NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews!

Posted by: fingers

NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 04/30/07 09:25 AM

Steinway will give a tour of its NY factory in June. We need to select a weekday and the tour begins 9 AM sharp. We can have a group of 20.


Who's interested?


Regards,
fingers
Posted by: Piano World

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 04/30/07 09:39 AM

Posted by: reliv4all

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 04/30/07 09:44 AM

Hi fingers,

Count us in! Is this specific to PW only? Also, hopefully it will be after the last day of school.
Posted by: BB Player

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 04/30/07 10:15 AM

I'm interested but am travelling elsewhere the first half of the month. When in June?
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 04/30/07 10:45 AM

Count me in but please announce the date ASAP because there are a few dates when I may not be available and then I can give up my spot.
Posted by: kenny

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 04/30/07 10:47 AM

I'll go.

I'll be in NY from Friday June 15th thru Friday June 22.
Posted by: OperaTenor

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 04/30/07 10:57 AM

I could go on either the 21st or 22nd.
Posted by: Piano Again

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 04/30/07 01:10 PM

I'll be in New York June 20-22; I might be interested.
Posted by: CHAS

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 04/30/07 02:51 PM

The 22nd would best for the two of us
Posted by: Jim Frazee

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 04/30/07 03:23 PM

Hey, fingers! Count me in, unless I walk under the plate press at M&H on Wednesday. Been there, done that, ready to do it again!
Posted by: LJC

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 04/30/07 05:04 PM

Fingers--count me in and possibly 2 more. Lee
Posted by: LJC

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 04/30/07 05:05 PM

Frank, I take that means youre in. Looking forward to meeting you.
Posted by: reliv4all

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 04/30/07 07:58 PM

fingers, I forgot to mention that there will be 4 of us!
Posted by: fingers

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 04/30/07 10:45 PM

Hi all,

I'll check the availability of those dates and report back ASAP.
Thanks,
fingers
Posted by: Pegg

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 04/30/07 11:29 PM

Hello everyone,

I would also love to go, it would be two of us.

Peggy (Pegg)
Posted by: Piano World

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 05/01/07 08:05 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by fingers:
Hi all,

I'll check the availability of those dates and report back ASAP.
Thanks,
fingers [/b]
Thanks fingers,

Can you get some details for us too?

What time they start the tour
How long it typically lasts
Are cameras/pictures allowed?
Posted by: Piano Again

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 05/01/07 11:46 AM

There would probably be two of us, perhaps three.
Posted by: fingers

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 05/01/07 10:48 PM

Spoke with Steinway...

We can do the tour on Tuesday June 19th.

Details:

Time: 9 AM
Length: 2-3 hours
Cameras permitted BUT certain restrictions apply
No video please

I will tell you that the factory tour is something very special. At least it was for me.

Who's in?

Regards,
fingers
Posted by: EHpianist

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 05/02/07 04:06 AM

Laura and I might be able to make it. I have to find out when we're choosing the pianos for the concert but I'm sure we can work around it. Is there a fee for this? Laura's husband would also be there, and maybe mine (plus baby). Thanks for arranging this, fingers. Too bad it couldn't later in the week so more out of town people could attend.

Elena
www.duoscarbo.com
Posted by: fingers

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 05/02/07 08:44 AM

The tour is free. \:\)
The only available dates for that week were either Mon. or Tues. I chose Tues.

I'll check into potential safety issues regarding your baby. It is VERY active with machinery, tools , debris etc.

Regards,
fingers
Posted by: kenny

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 05/02/07 09:54 AM

I am in, with one friend.

We both will be there.

Do I have to do anyting else to sign up?
Posted by: Cy Shuster, RPT

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 05/02/07 10:56 AM

I'm pretty sure children are not permitted. You're out on the active floor in the midst of sanding, etc.; it's not the kind of tour where you walk down a hall and look through windows (it's almost 150 years old!).

Not only would a babe-in-arms breathe dust, but there are lots of stairs which can get slippery from sawdust. You'll need both hands for safety. Regardless of permissions, I'd recommend not bringing the baby.

--Cy--
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 05/02/07 04:51 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by fingers:
Spoke with Steinway...

We can do the tour on Tuesday June 19th.
Who's in?

