The music will play on to help the Steinway Mansion survive.
The Friends of Steinway Mansion was recently created with the goal to preserve the icon that sits atop a hill at 18-33 41st Street in Astoria.
In order to turn the mansion’s 27 rooms into museum space or a teaching and learning center for small concerts and workshops, the coalition has turned to music to help raise the $5 million needed to purchase the historic local landmark and its property.
On Saturday, September 28 the group held the first of nine performances for The Friends of Steinway Mansion Music Festival at Singlecut Beersmiths in Astoria. The evening began with supporters rallying to save the mansion and was followed by a performance from indie rocker Dru Cutler.
Photo courtesy of Gary Vollo
“This was something that our community spontaneously put together,” said Bob Singleton, coalition founder and executive director of the Greater Astoria Historical Society. “It was really nice to see people come to the brewery. It was like a festive occasion, it was almost like a party.”
The traveling festival will bring together the community at local venues with music from local bands each week of October and into November. The next concert will take place on Friday, October 4 at Raven’s Head Public House.
“Every person has their own unique taste in music but the love of music really unites us as a species,” sad Singleton. “Our community, not just Astoria and Queens but New York City and beyond, believe this place would be a great teaching facility.”
The mansion was built in the 1850s by Benjamin Pike and was later sold to the Steinway family as a summer home around 1870. The Steinway & Sons piano factory was built decades later only a few blocks away. In the 1920s, the home was sold to the Halberian family and has stayed in the family ever since. It was later selected as a New York City Landmark in 1967.
“Steinway & Sons has met with The Friends of Steinway Mansion and is fully supportive of their efforts to preserve this landmark,” said Anthony Gilroy, director of marketing and communications for Steinway & Sons. “The mansion predates even our Long Island City factory, which goes back to the early 1870s, and such a historic building deserves to be restored and made accessible to the general public – which is the goal of this newly formed group.”
Although the last performance is scheduled for November 16, the group hopes to continue raising public awareness on the mansion and gathering funds to purchase the historic property.
“Its fate really is going to be a reflection of our community. The Steinway Mansion is a place for all people of the world,” said Singleton. “The Astoria community is really the caretaker of what happens to this place.”
If you are interested in hosting a future event email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on upcoming performances visit astorialic.org.