The news that a Brooklyn mail carrier hoarded over 40,000 pieces – roughly 2,500 pounds – of mail meant for hundreds of residents and businesses in Flatlands and Flatbush over the course of nine years sparked amazement in residents and apologies from the United States Postal Service (USPS), which is working on delivering the backlog of letters and packages.
But that September 26 announcement wasn’t the first mail delivery complaint sent to the USPS by Brooklynites.
In the previous month alone, residents in Boro Park and throughout Red Hook and Carroll Gardens had also filed complaints about missing and damaged items, packages delivered to the wrong address, weekdays with no service at all, and even outright refusal of service.
On 46th Street in Boro Park, “residents have stopped receiving mail, elderly residents are being forced to wait on hour-long lines to receive vital mail, and some have been threatened that mail may be sent back to their points of origin,” said Assemblymember Dov Hikind on September 9. “This is outrageous. Many of these residents are elderly and rely upon their Social Security checks and medications being delivered to their homes on time.”
According to Luvato Howard, a customer service manager at the local Blythebourne Post Office branch at 1200 51st Street, resident “mailbox[es are] not in guideline of USPS and we need you to relocate [it].”
The offending mailboxes are built into the base of the wooden doors and have been located there for years with no problem, noted Hikind, who along with State Senator Simcha Felder and Assemblymember Felix Ortiz wrote a letter to Brooklyn Postmaster Edward F. Roggenkamp asking them to “task them [mail carriers] with completing their appointed rounds rather than set a precedent of punishing Brooklyn residents who only want their mail delivered, as it has always been, without incident.”
By September 10, USPS officials had apologized for “an over-enthusiastic” employee and stated that mail delivery would resume regardless of where the mail slot was located.
However, postal problems persist in Red Hook and Carroll Gardens, where, according to Congressmember Nydia Velázquez, residents have not only faced “inadequate service and unprofessional conduct” such as missing or damaged parcels, receipt of someone else’s mail and no service at all, but also experience “challenges in seeking redress for these occurrences.
“Given these challenges, I am requesting that your office conduct an audit of the accuracy and timeliness of the mail delivery process at the Red Hook Post Office” at 615 Clinton Street, Velázquez wrote in a letter to USPS Inspector General David Williams.
As of press time, there has been no word on a response from USPS on this issue.