NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The holiday season means it’s peak mailing season and as a result, post offices are in full swing.
One post office on the Upper West Side, however, isn’t accepting any packages, putting deliveries in jeopardy.
Paper signs posted all over the Park West post office on Columbus Avenue warned customers their station is unable to accept large envelopes or packages due to “Elevator Inoperable.”
Judaica appraiser Tsadik Kaplan was trying to mail his books to clients last week so they would arrive in time for Chanukah.
“Now is the time to mail packages for everybody, and to have this post office shut down now it’s not fun for a lot of people especially seniors,” he said.
The signs suggest customers instead use alternate post offices, both of which are ten blocks away. Fern McBride mailed a large envelope from the Park West location last week, right before it stopped accepting them.
“My husband died, this was for the insurance company (with) very private information on it,” she said. “I wanted to find out what happened since I did it here and I know it didn’t get to the insurance people.”
CBS2’s Ali Bauman headed to the post office to get some answers. That’s when things took a strange turn.
She and her crew waited in line and identified themselves as reporters before starting to record on their cell phones. Despite assurances from the U.S. Postal Service that recording is allowed, the postal employee refused to talk and locked the door before calling police.
The employee manned the door as the line continued to back up, with customers trying to get in and out since the office wasn’t closed yet. After about 20 minutes, the employee took photos of CBS2’s crew and allowed them to leave.
A spokesman for USPS has since said the office’s package embargo is due to a “significant issue with the freight elevator.” The spokesman couldn’t say when the issue would be repaired. As for what happened to Bauman and her crew, the USPS apologized and insisted “that is not normal procedure.”
The Postal Service says it’s investigating both the unapproved signs and the employee’s behavior.