Regards,
fingers [/b]
I will definitely be there (one person).
Thank you!!!
Posted by: LJC

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 05/02/07 06:11 PM

Fingers, I'm still in. CY-The factory is very clean and there is no saw dust or debis around however they want everyone wearing eye protection and they give out safety glasses. If a baby is held and can wear them perhaps its OK. Frank- They do not allow pictures because it disturbs the workers. Fingers said it starts at 9.
Posted by: vogel54

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 05/02/07 06:21 PM

I would be interested in attending. Sounds very interesting.

Thanks!

Best Regards,
Nick
Posted by: reliv4all

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 05/02/07 09:18 PM

fingers, June 19 (Tuesday) is perfect. As mentioned earlier, all 4 of us will be coming. Thanks!
Posted by: EHpianist

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 05/03/07 11:07 AM

Hmmm... maybe my mother can look after the baby if she is in town then. I'll see when she flies in. Otherwise I can't go. \:\(

Elena
www.duoscarbo.com
Posted by: rustyfingers

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 05/03/07 04:06 PM

Oh, yes, color me there!

-RF
Posted by: CHAS

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 05/03/07 06:44 PM

Count us out
Posted by: fingers

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 05/04/07 03:10 PM

It's set!
Steinway NY factory tour on Tues. June19, 2007.

Time: 9 AM Sharp, Length: about 3 hours
Place: Steinway factory located at:
One Steinway Place
38th Street and 19th Ave.
Long Island City, NY 11105(in queens)

For SAFETY reasons, babies will not be allowed.
As a parent and having taken the tour before, I personally believe that it is a wise policy.

Please post (again if you will) as to who and how many will take part in Piano World's very first Steinway & Sons NY Factory Tour. Space is limited.

Regards,
fingers
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 05/04/07 04:16 PM

To reiterate my very early post(the third one) in this thread. I will be there and am not bringing anyone else along. I assume if there are more positive responses than places "first come first served" will apply.
Posted by: LJC

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 05/04/07 04:54 PM

Fingers, I'm still in. I'll come alone unless there is room.
Posted by: reliv4all

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 05/04/07 04:57 PM

Please post (again if will) as to who and how many will take part in Piano World's very first Steinway & Sons NY Factory Tour.

fingers, I am re-affirming that there will be 4 of us. Thanks!
Posted by: OperaTenor

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 05/04/07 05:54 PM

If you could only do it three days later....

We're out.

\:\(
Posted by: turrin150

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 05/04/07 07:54 PM

I would love to attend the Steinway tour --
Thanks,

Best,

Tom
turrin150
Posted by: fingers

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 05/04/07 08:10 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by OperaTenor:
If you could only do it three days later....

We're out.

\:\( [/b]
OT,

I DID ask if either Thurs or Fri were available. Sadly, I was told that they are not. That's how we arrived at Tues. I'm sorry about the timing.

Regards,
fingers
Posted by: kenny

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 05/04/07 08:14 PM

Thank you for arranging this for us.

I will definitely be there with one other person.
His name is Bernard.

Do we need to PM, email or call anyone?
Posted by: Piano World

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 05/04/07 09:28 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by LJC:
Frank- They do not allow pictures because it disturbs the workers. [/b]
Yes, I'm sure that's the reason \:D

Maybe their workers could take lessons from M&H's workers http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?/topic/22/128.html
Posted by: fingers

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 05/04/07 09:29 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by kenny:
Thank you for arranging this for us.

I will definitely be there with one other person.
His name is Bernard.

Do we need to PM, email or call anyone? [/b]
You're welcome. No need to PM, etc. at this time.
Would it be Bernard from Brooklyn?
\:\)

fingers
Posted by: fingers

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 05/04/07 09:36 PM

Frank & LJC,

Pictures ARE allowed with the exception of a COUPLE of areas where photos are NOT allowed.

Video is not allowed at all.

fingers
Posted by: kenny

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 05/04/07 11:41 PM

Yes fingers, it is that Bernard.
Posted by: fingers

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 05/05/07 02:07 PM

Here is the tour list so far:

1) LJC (+?)*
2) Kenny
3) Bernard
4) pianoloverus
5) Frank B.
6) Reliv4all (4)*
7) Rustyfingers
8) Jim Frazee
9) Pegg (2)*
10) turrin150
11) fingers
12) Sotto Voce

That's 16 definite so far.

