By Nathan Duke
The clock, which was installed at 30-78 Steinway St. in Astoria in 1922, was brought back to the neighborhood on Dec. 10 after undergoing a $40,000 upgrade, said Marie Torniali, executive director for the Central Astoria Local Development Coalition. During the renovation, the clock's interior mechanics were fixed and its exterior was painted, restoring it to its original condition, she said.The clock, which was modeled after a pocket watch and landmarked in 1981, was taken down on June 21 for the restoration, she said. “This clock is a piece of Astoria history and I'm delighted to have it back home in its historic splendor for the entire community to enjoy,” said Julian Wager, president of the development coalition.Funding for the upgrade came from the city's Department of Small Business Services and was secured by Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria), who said he was glad that the landmark was back in its rightful place.”This was a long arduous process during which we had to cut through an inordinate amount of red tape,” said Vallone, who attempted to get funding to restore the clock for two years. “I spent my whole life in Astoria and that clock is part of what makes Steinway Street unique. It's important for us to preserve the heritage of Astoria.”The clock was crafted and iron-cast 100 years ago by clock maker Howard Post, who also created a clock at 161-11 Jamaica Ave. in Jamaica. Post's clocks can also be seen at several other city locations, including one at Millennium Park in Manhattan.The Astoria clock fell into disrepair in recent years and was sent last summer to Electric Time Company in Medfield, Mass. for refurbishment, Wager said.Community residents and the Central Astoria coalition scheduled an official ribbon-cutting for the clock at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 3, at the clock's site on Steinway Street, Torniali said.The coalition is a nonprofit that combats deterioration of the neighborhood. Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.