“No More Mail! Give Back Key!!”
On the evening of Sept. 28, this message scribbled on the door of a NYCHA mailroom greeted residents of the Ft. independence Houses, about half of whom went without parcels and letters from then until Oct. 7.
The root of the service stoppage was an alleged incident in which unknown individuals stole a postal worker’s keys and locked her in the mailroom. Press offices for the U.S. Postal Service and NYCHA did not answer multiple inquiries or explain why service was restored last week. But residents familiar with the situation provided the following account.
While delivering mail on the afternoon of Sept. 28, an unidentified carrier was locked inside the mailroom after leaving her keys in the door. Barbara Luray, the vice president of the building’s tenants’ association, said that the woman was eight and a half months pregnant.
Ms. Luray and Carmen “Julie” Mercado, the president of the tenants’ association, said the mailwoman called the postal service and police for help while men outside the door offered her the keys back in exchange for $20. By the time the mailwoman was rescued, her keys and the men who trapped her inside were gone. It is unclear how long she was locked inside of the mailroom.
Residents who receive mail under the address 3353 Ft. Independence Ave. faced the consequences. USPS halted service, and residents had to trek to the Post Office at 5517 Broadway in order to retrieve their mail. Tenants living at the Ft. Independence Houses’ other address, 3340 Bailey Ave., were not effected. The building has 344 total units.
Ms. Luray called the treatment of the postal worker “horrible,” but added she was outraged by the lack of communication from USPS.
“The post office didn’t tell the residents that they weren’t getting their mail. They just wrote that on the door,” said Ms. Luray. “As you look in the lobby you don’t see a sign, you just see something that was written on a door. Flyers under the door? No, they didn’t even do that.”