Up the hill, past where the garbage trucks go when they need a little work, the for-saletrue blood dvd signs are on the wrought-iron fence. The mansion — yes, on a forlorn block like this is a mansion, an Italianate villa from when this stretch of Astoria, Queens, was weekend-getaway country — is on the market.
On the block, that is old news. The body-shop guys saw the real estate agents putting up signs last summer. true blood on dvdThey wondered about the $2.5 million asking price ($4.5 million if you want the adjoining lots). They figured the old man in the mansion would not sell to just anybody.
Imagine, right now, a minor-key soundtrack: the third movement of cheap dvdChopin’s Piano Sonata No. 2, the famous funeral march. In nine paragraphs, you will understand why a column about one of those inevitable New York real estate moments also had an inevitable musical moment.
The old man in the mansion was Michael Halberian, dvd store a retired restaurateur who, by his own back-of-the-envelope calculation a couple of years ago, had spent $4 million to $5 million on repairs and maintenance since the late 1970s. He had also filled the floor-to-ceiling bookcases — he had an affinity for New York City history — and had collected things as varied as a stuffed eagle and a huge chandelier that went up and down like the ones at the Metropolitan Opera House.
As Christmas approached, Mr. Halberian, 83, said he did not feel well enough to visit his daughter, Michele H. Kazarian, in Rhode Island. Nor could he manage an upstate trip to see his son, John. On the day after Christmas, he felt worse.If only he had called for an ambulance immediately.
By the next morning, the city had been buried in the after-Christmas snowstorm. It took nearly half an hour for an ambulance to crawl through the unplowed streets — and even then, it could not make it up the hill on 41st Street. The tenants who shared the mansion walked Mr. Halberian out the side door, The Big Bang Theory dvd toward the gate. He collapsed.
The paramedics, who had to abandon the ambulance and walk to the mansion, carried him into the front hall. He died under the chandelier, Ms. Kazarian and her brother said.
The ornate plasterwork, the etched-glass doors, the turretlike tower — all of it was their grandfather’s pride and joy before it was their father’s. How I Met Your Mother dvd The grandfather, Jack Halberian, was a tailor with famous customers like Katharine Hepburn and an employee who once told Paul Newman, “We don’t take personal checks.”
And he owned a house he had glimpsed from a streetcar as a young man just arrived from Armenia — a house he put all his money into, even borrowing from relatives, $100 from this one, $500 from that one, to hold on when forced to pay off his demand mortgage on short notice.
The mansion had been a summer house for the sons in Steinway &How I Met Your Mother Sons. Now you understand the minor-key sonata motif 386 words ago. The mansion came with 400 acres that the Steinways amassed in the 1870s, when it had unobstructed views of the water, not a water-treatment plant.
William Steinway built a piano factory within walking distance, and also an automobile plant, but that is another story. And when rowdies wandered too close from the amusement park he had a stake in — still another story — he knew what to do. “I drive them off with my revolver,” he wrote in his diary in 1886.
Bob Singleton, the executive director of the Greater Astoria Historical The Big Bang TheorySociety, remembers hearing the last Steinway to run the piano company — Henry Z. Steinway, who died in 2008 — call “the Steinway mansion” a misnomer. As Mr. Singleton tells it, “He said the Halberians owned the mansion longer than the Steinways did.”
Indeed they did. But now, as John Halberian put it, “neither star trek voyager dvdof us can take it on.”
In Astoria, there has been talk of getting the city to buy the mansion. Peter Vallone Jr., the City Council member from the neighborhood, whose grandfather played pinochle with Michael Halberian when they were young, said proudly that the city’s parks commissioner, Gilmore Girls dvdAdrian Benepe, had paid a visit last fall.
Don’t count on a deal with the city. One requirement is an organization that could run it as a public museum or cultural center. Another is money. “Currently the city does not have the funding for and is not pursuing the acquisition of this property,” a parks department spokeswoman, Vickie Karp,dvd box set said.