Monday, January 24, 2011
Heirs in favor of Steinway Mansion museum
From the Queens Chronicle:
Michael Halberian’s spirit remains in the mansion where he grew up. The walls are lined with his books; his dog, Blackie, plays in the yard.
The 25-room Astoria home still welcomes visitors, now greeted by John Halberian, 52, who moved from upstate New York to take care of the building after his father’s death.
Like Michael Halberian, John Halberian is friendly and easygoing. He invited me in for tea before grabbing a can of tuna to feed to a street cat who stopped by the property — something his father surely would have done.
However, the most important similarity between father and son is their shared desire to see the looming granite structure, so loved by their family, transferred into the right hands — preferably the community’s.
...all he wants is to fulfill his father’s last wish — to see the mansion put into the right hands.
When Michael Halberian died, he was attempting to sell his beloved home for $2.5 million, $4.5 for the total property.
He was meeting regularly with Councilman Peter Vallone (D-Astoria) to figure out how the property might be used by the community and most importantly, paid for. Vallone had written a letter to Mayor Bloomberg regarding the property and Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe visited, but its fate remains up in the air.
Jack Halberian was to have met with Vallone on Thursday to continue the discussion.
“It seems to me with all the billionaires in New York City, there should just be someone out there who could buy it and give it to the city, and for something like that, the price is negotiable because it would mean so much to my sister and I to fulfill my father’s dream,” John Halberian said.