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Historic clock returned to Steinway sidewalk

An historic clock has returned to Astoria in time to silently ring in the New Year. The 15-foot-seven-inch, cast-iron sidewalk clock, situated at 30-78 Steinway Street, had been missing from its usual locale since June 2007, when it was removed for renovations.
“We are very excited, thrilled would be the word, after all of the bureaucracy was finally ironed out,” said Marie Torniali, the Executive Director of the Central Astoria Local Development Corporation (CALDC).
In December, members of CALDC returned the Steinway Street Clock to the spot where it had been originally erected in 1922, with the help of La Pietra Contracting, which constructed the foundation for the one-ton clock, and K V Power Electric, which made sure the timepiece had power. At 11 a.m. on January 3, the clock will be officially re-dedicated.
Torniali said the timesaving group, Save America’s Clocks, lent a hand to CALDC’s efforts.
“They helped lead the way for us, getting the refurbisher to save the clock, which as their name implies is what they do,” she said.
During the six-month period that it was gone, the clock underwent a complete overhaul by Electric Time Company, based in Medfield, MA, thanks to $40,000 in funds secured by City Councilmember Peter Vallone, Jr. through the Department of Small Business Services.
“We had grandparents, grandchildren, mothers and fathers all asking about this clock,” said Torniali, a 30-year resident of Astoria, adding, “And it’s absolutely gorgeous.”
The clock, cast in 1907 as part of the Henry Post-era of towering sidewalk clocks and designed to resemble a pocket watch, had been landmarked in 1981, so all repairs that were made needed to match its original design.
Mainly, the clock needed to be repaired mechanically and repainted. However, it also needed to be topped off with a cast-iron piece, which once sat above the clock face.
“The clock head was missing,” Torniali said, later adding, “If you would see the difference, it’s mind-boggling.”

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