Two days after Hurricane Sandy struck Queens, residents in Howard Beach did not have power, nor did they have heat, and many did not even have cars.
But they did have mail.
Walking up the still-damp sidewalks of the neighborhood, mail carriers rolled their bags full of letters, bills, packages and, yes, even election mailers in the final days before the Nov. 6 balloting.
Where they could, the mail carriers of the U.S. Postal Service delivered mail to Howard Beach homes less than 24 hours after the neighborhood was flooded by Hurricane Sandy’s storm surge, even while the cash-strapped agency lost both of its Howard Beach locations in the storm.
Station A, the post office branch at 160-50 Cross Bay Blvd., has been closed since Oct. 29. Station B, the smaller location at 102-12 159 Ave., near Coleman Square, has also been closed, the iron gate in front of that post office showing signs of damage from the floodwaters.
Both post offices were closed at the time the storm surge hit. The insides of both buildings suffered damage and need to be repaired.
Workers who typically staff the two locations were ordered to report to work at nearby branches sorting mail for local delivery.
State Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach) said on Facebook last week that the postal service will open a temporary trailer at Station A on Cross Bay Boulevard and reopen the Station B branch in Old Howard Beach within the next two weeks.
In the meantime, however, the mail heading to and from Howard Beach has been sorted at the Ozone Park branch at 91-11 Liberty Ave. The USPS said residents of Howard Beach’s 11414 ZIP code who are not receiving mail delivery can pick up their mail at that location. The 11414 ZIP code covers all of Howard Beach as well as Lindenwood, Ramblersville and Hamilton Beach.
In a statement, the USPS praised the mail carriers who worked in Howard Beach for showing up to work immediately after the storm and delivering the mail in the days following.
“The Howard Beach letter carriers are doing a tremendous job — from reporting to work the day after the hurricane to delivering mail to the community in safe areas and continuing through one of the most challenging times that we have seen in our lifetime,” the statement read.
The USPS also asks those who have been temporarily relocated due to the storm to submit a change of address, place mail on hold or request that mail be temporarily forwarded to their new location.To do that, the agency suggests visiting its website, usps.com and completing the online request. Customers can also visit any operating post office to fill out the Permanent or Temporary Change of Address card.
Residents are also advised to call (718)-348-3900 with any questions about local mail delivery issues pertaining to the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.