Some not so definite:

1) EH Pianist/Laura
2) Vogel 54
3) piano again (2-3)*
4) C7 Player

We can have 20 people for the tour.

fingers
Posted by: sotto voce

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 05/05/07 02:36 PM

I'd like to attend, too, if space permits.

fingers, do you happen to know if parking is available for visitors to the factory?
Posted by: fingers

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 05/05/07 02:46 PM

Sotto Voce,

You are hereby on the list. \:\)

Parking is very available.

fingers
Posted by: EHpianist

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 05/05/07 04:33 PM

We're in:

1) LJC (+?)*
2) Kenny
3) Bernard
4) pianoloverus
5) Frank B.
6) Reliv4all (4)*
7) Rustyfingers
8) Jim Frazee
9) Pegg (2)*
10) turrin150
11) fingers
12) Sotto Voce
13) EHpianist
14) Laura
15) Laura's husband
16) EHpianist's husband

How do we get there from the city without a car?

Elena
www.duoscarbo.com
Posted by: kenny

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 05/05/07 05:51 PM

Elena
www.duoscarbo.com [/QB][/QUOTE]

I share the question.

Bernard may know, being a local.
Posted by: sotto voce

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 05/05/07 06:46 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by EHpianist:
How do we get there from the city without a car?
[/b]
It appears to be maybe three-quarters of a mile from the last stop on the N and W subway lines at 31st Street and Ditmars Boulevard in Astoria.

If that walk isn't doable, there probably won't be any yellow cabs cruising that part of Queens—but I know from experience that livery cabs are generally available in most NYC neighborhoods, especially around "end of the line" subway stations. (Technically, it isn't legal for them to pick up people who hail them on the street—they're supposed to be dispatched by radio to folks who've called for them in advance by telephone—but it certainly is standard practice.)
Posted by: fingers

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 05/05/07 08:42 PM

It looks like we have hit the limit of 20 people with the addition of EH Pianist and her 3 guests.

I have no clue about public transportation, but there is no reason I can't find out.

fingers
Posted by: Jim Frazee

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 05/06/07 10:13 AM

"It appears to be maybe three-quarters of a mile from the last stop on the N and W subway lines at 31st Street and Ditmars Boulevard in Astoria. "

Even on a nice day, even early in the morning, even on a workday, I would not be walking around this neighborhood folks.
Posted by: sotto voce

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 05/06/07 10:39 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Jim Frazee:
Even on a nice day, even early in the morning, even on a workday, I would not be walking around this neighborhood folks. [/b]
In New York City, Astoria is known to be an especially safe neighborhood that has been gentrifying for many, many years. It was already a stable Greek-American community, not a slum. The only potentially problematic thing about the vicinity of the Steinway factory would seem to be the proximity of the entrance to Rikers Island.

The fact is, there doesn't appear to be any alternative public transportation aside from a couple of Queens bus routes that terminate at Rikers. That's not an attractive option.

Jim, you've made me curious if there's something about Astoria that I'm not aware of, and also what transit options you'd suggest. How are you planning to get there? Do you think it would be reasonable for the group to meet at the Ditmars Boulevard station and walk to the factory as a group?
Posted by: EHpianist

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 05/06/07 04:27 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Sotto Voce:
Do you think it would be reasonable for the group to meet at the Ditmars Boulevard station and walk to the factory as a group? [/b]
That sounds like an excellent idea to me. At least it would guarantee I wouldn't get lost! \:D

Elena
www.duoscarbo.com
Posted by: kenny

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 05/06/07 05:07 PM

I like the idea of going together.
I'm worried about walking though, especially since it is a walking tour.

I have a foot injury (plantar fasciitis) and am stupid enough to plan a week in NYC.

I'll do my best if we have to walk but maybe a few of us wimps would like to share a taxi from a central location.
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 05/07/07 06:19 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Jim Frazee:
"It appears to be maybe three-quarters of a mile from the last stop on the N and W subway lines at 31st Street and Ditmars Boulevard in Astoria. "

Even on a nice day, even early in the morning, even on a workday, I would not be walking around this neighborhood folks. [/b]
When I took this tour around 10 years ago, I walked from the subway to the factory and it certainly did not seem like any part of the walk was in anyway dangerous in the slightest. Of course, I can understand why some out of towners might be less comfortable walking from the subway to the factory.
Posted by: reliv4all

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 05/08/07 07:09 AM

fingers and everyone, I called Steinway NY and here are directions they e-mailed me (They send this out to everyone):


DIRECTIONS TO STEINWAY & SONS[/b]

Address: One Steinway Place (38th Street and 19th Avenue), Long Island City, NY 11105

Subway Directions from Manhattan[/b]

Take N or W train going uptown to Astoria Queens - Get off at Ditmars Boulevard (last stop).
From there, either walk to 19th Avenue and 38th Street or get a local taxi.
All the drivers know how to get to the Steinway piano factory, but you can say you want to go to: 19th Avenue and 38th Street (trip should cost $5 or $6 dollars).
Whole trip from midtown Manhattan should take about 45 minutes.

