Rep. Brings Glendale ZIP Push To D.C.
Glendale’s quest for its own ZIP code is now a federal case, as Rep. Grace Meng introduced legislation last week seeking to make the neighborhood’s decades-old dream a reality.
“For years, the residents of Glendale have sought to obtain a ZIP code for their community, and I now join them in their fight,” Meng said in a statement to the Times Newsweekly on Monday, Oct. 13. “Community identity is very unique in Queens. Most areas in the borough are recognized by their neighborhood names, which provide a sense of identity and pride for local residents. That is true for Glendale, and it’s time for the Postal Service to accept and recognize that by creating a ZIP code that the community can finally call its own.”
Meng initially announced the pending bill during last Wednesday’s (Oct. 8) Community Board 5 meeting at Christ the King Regional High School in Middle Village.
The legislation, if enacted, would compel the United States Postal Service (USPS) to grant Glendale a separate code; it presently shares 11385 with Ridgewood. The code was established in 1979 after the late Rep. Geraldine Ferraro led a successful campaign to have the neighborhoods removed from the Brooklyn postal zone.
Prior to that, Ridgewood and Glendale had the Brooklyn-based 11227 ZIP, which proved problematic for homeowners and drivers because insurance rates- which were set according to ZIP code-in the area were generally higher than in Queens locations.
For years, Glendale residents desired its own postal identity, citing logistical confusion in receiving mail from across the country. Because it shares 11385 with Ridgewood, most Glendale locations are technically listed as being either in Ridgewood or Flushing.
In 2012, then-Rep. Bob Turner and Assemblyman Mike Miller negotiated with the USPS to have Glendale listed as a “preferred last line” within the 11385 ZIP code, officially including Glendale as a community within the ZIP code’s boundaries. But the USPS, which previously cited “operational factors,” declined to give Glendale its own number.
If approved, Meng said, the USPS will have 180 days to establish the new Glendale ZIP. Neither specific boundaries nor a specific number are established in her legislation.
“The boundaries would likely be what the postal service already uses, but there could be community involvement to create the best fit,” the congresswoman said in an email to the Times Newsweekly on Monday.
The legislation also does not call for the creation of a Glendale post office, given that the USPS is amid deep financial turmoil.
“The area would be best served by a dedicated post office, but the legislation does not call for one, as the Postal Service can make that determination, and is already suffering from a lack of funds,” Meng added. “Passing comprehensive postal reform is necessary, including fixing the pre-funding mandate. If the core financial issues are fixed, I believe there could be a dedicated post office.”
The pre-funding mandate to which Meng referred requires the USPS to make advanced pension payments for its employees; many observers cite this as the main factor in the postal services’ multi-billion dollar deficit.
Other local elected officials representing Glendale applauded Meng for introducing the ZIP code bill in their own statements.
“A ZIP code is more than just a grouping of numbers; it’s a chance for Glendale to stand on its own as a part of the borough of Queens,” State Sen. Joseph Addabbo said. “With its own ZIP code, Glendale can be identified online and on a map, residents can receive greater mail service efficiency and more.”
“The residents of Glendale have waited a long time for their own ZIP code, [and] a ZIP code will provide Glendale with its own identity,” added Miller, himself a Glendale resident. “Also, residents will receive more efficient deliveries on medications, packages and mail. Deliveries will no longer have to be forwarded from other communities.”
“Glendale has a rich and vibrant history in this great borough,” said Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi. “By designating a ZIP code specific to Glendale, we recognize the unique contributions that this community makes to the borough as a whole.”
Civic leaders across Glendale also applauded the proposal.
“This is a bigger issue than just mail,” said Kathy Masi, president of the Glendale Civic Association. “With all the new technology and the requirements of using ZIP codes as locators for satellite service, there have been times when Glendale simply does not exist, according to satellite. Congresswoman Meng is putting Glendale back on the map.”
“The residents and business owners in Glendale have advocated for Glendale to have a unique ZIP code for many years. Finally, under the leadership of Congresswoman Meng, we are one step closer to this goal being achieved,” added Glendale Property Owners Association President Brian Dooley.
As for a timetable when the Glendale ZIP bill might be debated and voted, Meng said there was not timetable yet, but she’s “hopeful” action would be taken in the near future. As with any federal bill, it requires passage by the House and Senate, then the president’s signature.