Fascinating Post Office No. 5: Ledroit Station, 20001
Location: 416 Florida Ave. NW
On the bleak polygon formed by the intersection of S Street NW and Florida, Rhode Island, and New Jersey Avenues lies LeDroit Station, as lonely a post office as one could imagine. King of its own curious, concrete island, 20001 stands alone at the center of a vortex of honking traffic and auto exhaust. What P.O. lies in this foreboding USPS no man’s land, and does it have customs forms?
1. Automated Postal Center (APC)
The designers of this miniature building left no room for advanced APC technology. Besides, the machine would block 20001’s army-recruitment poster.
2. Safety Glass
Since this P.O. is staffed by an intimidating, name-tag-less clerk, I was happy (for once) to see safety glass, as I felt that I was the one who needed protection. Also, said glass offered a convenient place to hang a picture of a local man wanted for armed robbery.
3. Prompt Service
Only one clerk at this bathroom-sized location, but she keeps the line moving.
20001 is equipped with a parking lot, but figuring out how to drive into it is sort of like stoichiometry—there’s a lot of possibilities, and you won’t get it right the first time. You might be able to make a right into the parking lot when traveling east on Florida. Then again, you might have to take Florida to Rhode Island, make a right, and then another immediate right. Then again, if you took Florida to New Jersey, you might have to take a left on Rhode Island, then make an illegal U-turn, and then sneak into the parking lot. (Be on the lookout for Rhode Island Avenue’s ubiquitous red-light cameras.)
5. Service With a Smile
Question: “Do I have to fill out a customs form to mail this CD to Germany?” Answer: “If I don’t know you, you have to fill it out!” Further discussion of this response below.
6. Triflin’ Factor
USPS rules clearly state that: “A customs form is not required on…non-dutiable First Class Mail International items that weigh less than 16 ounces.” Thus, I must conclude that a clerk who makes me fill out a form for a package that clearly doesn’t require one JUST because she “doesn’t know me” is triflin’. Final Grade: I don’t know any of these people! D+