Three years ago, Boerum Hill resident Anita Byrd was on a trip to Mississippi, and decided to mail herself a package. So she went to a local post office, filled up a 20-pound box and sent it on its way.
She got home, and she waited. And waited.
“I never got that box,” Byrd said. “It disappeared forever.”
Undelivered packages, unanswered phone calls and rude employees – these are some of the complaints Boerum Hill residents have about the Times Plaza Station Post Office on Atlantic Avenue.
But Howard Kolins, President of the Boerum Hill Association hopes that will soon change. After a group from the neighborhood began to plan a protest, Kolins reached out to Community Board 2, who put him in touch with the office of Brooklyn Postmaster Carmen Fede. Kolins explained some of the neighborhood’s grievances, and a meeting was set up for 6 p.m. on July 20, at the Atlantic Avenue YWCA.
“I want to give the community a chance to air their grievances,” Kolins said. “If you want something done, you have to open a dialogue.”
Kolins said Fede will be in attendance, as well as Customer Relations Coordinator, Andrea Burrows.
But some community members told Kolins they would not even attend the meeting.
"They don't believe anything will change," he said. "They are just too frustrated."
The biggest complaint is the post office’s system of delivering packages. According to many residents, the mail carrier will come to the house and leave a slip informing the intended recipient that a package was attempted to be delivered, and instructing them on where to pick up their package – regardless of whether or not the person is home.
Another complaint is misdirected mail. Byrd, who lives on State Street, says she constantly gets mail for a house on First Street. A few years ago, she got a check that was intended for a business on Atlantic Avenue.
These problems aren't new.
In 2008, residents complained of similar problems, and a demonstration was planned. The media was invited, and a group stood outside the post office in protest. Kolins says the protest started a series of meetings, in which some improvements were made: vending machines were added, and expeditors started to help move the lines along, especially around the holidays.
But Kolins acknowledges that these improvements didn’t sufficiently address the post office’s overall poor standards.
“I try not to go to Times Plaza,” Kolins said. “The facility has never been an A-class facility.”
Many say that the problems stretch back much further. District Leader Jo Anne Simon, a Boerum Hill resident of 30 years, says she’s never known Times Plaza to be a well-run post office.
“The overall management of that post office has been hugely problematic,” Simon said. “It’s been legendary since I’ve been there.”
Debra Salomon, who began to organize this most recent protest, says after 26 years in the area she’d finally become fed up with the service.
“Everyone is in a state of anger all of the time,” Salomon said. “Everyone complains, but there’s a feeling of, ‘What can I do?’"
A USPS spokesperson did not respond to inquiries before press time, but Burrows confirmed she would be attending the meeting.
Whatever is done – whether it be another meeting or another protest – Anita Byrd says she’ll be there, though she isn't sure if this time will be any different.
“No matter what is done to make the post office better temporarily, it always reverts back,” Byrd said. “All it comes down to is hideous customer service.”