When Claris Cunning- ham first moved to Astor Row 20 years ago, the stretch of 130th Street in the heart of Harlem was in ruin, its famed porches reduced to splinters, and many of its 19th century homes sitting empty.
She remembers around that time how a small, elderly woman started to come by, just when the neighbors had begun to band together to fix up their street.
'Astor Row' looks to honor benefactor
That woman was philanthropist Brooke Astor, who passed away Monday at the age of 105. She had found out about the state of the block that bore her late husband's family name, and was determined to restore the place to its former glory.
Unfortunately, Old Astoria in Queens, also named after the Astor family, had never been landmarked and had no benefactors, so it got destroyed instead of saved.