Walking Directions from the Ditmars Subway Station[/b]

From the Ditmars subway station, continue walking in a northerly direction on 31st Street.
The first intersection you come to is Ditmars Blvd (a.k.a. 22nd Avenue) and 31st Street. Continue walking in a northerly direction on 31st Street until you pass 21st Avenue and arrive at 20th Avenue and 31st Street (31st Street ends at 20th Avenue).
Take a right on 20th Avenue and walk five blocks to 38th Street (there are no 32nd nor 34th Streets). Take a left at 38th Street and walk one block to 19th Avenue. You will then be at the corner of 19th Avenue and 38th Street - Entrance to factory is on 38th Street / 19th Ave..

Driving Directions from Manhattan – 59th Street Bridge[/b]

Use 59th Street Bridge lower level, stay in left lane and follow signs for Northern Boulevard.
Bear right and take Northern Boulevard, make a left turn on to Steinway Street, go straight until you reach 19th Avenue. Make a left on to 19th Avenue, go one block, make a right turn on to 38th Street - Entrance to factory is on 38th Street / 19th Avenue.

Driving Directions from Manhattan - Triboro Bridge[/b]

Get on the Triboro Bridge going to Queens, after toll, proceed to the right lane.
Get off the very first exit and proceed straight towards the elevated train.
As no left turn is allowed under the train station, drive through the train station then make the very first left at the light.
Make a left again and then a right. (You should be driving directly under train)
Make a right on 20th Avenue, then a left on 38th Street.
Entrance to factory is on 38th Street / 19th Avenue.


Additional parking in Shopping Mall located between 19th and 20th Avenues at 37th Street

[i]For Mapquest directions, our address is:
One Steinway Place, 19th Avenue & 38th Street, Astoria, NY 11105[/b]
Posted by: Piano World

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 05/08/07 07:39 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by kenny:
I like the idea of going together.
I'm worried about walking though, especially since it is a walking tour.

I have a foot injury (plantar fasciitis) and am stupid enough to plan a week in NYC.

I'll do my best if we have to walk but maybe a few of us wimps would like to share a taxi from a central location. [/b]
I will be driving in (from Enfield, CT).
Theoretically a 2-1/2 hour drive, although I'm sure I will have to take traffic into account at that time of the morning.

Anyway, I could try to meet up with you somewhere. I have room for 4 people in my car.
Posted by: kenny

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 05/08/07 10:49 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Piano World:
 Quote:
Originally posted by kenny:
I like the idea of going together.
I'm worried about walking though, especially since it is a walking tour.

I have a foot injury (plantar fasciitis) and am stupid enough to plan a week in NYC.

I'll do my best if we have to walk but maybe a few of us wimps would like to share a taxi from a central location. [/b]
I will be driving in (from Enfield, CT).
Theoretically a 2-1/2 hour drive, although I'm sure I will have to take traffic into account at that time of the morning.

Anyway, I could try to meet up with you somewhere. I have room for 4 people in my car. [/b]
Thanks Frank.
I'l PM you.
Posted by: Terrytunes

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 05/08/07 12:10 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by rustyfingers:
Oh, yes, color me there!

-RF [/b]
Hmmm.. I thought your screen name sounded familiar!! Nice to see you hangin' out here!
Posted by: Piano Again

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 05/08/07 12:15 PM

Looks like I can't make it anyway. I won't be in town until the next day.

I hope you guys have fun!
Posted by: Chris Vienna

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 05/08/07 10:45 PM

I wish I could join but NY is too far for a youngster like me, tell me how it is when you guys are done. With details \:\) . I have a question does Steinway do these tours often? ... Because I don't want to buy their pianos just so I can have a tour haha.
Posted by: RealPlayer

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 05/08/07 11:01 PM

I would love to make it; I'm just not sure yet as that's a week filled with obligations for me. Fingers, if you get to the upper limit of participants, don't worry about me. Otherwise I'll try to let you know closer to the date.

