Residents of Astoria are not prepared to let the Grand Station Post Office be closed down.
Members of the neighborhood joined with community leaders and representatives of the American Postal Workers Union at a rally held on August 18 outside Grand Station, located at 45-08 30th Avenue. The rally was in protest of the post office being investigated for possible closure by the United States Postal Service (USPS).
Local residents and elected officials have currently collected over 1,050 signatures from people who hope to keep Grand Station running.
“Grand Station serves residents of a densely populated community with many senior citizens and immigrants,” said Congressmember Carolyn Maloney, who spoke at the rally. “Consequently, Grand Station is a very busy, crowded station. Closing a well-used facility in a dense urban community would lead to overcrowding at already-burdened neighboring facilities and poor service for local residents. Indeed, one of the most common complaints we hear from local residents is that lines are often long at this post office.”
Maloney also emphasized the importance of residents getting involved in the effort and urged people to contact the Postal Service, either through petitions or letters sent to Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe.
Earlier this month, Maloney, Councilmember Peter F. Vallone, Jr., State Senator Michael Gianaris and Assemblymember Aravella Simotas wrote a joint letter to Donahoe pleading their case for Grand Station and requesting that a public hearing be held in order to allow residents to voice their opinions.
“Closing the Grand Station Post Office would severely burden residents living in the area who rely on it for their daily needs,” said Gianaris. “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.”
Grand Station is among 3,652 post offices the USPS announced would be investigated nationwide. The branch was targeted for possible termination due in part to its generating only $560,392 in revenue last year, which fell just short of the USPS threshold of $600,000. Closing Grand Station would save the USPS $23,460 per year and force the post office’s patrons to travel roughly half a mile to the next nearest branch.
With a decision regarding the closures expected sometime later this year, Astoria residents will have to hold their breath and hope for the best until a verdict on Grand Station is reached.
“Grand Station is faster and very convenient for me and my family,” said Tiziana Cassella, an Astoria resident who visits Grand Station each week. “Closing it would create longer lines and a lot more headaches for everyone. I think it is ridiculous to close it . . . The government should regard what the community wants and needs. We pay our taxes, so we should keep it.”