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Queens Chronicle

Designation sought for Astoria landmark

Former piano factory may get honor

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Posted: Thursday, January 30, 2014 10:30 am

The city landmarked former Sohmer & Co. piano factory in Astoria is under consideration by the Department of the Interior for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places.

The submission was made earlier in the month by the state for the 128-year- old former factory at 31-01 Vernon Blvd., which has been converted to residential lofts.

The six-story brick structure housed the piano manufacturer for 96 years. It later was owned by Pratt, Read & Co., a maker of piano keyboards, and then Adirondack Chair Co., which sold it to a developer in 2006. The building received city landmark status in 2007.

When designating it as a landmark, the city Landmarks Preservation Commission pointed to its German Romanesque Revival style and mansard-roofed clock tower.

It is considered one of the few 19th century factory sites remaining in Queens and was favored by composer Victor Herbert and songwriter Irving Berlin. The firm also made custom-built pianos in the Art Deco and Spanish styles for film stars including Ramon Navarro, Jean Harlow and Al Jolsen

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