2011-08-10 / Features

Electeds Join Together To Keep Grand Station P.O. Open

BY JOHN TOSCANO


(L. to r.); Ed Babor representing Congressmember Carolyn Maloney, Georgia Gesker representing the 114th Civil Patrol, John Katsanos husband of Assemblymember Aravella Simotas, Tatiana Deligiannakis representing Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr., state Senator Michael Gianaris, Democratic District Leader, 36th AD Costa Constantinides, Steve Beard representing the Long Island City Alliance and, at r. Aravella Simotas at an evening rally to help save the Grand Station post office. 
Photo Jason D. Antos (L. to r.); Ed Babor representing Congressmember Carolyn Maloney, Georgia Gesker representing the 114th Civil Patrol, John Katsanos husband of Assemblymember Aravella Simotas, Tatiana Deligiannakis representing Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr., state Senator Michael Gianaris, Democratic District Leader, 36th AD Costa Constantinides, Steve Beard representing the Long Island City Alliance and, at r. Aravella Simotas at an evening rally to help save the Grand Station post office. Photo Jason D. Antos Astoria’s four legislative representatives have joined together in the effort to convince the United States Postal Service (USPS) to keep the Grand Station post office in Astoria open for business.

The quartet—Congressmember Carolyn Maloney (D–Queens/Manhattan), state Senator Michael Gianaris (D–Astoria), Assemblymember Aravella Simotas (D–Astoria) and Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr. (D–Astoria) sent a joint letter to U.S. Postmaster General Patrick Donohoe requesting that USPS keep open the busy facility at 45-08 30th Ave.

“Closing this facility would severely burden residents living in the area who rely on it for their daily needs,” they wrote in their letter to Donohoe.

They also requested to meet with him or with Frank Calabrese, the USPS’s Triboro District Manager, who oversees the postal district served by Grand Station.

The lawmakers went into action after the USPS placed Grand Station on a list of its facilities being considered for closing.

Maloney said in a statement: “Closing the busy post office at Grand Station will deprive the large numbers of seniors and immigrants living in Astoria of a facility on which they rely day in and day out. In the coming weeks and months, I will be joining with my colleagues in elected office to encourage residents and businesses in the community to respond vigorously to surveys issued by the Postal Service, and to let USPS know just how much they value their local post office.”

Gianaris stated: “Closing the Grand Station Post Office would severely burden residents living in the area who rely on it for their daily needs. As a neighborhood with a large population of seniors and immigrants, closing this facility unfairly targets a subset of more vulnerable New Yorkers who have helped build the neighborhood to what it is today. It is not right that they should have to further suffer the consequences of the federal government’s economic hardships.”

Simotas noted: “Closing the Grand Station Post Office would further increase the burden on Western Queens residents especially seniors and working families—who have already had to suffer through cuts to essential services at all levels of government. To close this post office when our community needs it more than ever is irresponsible and unfair, and I urge USPS to reconsider its plans.”

Vallone declared, “While we are aware that the large decrease in the amount of mail being sent will result in a smaller post office, Queens residents should stick together to ensure our borough is being treated fairly during this process.”

The lawmakers pointed out in their letter to Donohoe that the area served by Grand Station is densely populated with seniors and immigrants, so it is very busy and crowded. Closing Grand Station would lead to overcrowding at nearby post offices which are already overburdened.

They also noted that many in the community do not have cars and have to walk to the post office, so their trip would likely be a half hour more to get to another postal facility.

Another point made was that closing Grand Station would cause the postal service to lose money because there are other businesses that offer services similar to those offered by post offices and there is no assurance that customers would automatically seek another post office if Grand Station is closed.

The letter closed by saying: “We hope that you will look at the realities of this neighborhood, the nature of Grand Station’s customer base, and the long distance people will have to travel by foot to reach a different post office. For all of the foregoing reasons, we urge you to keep Grand Station open.”

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