Madison Square Station Post Office Murals – New York NY

Project type: Art, Murals
New Deal Agencies:
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The interior of New York’s Madison Square Station post office features eight tempera-on-plaster murals entitled “Scenes of New York” (1937-1939), commissioned by the Treasury Section of Fine Arts funding.  Four panels are found on each the right and left wall of the post office lobby, surrounding the central postal clerk counters.

Professor Dolkart of Columbia University School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation notes that seven of the eight McLeary murals represent different New York City neighborhoods. In each neighborhood shown, someone is depicted doing a mail-related activity:

“Lower East Side (reading a letter to a group); Broadway (carrying a letter); Central Park (reading a letter while sitting on the lawn); Harlem (mailing a letter); Greenwich Village (carrying a letter?); Wall Street (carrying a stack of letters); Park Avenue (mailing a letter in the box inside an apartment building lobby).” It may be the case that the eight mural entitled Immigration shows a mail sack but this has not been confirmed. (Dolkart)

For the purposes of identifying the positions of the eight panels with photos on this page, the numbering shall proceed from panel “1”: the rear of the east side of the lobby (the right side when entering from 23rd St.), clockwise to panel “8”, the rear of the west (left, from 23rd St.) side of the lobby. Put another way, panels “1” to “4” refer to those panels on the east side of the lobby, rear to front, and “5” to “8” identify the panels on the west side of the lobby, front to back.


Source notes

"WPA Art / Post Office Art In New York", last accessed March 2016

"GSAPP: Andrew S. Dolkart", last accessed March 2016

"Wikipedia: "US Post Office Madison Square Station", last accessed March 2016

We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.


Location Info

149 E. 23rd St.
New York, NY 10010

Location notes: Interior; left and right sides of lobby

Coordinates: 40.739338, -73.983838

4 comments on “Madison Square Station Post Office Murals – New York NY

  1. Joe Jansen

    Roof is leaking to the right of the entrance- solution so far is a bucket and mop. Murals are covered in dirt. How can this building be protected?

  2. Joe Jansen

    The Coit Tower murals were stunning. The Madison Square Post Office murals can barely be seen.

  3. Paul Edwards

    In ‘The New Republic’ in July 1940, the British artist Wyndham Lewis wrote: ‘I would much rather go to the Twenty-third Street Post Office in New York City than to most picture exhibitions . . . . I never go there to buy a stamp but what I admire some new dexterity or piece of invention on the part of the artist’.

  4. Judith Alperin

    Too bad this large beautiful Deco Post Office is so neglected. The brass fixtures and those WPA murals are covered in grime. Shameful

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