I've been to the factory for a few of their piano sales, so I can attest that it is a safe and not-too-long walk from the subway.

I think it's cool that NYC has a Steinway St. and Steinway Pl. There is even a Steinway St. subway stop, if you want to see the Steinway name in mosaic tile!
Posted by: kenny

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 05/09/07 12:37 AM

Frank I tried to reply to your PM but your mailbox was full. \:\(

Whaaaaaa!
Posted by: hotkeys

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 05/09/07 06:31 PM

Let us know if another tour is planned in the future. I would like to take part in that...

- Mark

--------------------------------------------------
The ultimate joy of music is the joy of playing the piano...
Posted by: Pegg

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 05/11/07 07:29 PM

I am still planning to attend with one guest.
Peggy
Posted by: Emanuel Ravelli

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 05/12/07 12:39 PM

I've waited years for an opportunity like this. Unfortunately, I'll be way out of town (Hawaii, nephew's wedding) on the 19th. Have a great time, take lots of pictures (but don't disturb those employees!), and please let us know when the next tour is planned.
Posted by: Pegg

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 05/15/07 06:49 PM

I will not be able to make the tour, that will leave two spots available if someone else wants to go. My job decided to have a mandatory meeting that I must attend.

Peggy
Posted by: fingers

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 05/15/07 08:25 PM

Peggy,
Sorry you won't be able to make it. Thank you for the notification. I'm sure there will be other tours.

As it turns out, I was contacted by member BWV846 who wishes to go. Also, LJC has asked to bring a friend. In that case, we have our 20.
Anyone else interested, can be on a back up list.

fingers
Posted by: rustyfingers

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 05/15/07 11:37 PM

 Quote:
Hmmm.. I thought your screen name sounded familiar!! Nice to see you hangin' out here! [/QB]
Hi Terry! Thanks for the message. Not to hijack the thread, but I've been flat-out busy in the real world for a couple of years. Had to cut down on PW--too addictive for me! I've missed you all.

Tour people: I'm not sure how I'm coming, may drive down from Massachusetts and stay with relatives on Long Island the night before or may take Amtrak into Penn Station in the morning. Would be willing to carpool if that works out for anybody.
Posted by: atropos

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 05/16/07 10:54 AM

Is 20 the max? I'd really like to see this... what do I need to do?
Posted by: kenny

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 05/23/07 10:55 PM

I am not able to go after all.

Please cross Kenny off the list.

My friend Bernard is still going so keep his place.

Thanks
Kenny
Posted by: fingers

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 05/24/07 07:48 PM

atropos,

If you would like to go, Kenny's spot is available.

fingers
Posted by: atropos

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 05/24/07 07:50 PM

I'll be there... thank you.
Posted by: fingers

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 05/26/07 08:38 AM

You are most welcome,

fingers
Posted by: EHpianist

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 06/08/07 04:36 PM

Laura's husband will not be going because he has changed his travel plans.

That leaves one more space available.
Posted by: EHpianist

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 06/08/07 04:42 PM

oops. deleted.
Posted by: fingers

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 06/08/07 08:01 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by EHpianist:
Laura's husband will not be going because he has changed his travel plans.

That leaves one more space available. [/b]
CTPianotech notified me that he would like to go. He will fill in for Laura's husband. Oh wait!... That didn't come out right. \:D

fingers
Posted by: CTPianotech

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 06/08/07 08:14 PM

Posted by: BethJ

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 06/14/07 10:11 AM

I'd love to be added to the waiting list for this tour . . .

Beth Tucker
Posted by: reliv4all

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 06/15/07 05:33 PM

Hi fingers,

Something came up and we will not be able to make the tour on Tuesday. So sorry for the last minute change. At least this will open up 4 spots for people who are in the waiting list.

For those going, kindly post a lot of pictures. ;-)
Posted by: billz

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 06/15/07 09:09 PM

Well - if there's still space, I'd like to attend also. Please advise. Thanks.
Posted by: fingers

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 06/16/07 06:25 PM

It looks like BethJ and billz are in.

The date is TUESDAY JUNE 19th.

The time is 9 AM SHARP.

The place is The Steinway FACTORY in QUEENS. (Not Steinway Hall in Manhattan)

fingers
Posted by: BethJ

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 06/16/07 10:19 PM

Great!

I'll be there.

