Astoria’s Grand Post Office is saved after long battle

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U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Astoria) and other Astoria representatives praised USPS’ decision Wednesday to take the Grand Post Office on 30th Avenue off the potential list of locations to be closed.

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

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

Astoria electeds and business leaders contended in two rallies this summer that the Grand Post Office did not belong on the list. Maloney said in the past made the nearest post office, at 21-17 Broadway, is nearly half a mile away, making it difficult for seniors and electeds to travel there. Maloney also collected more than 1,000 signatures to keep the office open, which she gave to U.S. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe.

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

The congresswoman also argued that Grand Office remains 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 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 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 police 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 rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

Posted 12:00 am, October 21, 2011
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