Steinway Tunnels

William Steinway

William Steinway, also Wilhelm Steinway, (b. March 5, 1835, d. November, 1896), son of Steinway & Sons founder Henry E. Steinway, was a businessman and civic leader who was influential in the development of Astoria, New York.

Steinway & Sons

1866 William invented the Steinway Hall, a huge success for the company, he also founded the Steinway Concert & Artist department, which is still working today. In 1870 William began building a company town Steinway Village on in northern Astoria, New York. Avoiding the crowded streets and labor problems associated with operating in Manhattan, he directed the construction of the Steinway Piano Factory on the land, a large facility still in operation today. Near the factory, a small town was built to provide housing for his workers, a church, library and kindergarten as well as a public trolley line.

Steinway served as head of the New York Subway Commission, the group that planned the New York City Subway network.

The Steinway Tunnel is named for William, who was a major promoter of its construction, although he died in 1896 before it was completed.

Automobiles

On September 29, 1888, following a meeting Steinway had with Gottlieb Daimler during a stay in Germany, Steinway founded the Daimler Motor Company on Long Island as part of an agreement the two had entered into to build Daimler car engines in the United States. Steinway had a vision for mass-producing automobiles particularly suited to the needs of the United States market.

The Daimler Motor Company factory began production of automobiles in 1895, a business that would soon change hands, but would nonetheless be remembered as the origin of the "American Mercedes".

Public Transit

During the 1890s, Steinway began a project to expand his company town's horse-drawn trolley line under the East River and into midtown Manhattan. Although he died before the completion of the project (which would eventually lead to the IRT Flushing Line, the tunnels that were dug under the East River were named the Steinway Tunnels after him, and the dirt removed from the tunnels was formed into a small island in the middle of the East River.

Legacy

Steinway died in November, 1896, and was buried at Green-Wood Cemetery. Main Street in Astoria has been renamed Steinway St. in his honor, and today a station on the R, G, and S subway lines is named Steinway St. Station.

In 1939, the resort area which Steinway originally developed just east of Astoria, in North Beach was converted into North Beach Airport (Later renamed LaGuardia Airport).

External references

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