Tag Archives: Assemblymember Aravella Simotas

Queens pols hold coat drive with nonprofit New York Cares


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Councilmember Costa Constantinides' Office

With the winter still in full force, a group of elected officials are making sure those in need across the city are staying warm.

Together, Councilmember Costa Constantinides, Senator Michael Gianaris, and Assemblymembers Aravella Simotas and Michael DenDekker have collected a total of about 100 coats at their district offices for people in need across the city.

“It is important during this cold season that we provide help to those in need,” said Constantinides. “It’s an honor to work with a great organization like New York Cares. My colleagues in the state government and I look forward to collecting warm coats for those who need it most.”

The lightly-used winter coats were donated by members of the communities surrounding the district offices and the gathering of coats is in collaboration with the nonprofit New York Cares.

“Having recently experienced record low temperatures, I know we all appreciate the dangers freezing weather poses to our most vulnerable neighbors,” said Gianaris. “Let’s work together to keep our fellow New Yorkers warm this winter.”

 

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Pols, residents call on de Blasio to help clean up Astoria


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Assemblymember Aravella Simotas' Office

Local elected officials are calling on Mayor Bill de Blasio to help clean up Astoria.

Assemblymember Aravella Simotas, Senator Michael Gianaris and Councilmember Costa Constantinides are continuing their call for cleaner streets as residents voice their concerns on trash. 

The leaders are asking de Blasio to increase trash pick-up in the area, which currently only gets one overnight pick-up every day from Monday through Saturday. The additional pick-ups would take place between 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., during which most of the trash is accumulated, according to the elected officials.

“Residents have continued to contact my office regarding the deplorable levels of trash strewn about the streets,” Simotas said. “We have asked the mayor for an additional pickup service for the public waste baskets along Astoria’s busy commercial streets. Inaction on this issue is unacceptable.”

Local elected officials and residents gathered in September on the corner of 31st Street and Ditmars Boulevard in Astoria to rally for future plans to clean the streets of the growing neighborhood.

“I’ve heard from residents time and again about the depth of their frustration over how dirty our streets have become,” said Constantinides. “Overflowing trash baskets end up littering our streets and impacting our quality of life, forcing residents to jump over garbage on their way to work. Business owners are also forced to attend to litter outside their doors rather than to their patrons. Additional pick-ups will make our streets substantially cleaner.”

 

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Community demands end to disruptive subway noise by Astoria school


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

Local elected officials and the P.S. 85 community in Astoria want to put a screeching halt to subway noise.

State Senator Michael Gianaris, Assemblymember Aravella Simotas, Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr. and Councilmember-elect Costa Constantinides joined community leaders, parents, teachers and students from P.S. 85 at a rally Tuesday to demand the MTA and Department of Education (DOE) alleviate noise problems created by the N and Q elevated subway line.

During the rally, speakers were constantly interrupted by a total of 16 trains that passed by in front of the school. Students, teachers and elected officials put up two fingers, a gesture used daily to pause school lectures, every time a train car passed.

“It is an unacceptable learning environment,” said Gianaris. “It’s been going on for decades and it’s something that shouldn’t be so difficult to fix as it apparently seems to be in the hands of the DOE and the MTA.”

Gianaris and Simotas sent a letter to both the MTA and DOE calling for the agencies to come up with noise reduction ideas, including installing soundproof windows, acoustic sound-absorbing tiles, rubber wheels on the trains, cushioning the rails with rubber pads, and putting up a sound barrier between the outdoor subways platform and the school.

“It’s hard enough to grab a child’s attention, but to have to do it over and over again is too much to ask. My father had acoustic tiles put in years ago, but times and technology have changed and more needs to be done,” said Vallone.

Vallone recently announced the MTA will be implementing a new technology on every train car on the N and Q subways lines, which will help reduce the noise of the air brakes at the lines’ last stop at the Astoria-Ditmars Boulevard station.

According to students and teachers, during rush hour trains pass by every two minutes and during normal hours, every five minutes.

“It’s not fair to take any time away from their education,” said Farhan Mahin, a fifth grader and P.S. 85 student council president. “We want quiet now. This is our cause and we will not stand for anything else.”

