Steinway Mansion Under Contract To Private Buyer
Historic Mansion Was Built By Early NYC Technologist & Later Bought By Renaissance Man
Great Opportunity For Queens Officials To Act On Their Speeches About Nurturing Culture, Historic Preservation & Tourism
Well, the saga is almost over. NYC and Queens government officials are about to let slip into private hands, the greatest historical relic of the 1800's in Queens. And what could have been - and could still be - one of the greatest historic sites / historic tourist attractions of Queens. The Steinway Mansion is under contract to be purchased by a private buyer.
Imagine yourself hanging out on the mansion grounds, sipping tea or drinking wine on a nice sunny summer day ...
It's not that Queens and NYC government officials haven't had a chance to save it. The historic mansion, which was landmarked for its historic signficance decades ago [landmarking prevents changes to outside of the structure], came on the market in August of 2010. The asking prices has been between $2 and $4 million, which given that far smaller homes with no significance are already selling for over $1 million in the Astoria neighborhood, it seemed like a reasonable asking price.
Click here to read the rest of our report about the Steinway Mansion Under Contract. The story includes photos and links to other stories we've done over the years about the Steinway Mansion and it's inhabitants and their endeavors. The story also includes the business case for taking the Steinway Mansion public and transforming it into a museum / cultural destination for all of Queens, NYC & the world.
Steinway Mansion Under Contract To Private Buyer
Brief History Of The Steinway Mansion - Click Photos For More Fotos & Info
But no ... or rather nobody stepped up to lead the city in the direction of preserving this historic relic / legacy.
In the prior administrations NYC government officials could easily find tens and hundreds of millions of dollars for development projects, but they couldn't seem to find a penny to preserve a jewel of our historic past. A historic site that has the potential to transform the area into a burgeoning tourist destination. Something that could easily become a magnet and historic centerpiece for Queens. Click on the photo or this link to learn more about the Steinway Mansion significance.
Pianos of the 1800's Were The Equivalent Of Stereos, Televisions & Computers Today - The Home Entertainment Complex
The Steinway Mansion's story in a nutshell is as follows. An Englishman Benjamin Pike, a seller of scientific instruments, [aka technology] built the mansion in the mid 1800's sparing no expense [that's why it stands today].
A German family, the Steinways [of Steinway & Sons Piano Factory] bought the mansion less than ten years later. The Steinway family lived in it for the next 50 years. The Steinways were competitive piano makers, which in the 1800's were the equivalent of sound systems in the middle of the last century, televisions in the last half of the last century and computers today. Pianos were the home entertainment equipment. And it was a big business and Astoria was one of the hotspots. One of the piano manufacturing buildings of a Steinway competitor [along the East River] was recently converted into luxury condominiums.
Steinway's Role In Shaping NYC's Evolution As A Cultural Center - Rivalling European Capitols
The Steinways were instrumental in making NYC a cultural capital of the world, by paying famous European musicians to visit NYC and perform at Steinway Hall. WilliamSteinway was also an early real estate developer, having purchased many, many acres of Astoria / LIC. And he was the first to attempt to dig a tunnel underneath the East River to ease the flow of people between Manhattan and Queens. And the Halberians - the Armenian family that currently owns the mansion - did a yeoman's job of preserving the structure and the historic legacy.
Graceland In Memphis Tennessee - A Vastly Profitable Historic Mansion
An example of making an historic mansion a huge tourist attraction and moneymaker is Graceland in Memphis. Following Elvis's death in 1977, Priscilla Presley hired a businessman who transformed Graceland into the tourist destination it has now become. Click here for Graceland Mansion on Wikipedia.
Ask Queens Government Officials To Make Their Vision Happen
Queens government officials talk about nurturing a cultural environment in Queens and generating tourism for the borough. If they really want to do something to bring tourists into Queens, this is an opportunity to do something really big and really tangible, for what would be relatively little money.
Pike & Steinway - Technological Entrepreneurs
It's also worth noting that the first two owners of this mansion were early modern users of technology -Benjamin Pike, builder of the mansion, was an enterprising direct marketer of technology and William Steinway's pianos were the technological leaders. Steinway made a visionary effort to tunnel underneath East River in the late 1800's. The #7 subway line tunnels between Queens & Manhattan are still called the STEINWAY TUNNELS in memory of his first heroic effort. The MTA will be doing quite a bit of work in the Steinway Tunnels this year, which given their age, is not surprising. Queens Government officials also talk about nurturing technology, so it might be worthwhile to lay claim to some of Queens early American technological roots.
Given these sentiments, I decided to hold myself to the same actionable standard, so on Sunday at the St Pat's Parade in Sunnyside / Woodside I handed a packet of information about the Steinway Mansion to a Mayor de Blasio aide, and emailed him, several prominent Queens government officials and several fellow members of the press, with the same information Monday morning.