Beth
Posted by: Jim Frazee

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 06/17/07 06:32 PM

Fingers et all,

Unfortunately, I cannot attend Tuesday, June 19 session at Steinway because, following back surgery, I've had a small stroke. Please someone take this spot and I'll take my chances at a later date when I'm up to it. Sorry for all of this but glad than someone can enjoy.
Posted by: fingers

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 06/17/07 10:59 PM

Jim,
I'm sure I speak for all members of PW when I wish you a speedy recovery.

fingers
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 06/18/07 06:28 AM

I am also sorry to report that due to an extreme personal emergency situation I will not be able to attend.
My sincerest apologies for the late notice.
Posted by: atropos

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 06/18/07 05:55 PM

whoohoo... see you folks in the morning!!

Jim, hope you recover soon!
Posted by: lilylady

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 06/19/07 04:49 PM

Sorry for the problems that have come up for those that are not able to attend. Please be well.

For those attending...

We are eagerly awaiting your notes and pics.

LL
Posted by: CTPianotech

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 06/20/07 06:47 AM

Thanks to all who helped put this tour together!

From beginning to end, it really fascinating to watch all the processes taking place. (not to mention the TOOLS!)

Here's a few shots in a very[/b] warm room where recently glued rims were curing:



And here's head honcho of PianoWorld Frank B, with the head of Steinway, Mr Bruce Stevens:


I believe there are a couple group photos that others took---I am looking forward to seeing those. It was great meeting so many of you!
Posted by: Piano World

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 06/20/07 09:35 AM

First, I'd also like to thank fingers for pulling this tour together for us, well done.

It was great meeting members I've not met before. I figure I've only got about 23,300 to go :-o

I can tell you the young ladies from Duo Scarbó are as lovely in person as they appear from their pictures and posts.

Toward the end of the tour we went by a room where customers/artist can try out a number of finished pianos. I was hoping we would get to go in, planning on talking Elena & Laura into playing :-) Unfortunately the room was in use at the time.

But I digress.

We started the tour in the office area. My two passengers (CTpianotech and billz) and I arrived about 15 minutes late, not bad for having left at 5:30 a.m.
When we walked into the room, our tour guide for the day was wrapping up his briefing.

Keith Keeler is a sales representative at Steinway Hall in NY. He's obviously very knowledgeable about Steinway pianos, and proud of the company he works for. If you're ever in the area, do yourself a favor and visit Steinway Hall, and while you're there, say hi to Keith.

The tour was fascinating although it was nearly impossible to hear Keith over the noise of a very busy factory. A small suggestion to Steinway: Consider investing in a wireless headphone setup for conducting the tours (like some other factory tours use).

When we started the tour, we walked past the lumber yard. It looked like they had enough wood to build an entire town. As Keith explained it, the wood is all carefully selected by (forgot his name) from various places around the world, and shipped to NY.

Next we walked past the "old" Steinway factory, built in the 1800's. You could almost feel the history emanating from the building.
They now use this building for the restoration of vintage Steinways.

Then, it was on into the factory itself.
My first impression? ... Big!
And the more we walked, the more my impression was reinforced. It seems to go on forever.

Lots of machinery, some looking very old, and many looking very modern. And lots of people busy making Steinway pianos.

Unfortunately, they don't allow a lot of picture taking so it is hard to recreate the actual experience we had on the tour.
However you can get a taste of what we saw by checking out the factory tour on the Steinway web site ... http://www.steinway.com/factory/tour.shtml

A few things that did stick out in my mind:
Steinway likes to have full control over every facet of the process.

~ They make their own (spruce) soundboards, and in fact have workers who spend their days picking out matched pieces of spruce to be made into soundboards.

~ They also make all their own action parts, an interesting part of the tour (and the only place I saw huge signs saying "No Cameras Allowed".

~ They have a lot of specialized machinery, including one that is the size of a house trailer that does nothing but glue veneer to the wood.

~ The hammer rail has a solid maple dowel inserted so the mounting screws have something solid and stable to bite into.

~ There are a LOT of pianos in various stages of production at any given time. I mean a lot!

~ For the few parts Steinway isn't making themselves, they bought the company that is (which I guess means they are making the parts:-). I believe the plates are one example (again, someone correct me if I'm wrong).

~ If I remember correctly, production runs at an average of 10 finished pianos a day (50 per week), with the factory running 48 weeks a year (someone feel free to correct me if I got that wrong).

Ok, enough for now. Hopefully some of the other attendees will post their thoughts and pictures. My pictures are still inside a cheap disposable camera, I'll have them up in a couple of days.

