BY JACKIE STRAWBRIDGE
Astoria is getting its 21st Street post office back.
The USPS lost its lease at its previous Astoria location – 27-40 21st St. – about two years ago. Since then, Astoria customers have had to visit the more distant and crowded Geraldine Ferraro branch in Long Island City.
The new location is very close to the old, at 30-11 21st St.
John Tanna, Postal Operations Manager for the Triborough District, said of the new branch, “I think it’s a great location. It’s convenient for everybody, it’s a new state-of-the-art customer-friendly building.”
Customers will be able to pick up packages as well as conduct general retail services at this office.
U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Astoria) said she was thrilled to be present for the post office ribbon cutting on Monday.
“Rarely in elected office do you get to do something that is absolutely pure and beautiful, yet we are experiencing that today, saving our post office,” Maloney said.
In 2011, the financially struggling USPS suggested shuttering 3,700 post offices as a form of budgetary belt-tightening, although a modified plan in 2012 simply decreased office hours for low-revenue branches.
“Several post offices in New York City have closed in recent years … but I was not at all surprised that this location reopened [after losing its lease],” Bayside resident Evan Kalish, who runs a blog covering postal service, said.
Even throughout the rainy Monday morning of the ribbon cutting ceremony, business was flowing at the new branch.
Maloney also recognized the challenges many residents faced after the loss of their local post office.
“As you know when we lost our other lease, we had to move to the Ferraro post office,” Maloney said. “It was a mile away. Now, some people will say, ‘a mile isn’t that bad.’ But in Astoria, we walk. People walk to the post office. So to be a mile away means our seniors, and our elderly, and our disabled can’t get there.”
Maloney added that the lease for the Long Island City Plaza post office branch located at 21st Street and 46th Road is almost up, and her office is currently searching – and accepting suggestions – for potential new branch locations.
Reach Jackie Strawbridge at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 128, firstname.lastname@example.org or @JNStrawbridge.