times, they found it months later, beat to shit like they'd been kicking it up and down the stairs all that time, and of course everything in it was smashed.
Mom used to send me care packages from time to time. (Reading her old letters, I'm struck by how much she worried about me. I must have shrugged a lot of that off at the time. If you'd asked me before I started reading these letters, I wouldn't have said that she worried more than a little that my life was so precarious back then.) After a loaf of banana bread arrived weeks later moldy, she stopped sending homemade perishables. Eventually she stopped sending packages at all, at least until I moved to Brooklyn. (U.P.S. sucked almost as bad. If you weren't home to receive a package, you had to go to Siberia or Hell's Kitchen or something to retrieve it and we were back then very much opposed to going above 14th St.)
I think the Stuyvesant P.O. has been closed for years, but they're finally getting around to tearing it down. I am not sorry to see it go. In fact, if I knew when that wrecking ball was going to swing, I'd walk up there just to see it crumble.