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Devotion to the highest standards of care, diligence, professionalism, and skill is essential to many industries, none more so than the crafting of superlative pianos. Steinway is the name synonymous with excellence in the keyboard realm. And they are crafted in Astoria, Queens.
Who Founded Steinway & Sons?
Henry Steinweg (later Steinway) branched out from cabinet making to small instruments like zithers and guitars before moving on to pianos while learning his trade in Germany. His first piano, a small and square model, was a present to his wife Juliane for their wedding in 1835. He made his first grand piano the next year in his kitchen. Known as “the kitchen piano,” it is on display at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art with a Steinweg 1836 square piano. Steinway brought his piano and cabinet-making skills with him after his 1850 emigration to New York from his home in Goslar, Germany.
How Did a Piano Manufacturer Develop the Astoria Neighborhood in Queens?
Steinway opened his first shop on Varick Street in the West Village in 1853. After gaining recognition as a rising maker of fine pianos, Steinway & Sons determined to find a space for the factory and other buildings with room to grow and for the family to prosper. The Steinways also were aware of a growing labor movement in Manhattan and were eager to move the firm’s workers away from those perceived pressures. They hoped to meet the workers’ needs for comfort and security differently. As the pathway to personal and professional goals, William Steinway, Henry’s fourth son, bought 400 acres of farmland in Astoria. The company used the land to build a state of the art foundry to cast piano frames, a sawmill to prepare the lumber needed for piano cabinetry, and a production space to create the instruments. Last but not least, the remaining area provided space to create Steinway Village.
What Was Steinway Village?
Steinway purchased the Pike family’s mansion on Long Island Sound for personal use. Later and still known as the Steinway Mansion, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. The workers who accompanied the company from Manhattan also needed adequate housing. William Steinway had a plan to build Steinway Village to meet the various needs of workers and their families, which included:
- Preliminary street surveys
- Construction of employee housing
- Provision of fresh water
- Public school facilities
- Post office
- Donation of land for the building of a Protestant church
- Public bath with fifty dressing rooms
Did Steinway Village Provide What William Steinway Hoped?
William Steinway had a vision of the workers of the family piano business living in relative comfort, strolling under the spreading boulevard trees in front of their homes on Steinway Street. After the economic downturn in the early 1870s, Steinway Village developed as envisioned. By 1879, Steinway was able to offer the homes for purchase to his workers. Unlike the dreary tenements in Manhattan, Steinway Village homes were open and airy, with windows for adequate ventilation. Attached brick houses were home for factory workers. Single-family freestanding houses on surrounding streets were intended for supervisory staff. Many of these structures still stand in Astoria.
Was Steinway & Sons Involved in Transportation Enhancements in Astoria?
To connect the factory to other areas in the city, William Steinway invested in options whose footprint remains in Queens. Mirroring the opportunities available at the time, Steinway & Sons started with a network of :
- Horse-car railroads
- Trolleys -- using the Rikers power plant to electrify these cars
Not only did these investments offer safe and efficient ways for workers to make their way to the Steinway factory, but they gave many the freedom of reliable transportation. Fees paid for the trips provided revenue to make this burgeoning transportation system sustainable. In 1930 at the corner of Steinway Street and Broadway in nearby Long Island City, Steinway Station was built to honor William Steinway’s transportation efforts.
What Did Steinway & Sons Build for Fun?
Eventually called North Beach Amusement Park, the Steinways set aside a seaside venue to offer their workers a Coney Island alternative. Evening events illuminated by the new electrical lighting technology at North Beach were the talk of Steinway Village.
What Is the Status of Steinway Village Today?
Steinway Street and Steinway Place are still thoroughfares near the operating piano factory. Steinway Playground and many businesses use the name Steinway. The “company town” faded after the Great Depression, but the neighborhood is still vital.
Can a Queens Homeowner Manage Fire Cleanup Alone?
The aftermath of a fire is traumatizing. You might want to try to regain some control over your Queen’s dwelling by digging and starting the cleanup. A DIY approach is contraindicated for a broad range of reasons:
- Water damage from firefighting efforts often causes structural hazards -- professionals can most safely do removal.
- Fire residues are toxic and require specialized products and protocols for appropriate removal.
- Airborne residues can result in poor air quality and require sophisticated equipment operated by trained technicians to contain and vent the contaminated atmosphere.
Why SERVPRO? Our Skills and Experience Deliver Results for Queens Residents
Fire damage scenarios in Queens have many different causes. Fire residues, charring, odors, and damage from heat present a set of interrelated and complicated problems. Resolving all of the aspects needs a highly-qualified fire and smoke restoration company team.
Can One Fire Restoration Company Handle It All?
Over the years, we have invested the best people, training, and equipment, why SERVPRO can manage a fire scene from assessment to rebuilding. Avoid the need to hire a series of contractors by entrusting your fire loss recovery to our wrap-around approach.
Our trained, well equipped, and experienced managers and technicians are why SERVPRO of Long Island City should be your first call. After suffering fire damage, knowledgeable homeowners dial up (718) 440-6994 and expect our crews to arrive promptly.