Signed, Sealed, Delivered
Astoria residents were pleasantly surprised to find that the branch located at 45-08 30th Ave. will remain open after an announcement came on October 19 via the United States Postal Service after it abandoned its plans to close the small location that services thousands of customers every year. The USPS reached their decision last week after more than 1,000 residents signed petitions, which Congressmember Carolyn Maloney delivered to Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe last August.
That same day, local community leaders and elected officials greeted people as they entered the Grand Station branch to buy stamps and pick up and drop off their mail.
“For residents and businesses, Grand Station provides vital services,” Maloney said. “I thank the postal service for hearing our concerns and keeping this important community institution open for business. Above all, I’d like to thank the countless residents and business owners of Astoria who spoke out to save their post office. This is really a victory for them and the entire community.”
Maloney has now led successful efforts to prevent the closure of three post offices in the 14th Congressional District that had been placed on a list of USPS facilities to be considered for closure including Pitt Station and Cherokee Station, both in Manhattan.
Maloney was joined by state Senator Michael Gianaris, Assemblymember Aravella Simotas and District Leader Costa Constantinides. Along with Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr. and former City Council Speaker Peter Vallone Sr. (who were not present) all were instrumental in helping to keep the branch operating.
“As our neighborhood continues to grow, we cannot afford to lose important services such as those provided by the Grand Station Post Office.
I am thrilled that we were able to save this community resource, particularly for our seniors who spent their lives making our neighborhood as great as it is today,” Gianaris said.
In July of this year, the USPS announced that it was considering closing Grand Station and 3,652 other post offices nationwide. Grand Station was placed on a list of likely closures because it made less than $600,000 in revenue in 2010 and because there are more than 15 other post offices within a ten-mile radius. However, elected officials and residents argued that the closest alternative post office is nearly a half-mile away, making it difficult for elderly residents to walk to or access the post office because they do not have a car or a home computer.
“This news comes as great relief to the many seniors, people with disabilities and working men and women who rely on Grand Station for essential services. I am proud to have stood with my colleagues in government and a united community in this effort to preserve a vital neighborhood resource, and I thank the post office for recognizing meeting the needs of Western Queens residents,”
Also present at the event were members of the Central Astoria Local Development Coalition (CALDC) including Executive Director Marie Torniali, Vice President, Gazette Publisher Tony Barsamian and Steinway Astoria Partnership President Kevin Foley.