Henry Z. Steinway, who ran the Astoria-based piano company started by his family more than 150 years ago and was known as the honorary mayor of Long Island City, died last Thursday in his Manhattan home. He was 93.
Steinway was the great-grandson of Heinrich Engelhard Steinway, a German-born piano manufacturer who founded Steinway & Sons in Manhattan in 1853. But the factory and warehouse later moved to its current location at 1 Steinway Place in Astoria.
Henry Z. Steinway was born in Manhattan in 1915 and began working with the company as a factory apprentice in 1937 after graduating from Harvard University with a history degree. He married Polly Zinsser in 1944 and the couple had five children.
In 1946, he became factory manager for the company and was named vice president the following year.
Steinway served as the company's president from 1955 to 1977 and as chairman from 1977 to 1980, after which he became a consultant to the company for the next 28 years until his death. He represented the company at its 150th anniversary at Carnegie Hall in 2003.
Robert Singleton, a trustee of Long Island City's Greater Astoria Historical Society, said he fondly remembered Steinway's attendance at several historical society meetings.
"It was always magical when he showed up," said Singleton, who knew Steinway for 10 years. "He had a twinkle in his eye. Whether it was the president of the United States or a sweeper on his shop's floor, he always had the time to talk to people and always knew the right thing to say."
Singleton said the group named him the honorary mayor of Long Island City, an award presented to one prominent community member each year, in 1999. He said the crowd at the event lifted Steinway onto their shoulders.
On Steinway & Sons' Web site, a statement by the company said Steinway will be "sorely missed."
"Our lives have been forever enriched by his personal warmth, his candor and by his unwavering faith in the instrument that bears his name," the statement read.
Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at nduke@time
©2008 Community News Group
By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:
You agree that you, and not TimesLedger.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to TimesLedger.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.