The Astor family has been an American institution for more than two centuries, since patriarch John Jacob Astor first came to the United States from Germany in 1763. The first American multimillionaire, John Jacob Astor acquired his first real estate at the tender age of 26, continually expanding his real estate portfolio until his death at 84. Impressively, just 14 years after his collection began, Astor acquired his first parcel of Manhattan real estate, a four-block stretch spanning from the Hudson River to Broadway between 42nd and 46th Streets.
However, the Astor family’s lust for land was hardly satiated by a single parcel in the city. The family soon became the owners of a large urban real estate portfolio, quickly making themselves the city’s largest landowners.
While the Astor family continued to expand upon their portfolio and influence the five boroughs, with contributions to the New York Public Library’s iconic 42nd Street branch, and serving as the namesake for Astor Place and Queens’ Astoria neighborhood, their magnitude was hardly limited to New York City alone. However, it’s not just within city limits that the Astor name is known; the family has towns named after it from the Gulf Coast to the Pacific Northwest, although upstate New York particularly bears the family’s greatest influence. In Dutchess County, NY, the town of Rhinebeck bears frequent reminders of the Astor influence, from the name of its plazas to its streets, thanks in no small part to the Astor-owned Ferncliff estate located there.
Today, the Astors’ story has come full circle with the creation of The Astor in Manhattan. The luxury building, comprised of three gray brick towers adorned with ornate cornices and replete with amenities, have preserved the family’s legacy within the city. Designed by Pembrooke & Ives, this luxury tower has seamlessly melded pre-war details with modern amenities, offering everything from 10-foot ceilings, white oak floors, custom fittings, and open-concept kitchens to concierge service, a state-of-the-art fitness center, bike storage, and even home storage space as part of its amenity package.
The Astor family is no less influential in America today than it was over 250 years ago when John Jacob Astor was alive. Across the United States, the family’s legacy is felt in major cities and small towns alike, their name still synonymous with the Gilded Age glamor it once was.