The grand downtown Brooklyn Post Office and Federal Bankruptcy Court has been swathed in scaffolding and netting for what seems like forever. But lately the encasements have been coming down and the work beneath is lovely to behold, both in its sparkling hue and delightful details.
It's taken a while. A renovation of the landmarked General Post Office building on Cadman Plaza was announced in 1999. The Postal Service had decamped a decade before, leaving the structure empty except for a post office branch in the ground floor. The government declared it would be expanded for Federal courtroom uses at a cost of $129 million.
The costs since then have tripled. And a schedule completion date of 2002 passed long ago.
The Romanesque Revival structure was built in 1892 as a Federal courthouse, from a design by Mifflin E. Bell, when Brooklyn was its own city, with an extension constructed in 1933 built by James A. Wetmore. Its historic features, including a skylight in the older section and the interior atrium that it overlooks, plaster columns, ceiling paintings, mahogany doors, signage, wainscotting and marble floors, have been restored to their original condition.