My thanks to Bruce Stevens, President & CEO of Steinway Pianos for taking the time to do a meet and greet with us. As I understand it, Bruce is not typically in the factory, but made it a point to be there to meet the Piano World forums folks, and he hung around while we took pictures (at our insistence).
He even tried to help with the food setup (stick to making pianos Bruce).

And finally, thank you to everyone at Steinway for inviting us into your home and making us feel welcomed.
I hope we get the opportunity to take other members on the tour soon.

- Frank Baxter
Posted by: fingers

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 06/20/07 09:53 AM

Frank,

Really Great Post!!! The only thing I can say is thank you to Keith and Steinway, to all who came from near and far, and to Frank and Piano World.

Same time next year?

fingers
Posted by: sophial

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 06/20/07 11:55 AM

Thanks, Frank, for the wonderful summary and I'd love to take that tour! (maybe next year). Frank, you're correct: Steinway bought Kelly, the plate maker (I believe it's the only piano plate foundry in the US) and also Kluge, the keyboard maker that supplies these parts for Steinways.

Sounds like a great time and it's wonderful that Bruce was there to welcome our PW group!

Sophia
Posted by: lilylady

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 06/20/07 04:39 PM

More, more, more!

;-)

Every last detail that you can remember and pics of everyone that attended!

I'll add a bribe...

That is....if you guys want to see pics of the NYC adventure and the DUO SCARBO concert at Carnegie Hall Thurs, and members attending.

VBG

It sounds like we need a yearly tour there at Steinway. Maybe? Is something there in the works for next year? Will they reserve the room for playing pianos afterwards for our eager group?

LL
Posted by: BethJ

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 06/20/07 04:57 PM

Thanks so much to Fingers and the Piano World Forum for making this tour possible. It was fascinating and fun to meet you all.

I believe someone is trying to get permission to post a video of a Steinway factory tour (John Ratzenberger filmed one for his series "Made in America")--in the meantime check out this NYTimes series for pictures, video and lots of interesting stuff on Steinway.

http://www.nytimes.com/ref/nyregion/PIANO_INDEX.html

Beth
Posted by: atropos

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 06/20/07 05:42 PM

The tour was fun, quite eye opening, and I'm glad I drove down for it.

Some of the things that caught my attention:

-Wood selection and care; Lots of effort and time is put in this step, way before any cutting is even done.

-The amount of hand work that is still done. Legs and such are a CNC routine... but plate-to-rim fitting and soundboard / bridge work are entirely done by hand. Finishes, from what we saw, are done by hand after the initial lacquer is applied. Actions seem to be entirely assembled by hand, and each stage is checked for quality along the way.

-The look and attitude of the employees... realizing that this is, in the long run, factory work, just about everyone there seemed genuinely 'into' what they were doing. Lots of folks, when asked about how long they had been there, were 5-10+ year employees. Apparently there is less cross-training than I would have thought as well.

-Cleanliness. For a shop doing the work they do, things seemed quite organized. How much of all of this (and the overall attitude of everyone) was put on due to there being a tour, I am not sure. I've worked in similiar environments, and generally employees know when there are visitors, and how to act, etc.

-The company went over and above taking a good amount of time showing us most of the shop, though we did not have time to see the restoration area. Lunch was an unexpected perk.

So, 2 thumbs up... it was excellent to tie some usernames to faces, and to meet everyone. A very warm and friendly bunch!
Posted by: LJC

