A look inside NYC's James A. Farley Post Office

Here's a rare look at the interiors of New York's old, magnificent James A. Farley Post Office at 33rd Street & 8th Ave. It's about to be gutted to turn into part of Penn Station, so much of it is empty, but there are hints, here and there, of its former grandeur.
This floor was once home to the Postal Police! Though you'd never expect them to need it, this area used to be a jail cell for the Postal Police's use. You can still see marks from the bars in the floor. We continued into the old Postal Police offices... This was the main hallway for the police wing. One of the neat things about the offices in this wing is that they're all connected! Literally, a path through all 10 or 12 offices:
OHNY: Exploring The (Nearly!) Empty Post Office Building On 8th Ave (Thanks, Aaronprimer, via Submitterator!)


  1. As much as I regret the possibility of all the old stuff in there being removed (from the pictures it looks like it’s like stepping back in time – really incredible), I always thought it was rather tragic that they demolished the original Penn Station. The current one is really awful. The proposed new station in the rendering looks great and is in the same spirit as the original Penn Station with a high glass ceiling.

    I do hope they don’t change the outside of the building, and don’t remove any of the old stuff inside unnecessarily. It’s really a great building to see as you walk out of Penn Station.

  2. It’s a beautiful place! The RF and the double eagle represented foreign countries: France and Austria-Hungary (or maybe Imperial Russia).

    1. The French and Russian/Austro-Hungarian decorations are in keeping with an international theme in the ornamentation. In addition to the famous “Neither snow nor rain…” the exterior is inscribed with significant events in world postal history, such as Cardinal Richeleu establishing a postal service in France.

      Awful as today’s Penn Station is, splitting up the stations for Amtrak and N.J. Transit will be rather inconvenient for people making connections. I would hope that they’ll at least have tunnels connecting the two, though the 8th Avenue subway line might complicate that.

  3. What a majestic post office. I really like the proposed Moynihan Station; it has a nice feel to it and would do well to honor the spirit of the location.

  4. wow. I was surprised to see this and I’m glad I did — I spent a semester in NYC and lived four blocks south @ 29th & 8th. I walked by this post office constantly and took a great picture of it — it’s such a grand building it’s easy to take good pictures of it. I hope they don’t ruin the exterior.

  5. I hope someone’s recycling all of those old fixtures: they’re worth a fortune on the antiques and building supply markets. A lot of the 50’s and earlier stuff is practically indestructible and of a lot better quality than anything you can get today. For example, a lot of those tiles are probably glass.

    In my old ‘hood in Toronto about 6 small denominations sold their early 1900s churches to developers so 40 story popsicle-stick-and-crazy-glue condos could be put on the sites. The wreckers were just going to throw everything in the dump but some people got together and paid the wreckers to let them go in and salvage stuff first. There are still three or four stores out there selling stuff like refectory tables made from the foot-thick, ship-building quality lumber that made up the floors and joists.

  6. My father was a letter-carrier in NYC through the ’40s right up to the late ’70s. I remember him bringing me to the “office” one day when I was four or five. I’m not sure if this is the building. We took the bus. My recollections are spotty. But I remember a big building.

    He said he remembered when camera crews visited to film a segment of “Miracle On 34th Street”… they filmed the segment where all the letters to Santa flood the post office. The actor was a youthful Jack Albertson, playing a mail sorter. It was a bit part, because he was unknown at the time.

    I still have a post-office issued rain coat, with giant hood and a little breast pocket for holding a pack of cigarettes. He used to get the catalogue in the mail, as well as his postal-worker’s union newsmagazine. I remember reading both with curiosity.

    And yes, he was quite insane, a WWII vet and POW with post-traumatic stress issues that he took out on his family. He told me when I was quite young that he’d visited a doctor sometime in the late 1940s, complaining that he was nervous all the time, wondering if he could get a tranquilizer. The doctor snapped at him “Be a man!”

  7. Its a Landmark and should not be touched, i hope the station plan dies with the ARC. At least the historic Farley Post Office will remain open regardless of what “Moynihan” station they build, if they even build it. It wont even be Moynihan’s Station by then becasue its already been 10 years.

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