The Greater Astoria Historical Society (GAHS), located on the 4th floor of the Quinn Memorial building on Broadway and 36th Street, has been a leading element in the historical preservation of Western Queens since 1985.
The GAHS holds numerous exhibits year-round and contains an archive of photographs and records in their research library named after the late Vincent F. Seyfried, one of the most respected figures of Queens research.
The society also helps to broaden the awareness of the borough’s importance in the annals of not only Greater New York City but in American and world culture as well.
One example was the recent exhibit, “Northern Boulevard in the Footsteps of Gatsby”, which was on display until July, and was inspired by the fact that the GAHS was asked to be a leading consultant on the remake of the F. Scott Fitzgerald classic, The Great Gatsby, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire.
As a major historical and technical consultant, the GAHS supplied the filmmakers with hundreds of archival photographs to help them accurately capture Queens in the 1920s.
Several Queens locations appeared in the film, including the famous “Valley of Ashes”. This area refers to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park and the Brooklyn Ash removal company which used the area as a dumping ground for ash and refuse from 1919 until 1938.
GAHS is also currently involved in the preservation of the Steinway Mansion, once home to piano manufacturer William Steinway and his family. The group, Friends of Steinway Mansion, is a program launched by the society that invites business people, historians and the average citizen to contribute and help purchase and restore the mansion so that it could be used as a public showplace.
For more information, visit friendsofsteinwaymansion.org.
One of the first assignments for advertising legend Raymond Rubican, when hired as a copy editor in 1919 was working on a Steinway & Sons promotion. He coined the phrase “The Instrument of the Immortals,’ widely considered by many industry insiders as one of the most brillant effective taglines in history…
“The Legends of LIC” column is written by Greater Astoria Historical Society‘s Executive Director Bob Singleton. It appears monthly in the Long Island City Courier. Next month’s column is “Master to Apprentice Generation after Generation: The birth of the modern piano at the Steinway Mansion”
May 8, 2013
DITMARS — A coalition of Queens stakeholders advocating for a community use of the iconic Steinway Mansion in Astoria will start fundraising soon in an effort to buy the historic property, the group said recently.
The Friends of Steinway Mansion held a community meeting Monday night, where organizers said they plan to launch an official fundraising campaign later this month. The group is currently setting up a bank account to accept donations, they said.
“This is an absolute opportunity for our community and it’s future,” said Bob Singleton, executive director of the Greater Astoria Historical Society, which has been leading the effort to see the property purchased and turned into a museum or cultural center.
“Most communities would give their right arm for something like this,” he said.
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We want to thank everyone who was able to join us on May 6th for our first event launching the work of the Friends of Steinway Mansion (FoSM), in particular Democratic District Leader Costa Constantinides and Bob Singleton, Executive Director of the Greater Astoria Historical Society.
At the event, Mr. Singleton spoke about the history of the Steinway family and presented FoSM’s vision for establishing the Steinway Mansion as a museum and education center in Astoria.
The Friends of Steinway Mansion website is currently under construction.
If you have a question, please contact us. We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
Thanks for your interest in the Friends of Steinway Mansion!