Howard helps residents whose landlord left mailboxes broken

Posted at 11:13 PM, May 20, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-20 23:13:51-04

49-37 Payson Ave. in Inwood is a nice building.  A nice flower garden lines the sidewalk to the front door. There’s no graffiti or garbage lying around. But mail delivery is a luxury for about half the residents of the 63 unit building.

The problem: a mailbox that tenants association president Christopher Cropper says has been broken for about two years. It’s a simple matter for anyone to open up the front door covering the individual boxes.  So nothing is safe and Cropper says it’s an invitation for vandalism and identity theft.

“So somebody can come who doesn’t live in the building (and) open it right up,” Cropper told us. “Somebody could have their name, Social Security card number, anything.”

The Post Office was holding mail for pickup at the nearby Vermilyea Avenue branch.  But residents say it could be a waste of hours waiting on line there.  And now the Post Office is fed up with the problem.  It posted a note saying residents’ mail would be returned to sender.

For people like tenant Ronald Reid that’s a huge problem.  He told us he’s a Vietnam veteran who gets his Veterans Administration medication through the mail.

“If they send my medicine back to the VA I won’t have any medication. And this will affect my health.”

Chris Cropper says the fault here lies with building management, Manor Management in Brooklyn.  They haven’t fixed the mailbox, instead just letting this problem drag on for two years!

“They just refuse to respect us as tenants. And I think something needs to be done.”

That’s why Chris e-mailed me.  My first step was to call the guy the management person in charge of the building.  For once, a phone call was all it took.  I had to leave a message, but my call was returned with a promise to fix things right away.

And sure enough, a few days later, Chris called us to say the mailbox was finally repaired.

We went back to see for ourselves. Chris gave us a demonstration and we had a little exchange of “thank you’s.”

HOWARD: “All right, Chris, thank you very much.”

CHRIS: “Thank you!”

HOWARD: “All right, my pleasure, pal.”

Neither snow, nor rain nor dark of night will keep the mail from being delivered. And now, neither will broken mailboxes.