According to Rebecca M. Bratspies, professor of law and director of The City University of New York School of Law Center for Urban Environmental Reform, a recent study revealed the sound noise in the P.S. 85 classrooms was close to 90 decibels, almost double the normal standard.

“The noise outside P.S. 85 is unfair to our children and does not supply them with a conducive learning environment,” said Constantinides, whose son attends P.S. 85. “We owe them better than the distracting environment they currently inhabit at PS 85.”

According to DOE spokesperson Marge Feinberg, P.S. 85 is a high-performance school which received an A on its recent Progress Report and some classrooms already have acoustic tiles.

“Instruction is not being disrupted,” said Feinberg. “Some classrooms have acoustic tiles. The 1st floor has five rooms with acoustic tile facing the front of the building. The 2nd floor has three rooms plus the auditorium facing the front of the building. The 3rd floor has two rooms facing the front of the building. They are all facing the side of the building exposed to the train.”

Terminal switches for the Ditmars Boulevard subway station are located right by the school making the noise problem at the site hard to fix, according to MTA spokesperson Kevin Ortiz.

“These switches are scheduled for replacement in the next capital plan (2015-2019).  In the meantime, we have dispatched crews to tighten any loose bolts or joints that may contribute to noise,” Ortiz said.

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Costa Constantinides wins City Council District 22 race


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

Costa Constantinides is making history and will now serve the community he has called home his whole life.

The lifelong Astoria resident has been elected to fill Peter Vallone Jr.’s seat in City Council District 22 and represent Astoria, Long Island City and parts of Jackson Heights. With 100 percent of the precincts reporting, he won the race with 66 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results.

“The voters have spoken,” said Constantinides. “I feel very humbled about the weight of what this means and the faith the people of this district have put in me.”

His win marks the first time since 1974 that a member of the Vallone family does not hold the seat in District 22. Before current Councilmember and term-limited Peter Vallone Jr. was elected to represent the district, his father, former Speaker Peter Vallone Sr. held the seat.

Constantinides celebrated his victory together with his wife, four-year old son, family, friends and supporters as the Democratic winner in the general election on November 5 at Raven’s Head Public House in Astoria. He was also joined by State Senator Michael Gianaris, Assemblymember Aravella Simotas and Michael DenDekker.

“I’m looking forward to representing each and every one of the 160,000 constituents of this district and making sure that government works for them and that they have a voice in City Hall that is going to fight for them every single day,” he said. “That’s why I decided to run for City Council.”

According to Constantinides, he is the first Greek American to be elected into the City Council.

In September, Constantinides took the win against attorney John Ciafone and longtime Community Board 1 member Constantinos “Gus” Prentzas in the democratic primary.

In 2009, he was elected to serve as the Democratic District Leader for the 36th Assembly District, Part A. He also served as Legislative Director and Deputy Chief of Staff to Councilmember James F. Gennaro where he assisted on key legislation.

Some of the main areas Constantinides hopes to address when taking the seat in January are better environmental protection including reducing traffic congestion, expanding open space and investing in clean energy. He also hopes to improve schools for the children in his district and plans to clean up the streets, by prioritizing the increase of corner garbage pickups and funding a street sweeping program like the Doe Fund.

“The things that we talked about resonated in this campaign and I feel we have a mandate now to get those things accomplished,” he said.

Constantinides was running against Republican Daniel Peterson, Green Party candidate Lynne Serpe, Independent Danielle De Stefano and Populist Party candidate Gerald Kann.

“I’m looking forward to fighting for the people in this district,” said Constantinides. “The next step is to go out there and start fighting.”

Astoria celebrates Italian heritage at 36th Annual Christopher Columbus Day Parade


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr.

Astoria got together this past weekend to celebrate the 36th Annual Christopher Columbus Day Parade.

On Saturday, October 12, together with Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr., former Speaker Peter Vallone Sr., Assemblymember Aravella Simotas and other local officials, the procession marched from 34th Avenue down to Astoria Boulevard and 33rd Street.

