Today, in honor of New York Fashion Week's move to Moynihan Station, our 34th Street archivist Anne Kumer shares some history of the building also known as Farley Post Office. This post also appears on NYC Circa.
|Overview of Farley and Penn Station, looking west. Smaller apartment buildings and brownstones are still visible to the buildings' north (right of the frame). Photo: MCNY|
|Image: Pisark's Cards|
In 1914, Ira Schnapp, who at the time was designing stamps for the Postal Department, was hired as a stone carver by the US Post Office Department to design, and hand-carve the famous quote on the building's front facade:
NEITHER SNOW NOR RAIN NOR HEAT NOR GLOOM OF NIGHT STAYS THESE COURIERS FROM THEIR APPOINTED ROUNDS
The quote comes from Herodotus' Histories 8.98, and refers to Angarum, the royal riding post in the Persian Empire. Schnapp had previous experience carving, having completed the front facade of the New York Public Library in 1911 when he was just 19 years old.
Around 1918, Penn Terminal was renamed General Post Office Building.
|General Post Office Building, 1920. Photo: NYPL Digital|
In 1933, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt appointed James A. Farley as the 53rd Postmaster General. Under Farley's leadership, a western annex was added onto the existing building in 1934, and The General Post Office building was extended all the way to Ninth Avenue, giving it superblock status. Farley served until 1940, successfully managing the postal service during the Great Depression, and greatly improving trans-continental mailing services.
|Farley Post Office Mail Sorting Room, [1914-1915]. Image: LOC|