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Why Long Island Can Not Be A Mailing Address

In addition to the geographic confusion caused by non-conforming postal zones (ZIP Codes), there are also the less well known but equally important problems caused by non-conforming postal districts/divisions (postal processing centers).

Nassau County is the only county in the U.S. that is divided into 3 Postal processing divisions.

These 3 Postal Divisions are:

  1. all '110' ZIP Code (most of western and north-mid-western Nassau County) mail is processed in and receives a Flushing, NY or, in some cases, a Jamaica, NY cancellation mark;

  2. all '115' ZIP Code (central Nassau County) mail is processed in East Garden City and receives a Western Nassau cancellation mark; and,

  3. all '117' and '118' ZIP Code (eastern Nassau County) mail is processed in Melville and receives a Long Island cancellation mark along with all Suffolk County ZIP code mail, except for Fishers Island in the Town of Southhold that has a Connecticut mailing address. (Yes, Fishers Island in New York is "Fishers Island, CT" when addressing a letter.)

This 3 Postal division organization means that Nassau and Suffolk will not be able to obtain from the U.S. Postal Service a "Long Island" cancellation mark nor a "Long Island" mailing address for all outgoing Nassau and Suffolk County mail. Secondly, it means that intra-divisional mail will take an extra 2 or 3 days for double-processing as it is shifted from one processing center to another before delivery.

When the USPS reports on the efficiency of "Long Island" mail delivery they are only measuring the on-time performance for the "115" and higher ZIP Code groups. Thus, the USPS has the smallest definition of what constitutes "Long Island" and secondly, by not including the intra-divisional transfer of mail from Melville and/or East Garden City to Flushing and vice versa, the USPS overstates by a significant percentage their "on time" statistic.

Thirdly, it means that any mailer public or private has to purchase 3 different mailing permits (one in any Postal Office in each of the 3 separate Divisions) in order for mail to be simultaneously received in all parts of Nassau and Suffolk County.

For example, mail sent from, say, Hicksville, NY 11803* to Manhasset, NY 11030 must first go to Melville, then to Flushing and then to the address in the Manhasset postal zone. This double-shifting of the mail from one division to another before its delivery, adds a day or two versus inter-divisional mail.

Thus, the mailer in Hicksville would have to buy a permit good in the '110' area in addition to the permit for the '118' area and truck the '110' mail to any '110' postal zone, in order for all mail going to either ZIP Code group to arrive on the same day. Should the mailer in Hicksville also want to mail to the '115' group ZIP Codes, then a mailing permit in any of those postal zones must also be purchased.

*Plainview is a branch of the Hicksville Post Office and thus while the post office allows people to use "Plainview, NY 11803", it is really "Hicksville, NY 11803".