“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”
Just don’t tell that to some members of local Community Board 11, who had a chance to stamp their feet and air(mail) several gripes with the borough’s new postal customer service chief.
Appearing at the board’s monthly meeting Thursday, June 22, Halbert Clark fielded responses to a number of concerns, along with promises to get back to the board on some issues he couldn’t answer immediately.
Topping the list of gripes from board members were complaints of mail being openly left outside apartment building mailboxes, long lines and rude clerks at local postal branches – and disappearing postal branches themselves, without convenient mailboxes to help partially fill the gap.
The Van Nest neighborhood has been particularly effected by mail service since the closure of its postal branch on Morris Park Avenue near White Plains Road, said board member Joe Bombace, with even the outside mailbox removed.
Because of postal union rules, a private mailing station cannot be opened until two years after a postal branch is closed, board members were told, meaning the earliest for the Van Nest neighborhood will be sometime in January next year.
“We have storekeepers will to do it,” said member Sal Conforto, “so let’s do it.”
Bombace also noted some residents are hesitant to put important mail in collection boxes because thieves somehow manage to reach in and steal it.
Clark said postal officials call it “fishing,” and are working to install metal “teeth” in mailboxes not yet equipped with the devices.
Some board members said they were concerned that mail not marked with apartment numbers was not being put in mailboxes, and just left on ledges, rather than being taken back to the postal facility, as required.
“We’re just not getting proper mail delivery. It just doesn’t come,” said board member Edith Blitzer. “Checks on certain days of the month – it just doesn’t come.”
Halbert said that while optional, putting an apartment number on an address would be the best solution in many cases, especially when a substitute mail carrier may be delivering the mail on that particular day.
Some board members also commented on rude clerks and long lines at local postal branches.
Member Joseph Bacote was particularly irate at rude clerks at one local post office.
“There were five windows and only one clerk there, and the line was out the door. The clerk cursed me out!” said Bacote.
“Long lines,” responded Clark, “are not acceptable.”