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Midtown Block Under Seige by Postal Trucks, Residents Say

By DNAinfo Staff on January 20, 2011 5:59am  | Updated on January 20, 2011 6:04am

By Jill Colvin

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

MIDTOWN — Residents of West 52nd Street say their block is under siege by a legion of white postal trucks.

Residents complain the trucks park bumper-to-bumper along West 52nd Street between Eighth and Ninth avenues night and day, creating a wall that makes sidewalks feel like alleyways.

"It feels like you're in a horror film. It's not a safe place to walk," said Steve Belinda, 54, co-chair of the HK5051 Neighborhood Association, who has lived in the area for more than 30 years.

Belinda said that he's seen up to 20 trucks at a time parked along the stretch. They park so close, he said, that residents have trouble crossing the street mid-block.

"It makes it kind of creepy at night," he said.

Holly Kanfer, who has lived on the post office block for 18 years, said that in addition to blocking the street, trucks are compounding a growing problem with three bars along the stretch.

She said the trucks give drunken patrons cover to do all sorts of illicit things on the street, including urinating, smoking pot and having sex. 

Kanfe told police at a meeting of the Midtown North Precinct's community council Tuesday evening that last month, an individual was mugged by someone who had been hiding between the parked trucks.

A community affairs officer at the precinct told DNAinfo the department had no record of the December incident or any others associated with the trucks.

Still, Kanfer said she’s worried that unless something is done, the situation will get worse.

"The buses are becoming a major issue on our little stretch of heaven," she told the officers. "Once it hits 50 degrees, our street is going to turn into New Orleans."

Darleen Reid, a spokeswoman for the postal service, said this is not the first time managers of the post office at 322 W. 52nd St. have heard complaints. But she said the trucks are legally allowed to park on the street in spots designated by the Department of Transportation.

"There should be no trucks that are parked illegally now," she said. "We are in compliance with the DOT."

Reid encouraged anyone with concerns about the trucks to call the post office’s national customer service complaints line, which logs calls in a database. If enough people complain, she said, the office might consider changes.

"If there is an unsafe condition we’d like to correct it, absolutely," she said.

But, for now, "Those trucks are going to remain there," she said.