Accessible Location - Steinway Mansion Map
Over the years some folks have said that the Steinway Mansion is too far out of the way to become a viable venue? That's only true if you believe that being located less than two miles from one of the nation's busiest airports [LaGuardia], less than one mile from one of the city's busiest freeways [Grand Central Parkway] and a ten block walk from a ten minute subway ride from Manhattan - is out of the way. Click here to view a map showing the Steinway Mansion and Steinway Piano Factory locations proxmity to LGA, the MTA and the Grand Central Parkway.
If You Want NYC To Preserve The Mansion Call - 718.286.3000
If you care about preserving the Steinway Mansion call the Queens Borough President's Office at 718.286.3000 and ask them to do something about preserving it for all of Queens, NYC and the world. They won't do anything if they think you don't care enough to make a phone call. Also call or email the same message to any other media outlets you use or visit. They can help keep this issue in the public eye.
THAT'S MICHAEL HALBERIAN TO YOUR RIGHT
Imagine Yourself At The Mansion, Sipping Tea Or Drinking Wine ...
Make this call while imagining yourself sitting at a table outside the mansion savoring a glass of wine or sipping a cup of tea with your friends - after a chamber concert or having browsed through the great photos and artifacts of Astoria / LIC / Queens early modern history. You'reconversing about the great mysteries of the universe or what happened while you were out on the town the previous night. You're living in Queens, and the borough's new symbol is this great historic mansion that's associated with this world renowned cultural icon - Steinway & Sons Piano.
The Numbers Add Up - Good Business & Good For Business In Astoria, LIC & Queens
Is it wrong to assume that some fraction of 53 million American and / or international touriststhat visit NYC each year might find hanging out at the Steinway Mansion an enjoyable thing to do? Visiting the mansion to listen to some great classical music, or to browse through a historic home out of a Jules Verne novel, and then having drinks on the grounds before heading off to somewhere else [like shopping along what would become historic Steinway Street or eating at one of the great restaurants in the Astoria / Ditmars / LIC area].
Because Of Its Proximity To Manhattan, The Steinway Mansion Would Serve As A Feeder Site To Other Queens Historic Sites & A Boon To Queens Tourism Revenue
It's not inconceivable to think that some portion of the 53 million tourists that visit NYC, would think that visiting theSteinway Mansion is a good way to spend some time during their stay here. A museum where they could learn about Queens contributions to American history.
Learning about how the gantries in LIC were used to move railway cars onto ferries, so that food from the Long Island farms could be brought into the city. Or about how Flushing lays claim to the first bold defiant acts infavor of religious freedom and tolerance with the Vlishing Remonstrance.
Or how Rufus King was a bold spokesman against slavery in the 1700's. And about how the English andDutch skirmished over the land around Newton Creek where the Ridgewood Historical Society stands today. Is this not a way to generate additionalinterest in the borough? Additional time and thus spending on travel, food, lodging and retail? The Steinway name is world known. And everyone loves mansions. The Steinway Mansion could become the feeder historic site for the rest of the borough.
As with other museums and attractions, it's doubtful tourists would balk at paying a $10 or $20 admission fee. If just 1% of them [1/2 million people] visited the Steinway Mansion, it would minimally generate $5,000,000 in revenue per year. There would also be additional revenueopportunities via sales of T-shirts and souvenirs, as well profits to be made from a cafe overlooking the grounds.
Marketing A Name The World Knows & That Symbolizes The Highest Quality
The Steinway Name is still - to this day - recognized the world over as a symbol of the highest quality. This simplifies the advertising, as the name is already well known and has high appeal.
The Steinway Mansion could easily be advertised by posting a billboard along the Grand Central Parkway informing fliers of this great tourist attraction, and also in the Air Train or in the Jamaica subway station through which many savvy Europeans traverse on their way into NYC. These are very low cost ways to get the word out and reposition the borough as the Queens Borough President has talked about.
How You Can Help Preserve The Steinway Mansion
In addition to making the call yourself, you ask your friends to contact the Queens Borough President's Office to support preservation of the Steinway Mansion too. Call or email the same message to any other media outlets you use or visit. They can help keep this issue in the public eye.
Please note that for further information we've dedicated an entire section to the mansion underneath the History section on the navigation bar at the top of this page.
And then have yourself a good day and thanks for trying to do something to preserve an important legacy of Queens & NYC. See you at the mansion.
Consider Helping The Friends Of The Steinway Mansion
Also, it's worth mentioning that a group called the Friends of the Steinway Mansion was formed by the Greater Astoria Historical Society to make an attempt to acquire the mansion and convert it into a museum. And they're still actively trying to do something, so if you're interested, that's another way to get involved.
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