Grand Station Post Office Stays Open, Thanks to Astoria Residents

Posted by on Nov 9, 2011 in On The Street | 0 comments

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Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney spoke at the saved Grand Station post office.

Terry Chao

October 19, 2011

Grand Station Avoids Closure Daybook

Word Count: 661

 

Representatives of Queens District One gathered at the Grand Station Branch of the United States Post Office in Astoria, Queens in the rain Wednesday to celebrate its removal from a list of facilities previously considered for closure.

Due to recent financial strains and budget cutbacks, the United States Postal Service has been forced to shutter many branches they regarded as having lower service statistics and overall profits.

“Because of the community and the efforts of everyone, we made our phone calls, we wrote our letters, we secured well over a thousand signatures and we kept our post office open. We got the good news straight from the post office on Monday, signed, sealed and delivered. This is a big win for the community,” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney at the news conference. The congresswoman spearheaded the community’s campaign.

Among the factors the United States Post Office considered for keeping the location in service was how close it came to meeting the $600,000 cutoff, meaning any location that doesn’t make at least that much is in danger of being shuttered. Grand Station made $560,000 in profits last year, so it was very close to the designated profit margin.

The post office is also a central business hub in the Steinway district. With the collective efforts of Astoria residents and elected officials, including two rallies and petitions to keep the post office open, resulting in 1,000 signatures being collected, the community rightfully reclaimed a facility that was vital to commerce and business.

A statement from

The mostly residential neighborhood around the Grand Station branch at 45-08 30th Avenue is comprised of many families and senior citizens. Families make up 58% of Astoria and seniors 65 years of age and older make up 11%, according to the 2000 Census Bureau findings.

Democratic District Leader Costa Constantinides noted that many of the residents do not own cars and so usually walk to the nearest facility. Closing the branch would mean an additional “half hour” to the next location, which is located at 45-08 30th avenue.

“This is a victory for those who can’t walk that far, our families, our disabled neighbors, our elderly, that can’t go to the next post office. They need this post office as critical infrastructure in a neighborhood that is growing and thriving. We absolutely need this post office. I am glad the postal service saw the light of day,” Constantinides said.

Due to a miscalculation on the behalf of the U.S. Census results, the 36th Assembly District had been purported to suffer a loss of 12,000 residents, making it the second highest population loss in New York, which “might have been a factor” in the consideration of closure, according to Assembly Member Aravella Simotas. Both Constantinides and Simotas denounced the results as “laughable” in a “growing immigrant community.”

“We all know that the census did not count the neighborhood correctly. This neighborhood is not hemorrhaging residents but is gaining residents. We are a growing, thriving community. Anybody who walks through Astoria on a day-to-day basis will know that this neighborhood is in need of additional resources, not less,” said Constantinides.

Carmen Flores, a mailwoman and District 14 liaison told reporters the decisions being made in Washington do not serve the working class status she represents. Post office closures mean job losses for many employees in addition to fewer resources for residents to utilize.

“It’s better to keep the jobs we have and create where we can. Stop cutting where you don’t have to, like this station here. You don’t have to cut it, leave it open. There are other solutions; there are other avenues that the postal service can take than have to close this station just because they feel it’s not needed. They are not the community. I think before a decision is made, they should ask the community,” Flores said.

Janet Pope Sullivan, 68, uses the post office frequently and was overjoyed the location was spared from the impending closures. As a member of a breast cancer awareness committee in Astoria, she was mailing in a fundraising form to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. She was unaware about the new development and was happily surprised when informed the location was staying open.

“Oh my goodness, it’s wonderful. There are so many older people in this community. I’m so glad. I thought this would be the last time I could buy stamps here before Christmas. You are the bearer of good news today and we haven’t had good news in a long time. Wait till I tell my husband!” Sullivan excitedly exclaimed.

 

Sources:

  1. Carolyn Maloney, Congresswoman, contact: Bryce Peyre, (212) 860-0606
  2. Costa Constantinides, Democratic District Leader, 36th Assembly District, costanc31@gmail.com
  3. Carmen Flores, Congressional District 14 Liaison, (917) 364-8747
  4. Aravella Simotas, Assembly Member, 36th Assembly District, contact: Loren Amor, amor.loren@gmail.com
  5. Michael Gianaris, NYS 12th Senate District, (718) 728-0960
  6. Janet Pope Sullivan, 68, (917) 599-8586, janetpopesullivan@gmail.com
  7. Census Bureau for Community District One: http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/pdf/lucds/qn1profile.pdf#profile

 

 

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