The Grand Marshal of the parade, which is presented by the Federation of Italian American Organizations of Queens, Inc., was Minister Natalia Quintavalle, Italian Consul General of New York.

 

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Pol introduces bill to keep Astoria clean


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Assemblymember Aravella Simotas

Residents and local officials want to take out the trash in Astoria.

“We all want a clean living environment for our growing community and to help our small businesses thrive,” said Assemblymember Aravella Simotas at a rally on September 24 at the corner of 31st Street and Ditmars Boulevard.

Her office has heard from an increasing number of residents in the recent months about how dirty the streets have become, she said.

“Working together and with the support of our friends and neighbors, I am confident we can keep Astoria beautiful,” she said.

In order to bring some ease to the problem of overflowing trash cans and large amounts of litter on the streets, Simotas will introduce a bill in the state legislature that will offer tax incentives to carting garbage removal companies who can work together with local business and business improvement districts in order to keep the neighborhood clean.

“It is an outrage that the streets of Astoria and the outer boroughs have been trashed by the city,” said Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr., who has worked on the problem in the City Council. “While the population has increased, trash can pickups have decreased, which has resulted in overflowing cans and garbage on our streets. The city needs to immediately return to two pickups per week.”

Along with Vallone, Simotas will also receive support from State Senator Michael Gianaris who will lead the push for the bill in the State Senate.

“I have lived in western Queens my entire life and I have always taken pride in the beauty of our neighborhood,” said Gianaris. “As our community continues to grow it is vital that we preserve our quality of life, and the Astoria I know and love does not have streets covered with litter and overflowing garbage cans on every corner. As more and more people live and raise their families here, we need to work together to keep our community beautiful.”

 

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Costa Constantinides wins 22nd Council District primary race


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos By Angy Altamirano

After months of campaigning, Costa Constantinides is one step closer to filling Peter Vallone Jr.’s seat in City Council District 22 and representing Astoria, Long Island City and parts of Jackson Heights.

Together with his wife, 4-year old son, mother, family, friends and supporters Constantinides celebrated his victory as the Democratic candidate in the Primary elections on September 10 at Raven’s Head Public House in Astoria. He won the race with 4,295 votes, holding onto 55.8 percent of the votes.

“I’m humbled by the faith people in this district have put in me,” said Constantinides. “I look forward to having a discussion about the issues that matter to people in the general election, but tonight I’m still celebrating and so proud of the people I worked with, our campaign team.”

The lifelong Astoria resident was joined by Assemblymember Aravella Simotas, State Senator Michael Gianaris and District 24 Councilmember James F. Gennaro during his celebration.

“I’m excited, but at the same time I understand the faith and the gravity of what they’ve [the people] asked me to do,” said Constantinides. “They’ve asked me to represent them in city government, to stand up for them, to make sure they have a voice and I’m looking forward to being that voice for them and making my case in the general election on why I have the best vision to move our district forward.”

Before running for City Council, Constantinides was elected as the Democratic District Leader for the 36th Assembly District, Part A in 2009. He was also Deputy Chief of Staff for Gennaro.

“Costa is all heart, this is what he is, this is what he’s about,” said Gennaro. “He’s all love, love for his family, love for his community, love for his work, he’s passionate about it.”

Some of the main issues on Constantinides’ campaign include improving education, healthcare, public safety and improving Astoria.

In the primary race Constantinides was running against long time community board 1 member Constantinos “Gus” Prentzas and attorney John Ciafone, who ran against Vallone in 2001.

“In a three month period that we had, I think we ran an extremely well campaign,” said Prentzas, who took in 1,701 votes. “We were able to put out the message that we are very concerns about Astoria. I wish Costa the best and I’m to continue being a voice and more active, more now to make sure the people that supported me have their concerns heard.”

Constantinides will now run against Republican Daniel Peterson, Green Party candidate Lynne Serpe and Independent Danielle De Stefano in the general election on November 5.

Whoever wins the seat for District 22 in November, will mark the first time since 1974 that a member of the Vallone family does not hold the position. Before current Councilmember and term-limited Peter Vallone Jr. was elected to represent the district, his father, former Speaker Peter Vallone Sr. held the seat.

