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Residents Go Postal After Years Of Bad Service at Times Plaza, May Protest

Boerum Hill residents first will air their grievances at an upcoming meeting with USPS employees.

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.”

Justine Pojanowski July 15, 2011 at 05:32 PM
This post office branch makes me want to slam my head into a wall. It is an experience of defensive and hostile incompetence like nothing I've seen elsewhere. BUT, I must say that the manager there (who's name I unfortunately do not remember) is WONDERFUL. He's the only person there who really cares and tries, and he will always help you, for which he deserves credit. The problem is that he's manning a sinking ship.
Virginia Rose July 15, 2011 at 07:19 PM
The whole package thing just happened to me! I was home all day and I just found a slip in my mailbox. I can 't even pick up the package until tomorrow! This post office has always been frustrating. Sometimes our mail isn't delivered until 6:45 at night!
ANONYMOUS July 17, 2011 at 07:35 PM
don't feel bad Boreum Hill, Carroll Gardens enjoys the same level of service. It's deplorable. Good Luck..maybe he message will be heard
rachel July 18, 2011 at 03:05 PM
They do the same thing to us in Crown Heights - leaving a package slip telling residents to pick up their package without actually attempting to deliver it. I don't bother to pick things up anymore. The pick-up line is at least an hour long. If I order something to be delivered, I just pay the premium for another service since USPS doesn't actually deliver and the 1.5-2 hours of my time (with travel) is worth more than an extra $5.
HDLBKLYN July 18, 2011 at 03:31 PM
The Carroll Gardens (Red Hook) post office is just as bad if not worse. In addition to the package slip BS and the late mail delivery reported above, our periodicals typically arrive days late looking as though they've been read by the entire post office staff. We've even gotten some with pages dog-eared. I too will invariably pay the extra shipping to have UPS or FedEx take care of package deliveries. If that's not available I send things to my office. FED UP!
Matthew July 18, 2011 at 04:19 PM
I live on the Ft Greene side of 11217, and this is absolutely the WORST Post Office that I have encountered. My magazines routinely arrive 3-5 days late, and the mailmen NEVER ring my bell to deliver packages, and cards and letters will routinely take 1-2 weeks to reach me. Mailmen never ring my bell to deliver packages; after working from home all day, I'm always shocked to find "Sorry We Missed You!" labels stuck to my door. I've taken to having anything of value or importance sent to a friend's office. A relative once erred and sent me a birthday present via US Mail. It took me over 2 hours to retrieve the package -- waiting on the interminable line and then waiting as the employees searched the entire facility for the package. The 11217 Post Office has taught me that I can read most of my magazines online, use FedEx and UPS for my shipping needs, and confirmed my belief that the US Post Office is one of the most ineffective institutions.
Giles Habibula July 18, 2011 at 06:16 PM
They do the same thing with packages (and certified mail, too) at the Kensington station, 11218. No real attempt at delivery, just the delivery of those "we re-deliver for you" notices. They no longer give out the phone numbers of the stations, so there's no way to anyone who's responsible, if anyone actually is.
jfaq July 18, 2011 at 08:00 PM
If management would get off their ass and follow the guilty carriers of leaving notices, it would stop...the craft is so overworked and short of help that if the superviors were delivering or working the windows...lt would help...there is simply not enuf of help and the craft has to take short cuts and that hurts the service... Ask PMG Donohoe if he would like this service...???
Joey July 20, 2011 at 12:55 PM
I live in 11201 and my post office is the Cadman Plaza location. Horrible! For years, they mixed up my building's mail with an address in Williamsburg. My carriers don't even leave notices for packages. You track a shipment online and it says a delivery was attempted and a notice was left, but neither is true. You go to pick up the package at the post office and it's not there; it's "still on the truck." Is there a truck wandering around Brooklyn with all of our packages? A first class letter recently took a month to be delivered. Last year, I tried to buy some 28-cent stamps for post cards and was told by the clerk that he had none. I asked him to inquire if a colleague had some. He refused, saying that the post office was all out. The next day, I went to ship some packages and landed at the clerk right next to him. I asked her if she had some 28-cent stamps. She went to the cabinet behind the clerks and found plenty. I asked if those stamps had just arrived that day. She said, "of course not." I've tried to call the manager there, but no one answers the phone, ever. Call 1-800-275-8777 to file complaints.

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