Before Steinway Street became a shopping street with various types of stores from clothing to food, it was part of Steinway Village. William Steinway bought acres of farmland in Astoria in the late nineteenth century to move the Steinway & Sons Piano business and the family out of Manhattan. The Steinway’s bought a mansion that was built by a family known as the Pike family.

Picture 1. Steinway Mansion

Steinway’s incentives for moving his piano business was to get his workers out of Manhattan, where a labor movement was forming, and to provide affordable housing to his employees, hence the name Steinway Village. The Steinway family made this area of Queens prosperous because his company’s relocation created an influx of people and other industries to this area of Queens by building a neighborhood around his company with post offices, housing and parks for employees. As a result, a street was named after the Steinway family for all the contributions they provided. The newly established neighborhood attracted other small businesses, especially shops run by immigrants, and transformed Steinway Street into the diverse shopping street it is today.

Picture 2: Street Sign at the corner of Steinway St and Broadway

Another important person in Steinway St’s history was Julian Wager, who was also known as Julie Wager and Mr. Steinway. He was nicknamed the latter due to his efforts to improve Steinway Street. Wager’s family had a lingerie business on 31-19 Steinway Street called Genius, at which Wager worked for forty years. Wager also worked tenaciously to improve Astoria. In his lifetime he served on Astoria’s Community Board for thirty years and was president of Steinway Street Merchants Association. ¬†For his efforts in improving Astoria, Wager was honored with the co-naming of Steinway Street & Broadway.