 

St. Michael’s Cemetery looking to expand


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of St. Michael’s Cemetery

St. Michael’s Cemetery in East Elmhurst is looking to expand in order to continue serving the community — both in this life and after.

In order to make sure St. Michael’s, located at 72-02 Astoria Boulevard, does not run out of space and continues to serve the community, the cemetery is in talks to purchase a city park space located by the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) and 30th Avenue.

According to Ed Horn, a St. Michael’s official, the park property has been abandoned for years and there is no access to the space except through the cemetery.

“It’s not a park, it has never been a park,” said Horn. “The cemetery is a vital resource for the community. There is a great civil and social purpose for acquiring this land.”

In order for St. Michael’s to purchase the land, it must work with the Parks Department to identify replacement parkland.

“The land is not a park, it’s completely in despair,” said State Senator Michael Gianaris, who is sponsoring the bill in the Senate for the cemetery to obtain the land. “It’s not functional at the moment. This presents an opportunity for a win-win. A small business gets to utilize a place in despair and we get a park space in return.”

The narrow park strip which the cemetery is looking to acquire was designated to serve as a landscaped buffer along the western side of the BQE, according to a Parks spokesperson.

They added the city is still in discussions with St. Michael’s Cemetery and the Department of Citywide Administrative Services about obtaining the site and about finding the best replacement.

“Right now, the cost of a local funeral is very high, mostly due to a shortage of cemetery space in our community,” said Assemblymember Aravella Simotas. “Permitting an abandoned and generally inaccessible parcel of parkland to be used by St. Michael’s Cemetery would stabilize plot costs and prevent our loved ones from being priced out of a burial in their own community.”

 

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Liquor Authority votes no booze for Astoria bikini bar


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

The girls can show some skin, but cannot serve guests some drinks.

On July 2, the State Liquor Authority (SLA) rejected a liquor license application from the owners of Racks, a restaurant and bar that owners are seeking to open at 19-26 Steinway Street.

During the SLA meeting, local politicians and residents showed up to voice their heavy opposition to the bar, where female servers would be wearing bikinis.

“A place like Racks is wholly out of character with the family-friendly neighborhood of its proposed location,” said Assemblymember Aravella Simotas, whose office has heard a large community outcry against the bar. “Astoria does not need scantily-clad women performing lap and pole dances a stone’s throw away from a playground, middle school and our neighbor’s homes.”

According to Simotas, the proposed adult establishment would reduce property values, increase the need for additional law enforcement and damage the community.

“I tip my hat to the State Liquor Authority for listening to our community and helping preserve the character of our neighborhood,” said Senator Michael Gianaris. “This decision is a victory for our quality of life and for the thousands of families raising their children in Astoria.”

In April, Community Board 1 voted against a liquor license recommendation for Racks. But the board added that the owners could still set up shop and even feature topless adult entertainment.

Kerry John Katsorhis, the lawyer for Racks, could not be reached as of press time. During the April meeting, he said children would not have to pass by the bar to get the playground.

 

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Coalition formed to save Steinway Mansion


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Gary Vollo

A new group is aiming to preserve the iconic Steinway Mansion for future generations to enjoy the historic local landmark.

The Friends of Steinway Mansion is a newly formed coalition with members including Steinway & Sons, the Queens Economic Development Corporation, local officials and historians.

“It is the stuff of New York legend. Within its walls was ‘the cradle of creativity,’ under its beams lived ‘a household of genius.’ It is cut from the cloth that defines our city,” said Bob Singleton, coalition founder and executive director of the Greater Astoria Historical Society. “It is a place that celebrates something any New Yorker instinctively understands – it is a monument to the unique spirit of New York and its people.”

The coalition will have to raise millions of dollars for the purchase of the house, which has been on sale for about two years at a reported asking price of $2.9 million. Funds are also needed for maintenance, restoration, and conversion into a public facility.

The 27 rooms in the mansion could become a museum space or a teaching and learning center for small concerts and workshops, according to Singleton.

