Van Vranken Avenue residents decry loss of mail service
Mail delivery halted after carrier hit by BB
SCHENECTADY Residents along a stretch of Van Vranken Avenue where mail was suspended after a carrier was hit with a BB last week have been told they can still pick up their mail at the downtown post office.
But for some, including the Jackson family, it’s not that easy.
“My mother is a dialysis patient, my brother is a paraplegic and my father, his leg just recently got amputated,” Brady Jackson said Tuesday at his parents’ Van Vranken Avenue residence. “How are they supposed to get their mail?”
Jackson, of Albany, was at the residence Tuesday, making modifications to help his parents and brother get around the house. Having to go to the main post office to get his parents’ mail is just one more thing he has to do, he said.
Mail delivery to the area around the 1600 block of Van Vranken Avenue has been suspended since Thursday, when a mail carrier’s bag was hit by a BB.
The carrier was not hurt, and the bag was not damaged, but the incident concerned the U.S. Postal Service enough to suspend delivery to the area until the investigation is complete. In all, delivery to about 40 multiple-dwelling units was affected.
Until delivery resumes, affected residents can pick up their mail at the main Schenectady post office at 29 Jay St., postal service spokeswoman Maureen Marion said. Marion had no update Tuesday on when home deliveries would resume. The investigation is continuing.
As for residents who can’t get to the post office, she said there is little that can be done.
“Unfortunately, the impacted customers are also victims of this crime and will have to make plans accordingly for the pickup of their mail at this [downtown] location,” Marion said in an email.
Customers with specific concerns can contact the local post office or call 1-800-ASK-USPS (800 275-8777) “to share their plans with us.”
Resident Fran Zaikis, out shoveling her driveway Tuesday afternoon, said she got down to the post office for the first time Tuesday to pick up her mail. She said she was told the carrier’s bag was hit in front of her house. She was home at the time, but said she didn’t hear anything unusual.
“I think it’s disgusting,” Zaikis said of the mail carrier being targeted. “I think it’s terrible.”
Danielle Smith was able to get her mail Monday, making the trip downtown. Smith said she hasn’t been directly affected, but she knows others who have. She wondered if something else could be done.
“I understand the mailman was shot with a BB gun, but at the same time, people still need to get their mail,” Smith said.
BB guns are a regular problem in the city, police spokesman Lt. Mark McCracken said. Just Tuesday afternoon, a 2-year-old child was hit in the cheek by a BB, apparently by accident, McCracken said.
The child’s mother declined police assistance, he said.
“There’s a lot of BB guns in the city of Schenectady,” McCracken said.
Possessing one is a violation of city code. When police spot one, they confiscate it. McCracken did not know if one was found or taken in Tuesday’s incident.
BB guns not only pose a risk of injury, they often look real enough to be mistaken for a real gun, McCracken said.
“They do pose a real threat,” McCracken said. “Certainly, they look very, very real. They have magazines that drop out the same way a real handgun would, their slides operate in the same way, to a certain extent.”
And Thursday’s incident ended up getting mail delivery stopped for an entire area.
Brady Jackson said his father, Wayman, is awaiting an important package, and he fears it might be delayed. Also affected is his mother, Dora, and brother, also named Wayman.
“I really wish they would get whoever did it, first and foremost,” Brady Jackson said. “We understand you can’t put other people’s lives in jeopardy, we get that, we understand that. But, in the same breath, what do these people do? What do they do?”