Unless you're an Astoria lifer or are exceptionally adventurous, you've probably never ventured to the northern end of 41st Street to notice the old mansion nestled among the countless warehouses and factories (top-right in the picture above). It just so happens that the Steinway Mansion is a certified historic landmark and once belonged to one of Queens' most famous families.


After its recent sale stalled, the old Steinway Mansion appears to be back on the block. Prudential Douglas Elliman, the real estate company who also listed the property in its last go-round, will again represent the property.

Previously, with an asking price of approximately $5MM, the home was on the market for over a decade. However, with an increasing interest from the owner in unloading the property, we wouldn't be surprised to see the price slashed significantly in this go-round.


Originally built by optician, Dr. Benjamin Pike, Jr. in 1856 as a weekend home, the 27-room granite home was still new when Pike died in 1864. Pike's widow occupied the residence for a decade before eventually selling the house and surrounding land to the Steinway family--who were in the process of moving their piano factory from lower Manhattan to Astoria.

The Steinways occupied the house for the next fifty years until the piano manufacturing business took a dive during the Great Depression and were forced to sell their home.


In 1926, a young, Turkish tailor named Jack Halberian surprised the neighborhood when he purchased the property in auction for $45,000. Halberian, a young blue collar worker was able to quietly amass a small fortune during World War I, when his services were in great demand. However, the early years of ownership for Halberian proved straining and he was forced to divide the home into boarding rooms for renters.


Today, the mansion is owned by Halberian's son, Michael, 82, a retired restauranteur, who can no longer afford the annual property taxes of over $20,000. Halberian has pleaded with local preservation groups to purchase the home (including the Queens Historical Society, whom Halberian reportedly gave them a price cut to $3MM), but after several unsuccessful deals, a weak economy, and a decreasingly popular location, the cards have, to date, been stacked against him.


The mansion sits at the end of 41st Street as the once unobstructed views of Long Island Sound have been replaced by a giant ConEd plant and countless industrial warehouses. Junk cars and overgrown foliage encircle the property, now guarded by several dogs...and a rooster.


Although the portico above the main entrance has collapsed and the rear sun porch appears to be next, the home's basement has a much more contemporary feel. Several years ago, Halberian contracted a several million dollar renovation of the basement to feature a billiards room, a pub for entertaining, and ah hem, a large Roman bath.


Within the home, Halberian has amassed a collection of antiques likely worth more than the home itself--including 17th Century Italian furniture, Oriental rugs, a 1,000lbs Whitney chandelier, ancient maps, as well as canons and suits of armor.


Despite Halberian's reported interest in preserving the home, we found this listing where the home is listed as a potential "corporate headquarters, community facility or WAREHOUSE".

How about we all chip in to make it the new WLA Headquarters?!

Here is a great slideshow from the NY Times on the Steinway Mansion where most of these pictures came from.

To read more about the mansion, check out these great articles:

Or, to buy the house, talk to this guy

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Tags: about astoria, history, real estate

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Comment by Ran Craycraft on September 7, 2010 at 12:57pm
Nancy Ruhling from Huffington Post's "Astoria Characters" series profiles Michael Halberian in this week's edition.
Comment by Nick F on September 2, 2010 at 1:18pm
That's it!? I'll take 3!
Comment by Ran Craycraft on September 2, 2010 at 11:19am
UPDATE: Per The Daily News, Halberian has listed the mansion for an asking price of $4.5MM
Comment by Stacy on August 22, 2010 at 4:42pm
Drove by this weekend with family, it's amazing how hidden it is, especially up on that hill. I got some pictures from the back, but was disappointed I couldn't see more. Drove by the row houses that Steinway built for his workers, on what is now 41st and 42nd Street. The old street names can still be seen on the corners of the buildings.

Amy, where is the Steinway factory? I was told it had been converted into apartments and looked like some cheesy faux Italian building with "columns" along the facade. I was upset, I wanted to see the original factory.
Comment by Amy M on August 20, 2010 at 3:01pm
I work around the corner and when I was in training the tech I was with made sure to take me up there and show me the mansion. Also amazing is the Steinway Factory, which still produces some of the best pianos in the world. I took a "tour" when I was working on their phone lines, wandering around looking for their phone terminal. You can take a real guided tour, as described here: http://queensbuzz.com/news.php?viewStory=330.
Comment by James on August 20, 2010 at 2:15pm
Never even heard of this place. Time to take a look before it becomes a warehouse...
Comment by Nick F on August 19, 2010 at 5:15pm
@Giuseppe - Hey! Who's paying the upkeep on that $20,000 tax bill every year? No, thanks! HA!
Comment by giuseppe viterale on August 19, 2010 at 12:23pm
How many members WLA has? 5,000 ? With $ 1,000.00 each makes 5 milions like the asking price. In America every ting is possible.
Comment by DPixel on August 19, 2010 at 11:33am
What a great piece. Thank you so much for sharing. I've seen it before but didn't know the history and sadly never even bother to ask... Now I'm intrigued to drive by there today and take some photos.. :-D
Comment by Stacy on August 18, 2010 at 10:46pm
Wow, I am an Astoria lifer, I guess you could say, I knew about the Steinway factory, Ronzoni factory, etc, but never knew there was this great house hidden in the neighborhood. It makes me sad to think they will sell it and demolish it. I'm just back from Atlanta and they preserved outhouses for tourists for goodness sake, is there something we can do to save it?? I supposed I could take the initiative and start a "Save the Steinway Mansion" campaign, but I lack the initiative ;)

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