It’s known as the Steinway Mansion, built in the 19th-century, hosting cast-iron porticoes and pillars, all reminiscent of a villa in Italy instead of a home in Astoria, Queens. Yes, the famous grand piano manufacturing family once resided in this unusual adobe, but it is not for them, I’m writing this post today.
A few years ago, late one night, I watched a documentary (yes, my life is just that exciting!) about the Steinway mansion, focusing on its past and its owners. I was not really intrigued by the story pertaining to the Steinway family; but I was intrigued by the story of the man who purchased the mansion from them.
His story is one that really needs to be shared.
In 1914, a twelve-year-old boy, named Jack moved to America from Turkey. One afternoon, still trying to understand a language he didn’t know, he hopped on a trolley car, exploring his new neighborhood in Queens. One really doesn’t need to understand the English language to see, and what Jack saw that day was the Steinway Mansion and it spoke to him in a language he understood. It cast a spell on him. He told his friends and family who spoke his native tongue that he was going to own that mansion one day. They laughed and joked about young Jack’s big dream.
But Jack wasn’t laughing, he was planning. Jack became a tailor. It wasn’t a glamorous job. He was definitely no Armani, but he kept at it: sewing, mending and cutting fabric for the ordinary man. Then he fell in love, marrying his heart’s other desire, a woman. Then he purchased the Steinway Mansion, which happened to be twelve years after he had first seen it and it spoke to him. He was now a twenty-four old man.
Then the Great Depression arrived and Jack struggled to keep his home. He rented out rooms and did all sorts of stuff to keep and maintain his mansion, surrounded by an extra parcel of land. And even years after FDR’s New Deal took the country out of a Depression; Jack was still in a recession of sorts. His home needed all kinds of other new things, like plumbing, a roof and it seemed as if the list kept growing and growing. He believed in a dream, which turned into his reality, and it wasn’t easy for him, spanning his entire adult life. Jack is no longer around and his son who the home was left to, recently passed away, leaving the Steinway Mansion un-occupied and currently for sale.
I like Jack’s tale and in our current economy with most of us still searching for that Road to Recovery, I wonder if we can learn a lesson or two from him about dreaming, executing and persevering, like he did with a single house…
The property currently has 25 five rooms, with five bedrooms, a grand entry, numerous parlors, a library, a large chandelier (once owned by Morgan), a sauna and Jacuzzi, and the list goes on. I think it would make a great B&B—especially with that English Pub in the basement! It is currently on the market for $4,500,000.00 with Prudential Douglas Elliman. Click on the photo below for the listing details.