The mansion that sits on top of a hill at 18-33 41st Street in Astoria was built in the 1850s by Benjamin Pike and was later sold to the Steinway family as a summer home around 1870, with the Steinway & Sons piano factory built decades later only a few blocks away. In the 1920s, the home was sold to the Halberian family and has stayed in the family ever since. It was later selected as a New York City Landmark in 1967.

“We fully support the efforts to preserve the Steinway Mansion and its historical relevance,” said Anthony Gilroy, director of marketing and communications for Steinway & Sons. “The Mansion is one of the oldest and most historic buildings in the area. It predates our factory by about two decades – and we’ve been in this spot since the early 1870s.”

In a 2006 documentary on the iconic home featuring the late Henry Steinway and Mike Halberian, who died in 2010, Halberian offers a hope that “that generations yet unborn have an opportunity to experience the house and its surrounding property’s extraordinary magic,” said Singleton.

“Steinway Mansion is one of Queens most treasured landmarks. For the past 155 years it has stood as a tangible window into the fascinating past of New York City and its influential residents,” said Assemblymember Aravella Simotas.

Promising Halberian that his dream would come true, the coalition members are making sure the mansion is preserved with the help of the public, as the Friends of Steinway Mansion will formally kick off its campaign in early May.
“The public can help. Email us or better, drum up public support on Facebook at our Friends of Steinway Mansion page,” said Singleton. “Let your imagination free. Give us your suggestions and ideas.”

Photo courtesy of Greater Astoria Historical Society, Henry Z. Steinway Collection

 

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New sexual conduct legislation introduced


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

Assemblymember Aravella Simotas has introduced a new bill that would define rape as sexual conduct rather than sexual intercourse, preventing criminals from escaping charges on a “technicality.” The assemblymember’s actions come in response to the State Supreme Court Justice’s declaration of a mistrial on the rape charge against former New York City Police Officer Michael Pena, who was convicted of several other charges for holding a Bronx school teacher at gunpoint, threatening her life and forcibly sodomizing her, but not convicted of the top count of rape.

No verdict was reached on the rape charge despite evidence of the defendant’s semen in the victim’s underwear, eyewitness testimony and the victim’s own account. The current law states a rape charge requires an element of penetration.

“Common sense dictates that what happened to the victim in this case is rape,” said Simotas.

The proposed legislation re-defines the crimes of rape in the first, second and third degrees to include oral sexual conduct, anal sexual conduct and aggravated sexual contact, in addition to sexual intercourse, as an element of rape charges.

“Pena and his defense team found a way to get away with rape,” Simotas said. “This legislation will ensure that no other victim will face the same indignity that this Bronx schoolteacher suffered.”

Bill would stiffen sex offender penalties


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

In an effort to keep the public safe from sexual abuse, the New York State Senate has passed a bill increasing the penalty for repeat offenders.

The Senate has approved legislation introduced by Senator Michael Gianaris which excludes time spent in prison from the 10-year period during which the actions of a repeat sex offender are deemed “persistent sexual abuse.”

Under the current law, criminals who commit certain sex crimes on multiple occasions can count time they are incarcerated towards the decade-long period in which they are subject to harsher penalties.

“Repeat sex offenders must be punished to the fullest extent of the law,” Gianaris said. “By specifically directing the exclusion of any time during which a person was incarcerated from the 10 year look back period, this bill would more effectively hold the offender accountable under the law.”

The legislation has yet to reach the Assembly floor for a vote, but if passed there, it will be sent to Governor Andrew Cuomo for signing.

“This bill is intended to prevent sex offenders who repeatedly target women and children from finding leniency in legal loopholes,” said Assemblymember Aravella Simotas, who co-authored the bill. “The legislation’s passage in the Senate is an important first step towards ensuring that individuals who commit persistent sexual abuse face the full consequences of their crimes.”

Astoria against homeless shelter


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

The Astoria community is hostile towards a potential hostel that would house the local homeless.

Officials and residents banded together against a proposal to turn the Westway Motel – a current impermanent haven for homeless families — into a full-time shelter.

