Sitting opposite Madison Square Garden in one of the busiest sections of Midtown Manhattan is the monumental James A. Farley Building—a post office 40,000 square feet larger than its more famous neighbor. And while MSG is home to the routinely disappointing Knicks, the post office always delivers.
Inscribed on the 108-year-old building’s granite edifice is a mantra for mailpersons, adopted from the 2,400-year-old writings of Herodotus: Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.
From far icy reaches to sun-scorched deserts, mail needs to be delivered, so postage outposts are about as far-flung as human habitation itself. In cities, post offices can be ornate and monumental. In rural areas, mail hubs can be just as prominent, though scaled to their bucolic surroundings. Some mail delivery systems are small—local letters only, please—while others were once the portals for trans-Atlantic postage.
At a time when institutional snail-mail carrying is financially imperiled, particularly in the United States, we’d like to highlight the far-reaching influence of an enduring enterprise—a testament to human communication and connection.