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Elmhurst border irks residents

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He received the expected response: Elmhurst is located in...

By Dustin Brown

Elmhurst resident Robert Holden recently sent an e-mail to the mayor’s Community Assistance Unit asking the city to identify his community board and police precinct based on his street address.

He received the expected response: Elmhurst is located in Community Board 4 and the 110th Precinct, according to a Jan. 29 letter from Borough Director Dashiell Flynn.

Too bad he lives within CB 5 and the 104th Precinct.

Holden is president of the Juniper Park Civic Association, and he solicited the mayor’s office to further prove a point community residents have been making for more than 20 years: His Elmhurst neighborhood should be considered part of Middle Village.

Holden lives at the southern tip of Elmhurst between 74th Street and 86th Street, an area that dips below the Long Island Expressway until it hits Eliot Avenue, where Middle Village officially begins.

Although his mailing address says Elmhurst, his community board and police precinct cover Middle Village, Maspeth, Ridgewood and Glendale.

“We’re part of the Middle Village community, but we don’t have that designation,” Holden said.

The problem dates back to the construction of the Long Island Expressway in the 1950s, which Holden said “cut us off from the rest of Elmhurst and it created sort of a natural boundary.”

Holden said confusion arose in the 1970s when the LIE was used to establish the boundaries of community boards and police precincts, which meant the southern tip of Elmhurst went into Community Board 5 while the rest of Elmhurst was placed in CB 4.

“They didn’t rename that little sliver Middle Village as they should have,” Holden said.

Holden has enlisted the help of U.S. Reps. Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights) and Anthony Weiner (D-Brooklyn) to convince the U.S. Postal Service to change the area’s ZIP code from 11373 in Elmhurst to 11379 in Middle Village,

Crowley “has been talking with the postmaster about the process, and he’ll be working with both the postmaster [William Rogers] and Juniper Park Civic Association to devise a solution,” said Crowley’s spokesman, Josh Straka.

State Sen. Serphin Maltese (R-Glendale), a resident of the nebulous southern Elmhurst region, plans to send residents a ballot to determine if a majority supports changing the ZIP code.

“Hearing it from an outpouring of the community is more grassroots and gives a lot more support to that effort,” said Maltese’s chief of staff, Vicki Vattimo. “They feel the postal service would pay more attention to that.”

Local residents say the problems associated with their misplaced ZIP code extend far beyond the hassle of schlepping to Elmhurst to pick up certified mail, although that admittedly poses a significant problem for senior citizens.

The postal designation also adds an economic burden to some residents. Senior citizens cannot use a ålow-cost transportation program for CB 5 residents because it does not cover Elmhurst, and a certain takeout food delivery service charges $2 extra for crossing Eliot Avenue.

“Service repairmen or deliverymen who are unfamiliar with this area are continually delayed ... due to the inability to locate my block,” said J. Mahon in a letter to the civic association.

“We are already neighbors. Why can’t we be one neighborhood ... Middle Village?”

Reach reporter Dustin Brown by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 154.

Posted 7:05 pm, October 10, 2011
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