In January of 2012, Community Board 1 received notification that a non-profit organization, Housing Solutions USA, submitted an application to the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) in the hopes of acquiring accommodations for 120 homeless families.

The Westway Motel has acted as a temporary shelter for homeless single adults and families since 2006. According to local officials, the facility has been the subject of complaints — ranging from car and home break-ins to prostitution — from residents living in the surrounding area.

In 2007, Councilmember Peter Vallone mediated an agreement to transition the property from a long-term shelter to an overnight one. He feels the Astoria community cannot support the burden brought upon it by full-time housing.

“This community of one- and two-family homes can’t sustain the strain of a full-time homeless shelter,” said Vallone. “It has always been my position that we need to be responsible for our homeless population, but not at the expense of homeowners. We have endured the current terms, but under no circumstances will we allow a full-time shelter.”

Assemblymember Aravella Simotas understands that while the city has a responsibility to care for the homeless population, it should not be done at the expense of the rest of the community.

“Placing over 100 homeless families in a residential community without sufficient access to transportation, grocery stores and other amenities does a disservice not only to those individuals, but to our local residents as well,” said Simotas.

According to a spokesperson from DHS, the proposal regarding the Westway Motel is still being reviewed.

Taminent Club celebrates 80 years


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Mike DiBartolomeo

Members of the Taminent Democratic Club, a political organization that supports local government, gathered at Riccardo’s by the Bridge in Astoria on November 5 for their 80thannual dinner dance. Several members of the Taminent Democratic Club received awards, including Linda Perno for “Woman of the Year” and Jeffery Sandhaus M.D. for “Man of the Year.” Dolores DeCrescenzo and Patrick Dolan won the Gloria D’Amico and the Ralph DeMarco Awards, respectively.

Perno is a member of the Astoria Kiwanis and serves on the Board of Directors for the Astoria Civic Association. Sandhaus is the Chief of Urology at Mount Sinai Queens. DeCrescenzo last served as the Deputy City Clerk of Bronx County, and Dolan is the President of the Steamfitters Local Union 638.

Also in attendance were local government officials such as District Attorney Richard A. Brown, City Comptroller John Liu and State Senator Michael Gianaris.

Taminent District Leader and former State Senator George Onorato spoke briefly. Afterwards, a surprise cake was revealed in honor of his birthday.

Astoria Post Office saved


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Congressmember Carolyn Maloney Assemblymember Aravella Simotas, Congressmember Carolyn Maloney, District Leader Costa Constantinides and Senator Michael Gianaris (left to right) celebrate saving of Grand Station Post Office from possible closure

Patrons of the Grand Station Post Office have had their wish signed, sealed and delivered.

Following months of apprehension regarding the fate of the post office, the United States Postal Service (USPS) recently announced that Grand Station was removed from a list of branches targeted for potential closure.

Congressmember Carolyn Maloney was joined by Senator Michal Gianaris, Assemblymember Aravella Simotas and other community leaders of western Queens at Grand Station on October 19 for a celebratory gathering to announce the saving of the post office.

“For residents and businesses, Grand Station provides vital services,” said Maloney, who led the meeting. “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.”

This past summer, multiple rallies were held in objection to the USPS’ examination of Grand Station, located at 45-08 30th Avenue in Astoria.

Several community leaders also sent a letter to Post Master General Patrick Donahoe, along with petitions signed by over 1,000 residents protesting the prospective closure of the post office.

“As our neighborhood continues to grow, we cannot afford to lose important services such as those provided by the Grand Station Post Office,” said Gianaris. “I am thrilled 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.”

The USPS’ investigation studied numerous qualities at 3,652 branches being targeted nationwide, including foot traffic, the number of customers compared to workers’ wages, proximity to other post offices and mail volume.

Grand Station was among the offices examined 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 have saved the USPS $23,460 per year and forced the post office’s patrons to travel roughly half a mile to the next nearest branch.

“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.”

Photo Courtesy of Congressmember Carolyn Maloney

Assemblymember Aravella Simotas, Congressmember Carolyn Maloney, District Leader Costa Constantinides and Senator Michael Gianaris (left to right) celebrate saving of Grand Station Post Office from possible closure