Grand post office spared

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A spokeswoman from the U.S. Postal Service said that while Astoria’s Grand station has been saved from the chopping block, four other post offices in Queens are still up for study.

Connie Chirichello of USPS said public meetings will be held to discuss whether or not offices in Holliswood, Rosedale, Arverne and Rockaway Beach will be closed.

“As of right now, meeting dates have not been allocated,” Chirichello said.

The Grand Office, at 45-08 30th Ave. in Astoria, was one of five in Queens on a list of potential post offices that USPS was considering for closure. The others include the Holliswood post office, at 197-33 Hillside Ave.; the Rosedale post office, at 145-06 253rd St.; the Arverne post office, at 329 Beach 59th St.; and the Rockaway Beach post office, at 90-14 Rockaway Beach Blvd.

U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Astoria) and other Astoria representatives praised USPS’s decision last week to take the Grand Post Office on 30th Avenue off the list.

“This is a critical center,” Maloney said. “It serves many disabled, many elderly, but also the business district of Steinway [Street].”

Astoria’s elected officials and business leaders contended at two rallies this summer that the Grand Post Office did not belong on the list. Maloney said in the past the nearest post office, at 21-17 Broadway, is nearly half a mile away, making it difficult for seniors and those with disabilities to travel there.

“This is a neighborhood where not many people have cars,” Maloney said. “People walk.”

Maloney collected more than 1,000 signatures to keep the office open, which she gave to U.S. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe. The congresswoman also maintained that Grand Office remained profitable. USPS considered post offices for closure if they earned less than $600,000 in revenue for fiscal year 2011. The Grand Office missed the mark by less than $40,000 in profit.

Maloney said the office’s adequate profits may have been the most convincing to Donahoe.

Astoria District Leader Costa Constantinides, who held the first rally, called the saving of the post office a “great victory” for the community. He said that with the neighborhood’s ever burgeoning population, the office was a necessity.

“We need critical infrastructure to be maintained and grown,” Constantinides said.

Tony Barsamian, chairman of the Steinway Astoria Partnership, was one of many business leaders who praised Maloney for her efforts.

“We want to have a better, user-friendly community,” Barsamian said.

Maloney denied that USPS was obsolete in the days of e-mail and paperless bills. Maloney said post offices serve the entire country and more heavily trafficked offices in urban areas cover for offices in less populated areas. She said she believes the post offices can become more viable through partnerships with businesses.

“The post office is as vital today as it ever was,” Maloney said.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4564.

Posted 6:56 pm, October 26, 2011
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