I was staggering around in western Queens in July 2020, crazed from the humidity, when I found this mailbox trio. The mailbox on the left, painted olive green, is called a relay mailbox and is used to store mail to be delivered. Mail can be heavy, and the carts that mail carriers push around can only hold so much; so about ten thousand of these relay mailboxes can be found around town.
In the center is a standard issue mailbox of which thousands can be seen around town. Most of the ones you see now were installed in 2018 and have a small slot on top big enough to admit small envelopes. That year, the USPS, fearing that bombs or explosives could be dropped into the boxes, replaced the hinged openings that were formerly featured with new ones with the small slots. The date of installation can be found near the bottom on one side, but as I’ve said, all now have a date of 2018 or later. I could occasionally find 1950s mailboxes now and then, before the change was made.
The pebbled post on the right used to carry small slotted mailboxes, and when I started in with This Thing of Mine in 1998, I could still find a small number of them around town; but all are gone now. These, too, can occasionally be found with the dates of installation stamped on the post, but not all.
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The Hinged Door Mail Boxes were redesigned/retrofitted with the Slot due to thieves brazenness in committing Federal Crime of stealing mail. A Rodent Glue Trap on a Cord would be deployed to snatch as many pieces of mail that could stick to it. Today’s technology can allow the thieves to remove all Ink on a Check in a manner that leaves the Check intact which allows the thief to rewrite the Check out to whoever they want and in an increase $ amount
Another reason for the 1/2’ slot; small mail order businesses (but also larger offices with bulk mailings) started to fill up the mail boxes with first class packages instead of taking them to the local post office. There were days that I would have to walk blocks in midtown before I could find a mailbox that wasn’t stuffed to the top by 4pm. Now everything thicker than 1/2” has to be taken to the post office where there are bins or unmanned windows you can toss the packages into.
It’s a pain in the neck to have to take a small package to the post office.
Sure is but many small businesses switched to using the USPS when UPS raised their minimum price on under 1lb packages while the post office remained reasonable. Initially they were similar but UPS was much more reliable. The post office improved their delivery reliability with tracking services so lots of small businesses switched to them. Right now the starting rate for a 2 ounce package is around $4 for the post office and $7 for UPS. Only large scale shippers can bargain UPS down to a cheaper starting rate. So I would see a small business like a cheap jewelry retailer dumping 20 small packages into a mailbox at a time. Now they have to send someone To the local post office.
I also think they made the slots small as people were lowering devices into the boxes that could retrieve mail so they could look for checks or anything of value. The slots make retrival difficult.
As to bombs any trash can would the the cancealment trick.
I also think they made the slots small as people were lowering devices into the boxes that could retrieve mail so they could look for checks or anything of value. The slots make retrival difficult. As to bombs any trash can would the the cancealment trick.
There also was the issue, if I remember, of there being glue applied to the end of the tray, and that envelopes weren’t dropping into the box– this, so that thieves could steal envelopes containing checks to pay, i.e., Con Ed, or your cable provider.
In the black neighborhoods someone is putting mouse traps stuck up inside the top of TVs mailboxes to steal people’s mail . So some of are have to only use the mailboxes inside the post office this is ashame .