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 06/20/07 06:50 PM

What a great time! Meeting everyone was an extra bonus. I took no photos so sorry I cant help there. I'll try to add to Frank's post. After seeing the wood pile outdoors we walked past the kiln where the wood is further dried and then into the raw woods first stop. Lots of saws and stacks of cut wood. We then walked a little ways to the rim bending room. There is an area where the thin strips of maple has the glue applied and then the stack is taken over to the rim mold. We saw a model M rim being bent. It takes alot of muscle and 5-6 big guys to do it as they clamp up the wood a little at a time using huge wrenches on the outer mold plates to force the wood into shape. The room where the curing cases were kept was like a sauna, and it was almost shocking to see how many rims were being cured. In fact everywhere you look there are dozens of grand pianos in their various stages of construction. How many if I take a guess maybe a thousand. I saw a single worker pushing a model b rim around by himself on a very large router table machining the soundboard & plate shelf in. On this floor all kinds of operation were taking place to make the rims into a grand piano case including placing the braces in. We saw the soundboards being installed and the plates as well. I enjoyed watching the stringing where the string was put on a tool over the piano. A pin is inserted then wire was put in the pin, it turned to wind the string and then pressed the pin into the pin block. We saw the pianos being painted and sanded and rubbed and carts full of parts everywhere. My impressions were that Steinway takes no shortcuts in building the piano. They could easily speed up production and make modifications that would be unseen to make assembly much easier but they do not because their method and design is to do everything possible to make every part connect as fully as possible with each other and to free the sound board of restrictions such as the plate pressing directly on the soundboard. There is a reason why the Steinway has power. As for quality I could find no evidence of quality issues. Seeing dozens of finished pianos with little sticky notes all over them shows that every piano gets a quality inspection and a final go over before the tuner/voicer puts it in his soundproof room. It is apparent that many of the workers take a great deal of pride in their work. Several were wearing Steinway T shirts that said on the back Steinway builder of the worlds best pianos. I concur. ....Many thanks to Steinway for their hospitality. I will answer questions if I can.
Posted by: rustyfingers

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 06/21/07 01:32 AM

Sorry it has taken me a while to post: I didn't get back home until 4 am and then my router was fried so I haven't been on the internet all day.

It was a wonderful tour--for me really a thrill of a lifetime. Thanks so much to fingers for
organizing, to Keith Keeler for an outstanding tour, to President Bruce Stevens and the rest of the Steinway management and employees for the hospitality, information and lunch, and, of course, to Frank, for bringing us together in the first place.

I concur with Frank, the factory is much bigger than I expected. The entrance is classical, as you see here.



The offices are modern and air-conditioned. You enter into a lobby where the receptionist sits in front of a piano. After signing our disclaimers and receiving our fashionable protective eyewear, we wound our way up the spiral staircase past a bust of Henry Steinway Sr. to the offices and conference room, where we had a few minutes to introduce ourselves to each other as we waited for the rest of the group.

Keith made an excellent tour guide, especially as he has only been with Steinway for about two years.

As Frank mentioned, we started in the lumber yard. Warren Albrecht, Steinway's lumber buyer and wood technologist, travels the world to select the proper woods and then it cures outside in the elements or in an open air storage building for months. When the wood reaches something like 18% moisture content, they bring it inside and dry it further to something like 6-8% (I could be wrong about this.)

From the yard, you notice huge dust collection machines hanging on the outside of the buildings. These collect sawdust and such from the numerous carpentry operations we were to see later.

Steinway moved to its present location from Park Avenue in the 1890s to take advantage of the convenient river transportation. (So my old 1864 square was actually built in Manhattan. I never knew that!)

In those days the pianos were lifted by horses and pulleys through the windows of the factory. (Reminds me of the pictures of jon-nyc's Bosie flying through the air when delivered).

We were not allowed to take pictures anywhere in the factory except in the rim curing/drying room, so we have lots of pictures there!

The final finish is applied to the piano rims before the soundboards and plates are added. There is a lot of work done in the "belly," much of it with sharp instruments, so the workers must be extremely careful. I can see how flash photography could be very distracting.

The varnishing department did not have as strong a smell as I would have guessed. Each worker has a sort of garage on the factory floor where the pieces are sprayed with the appropriate varnish. About 10 ft? away is a waterfall of mineral oil that absorbs stray varnish particles so that it can be recycled rather than ending up in the air (and workers lungs).

Steinway's workers are unionized. As we began the inside of our tour it looked like they were just coming back from a break. Each worker seemed to have a personalized workspace, with their own mementos and radios. Every department was hung with a giant banner with Steinway's mission of quality production. The workers seemed unhurried, but focused.

I think they said after they press the rims they cure them in the drying room for about 90 days depending on production needs. Here are some pix from inside. (We were kind of like the paparazzi in there because we had pent up photoitis.) Please forgive and correct me if I get the names wrong or they are missing.






Here's Frank among the rims:


Tourists:


Keith explains how the rims are cured and then (for some pianos) reunited with pieces cut from the same tree in other parts of the factory.


Our group heads out of the rim curing room. That's fingers in the black shirt:



Keith pointed out that although some parts of the manufacturing process are automated, the machines don't normally run at full capacity, because they don't want parts to get damaged by just sitting around at the bottom of a bin until needed.

The factory is so huge that Keith even lost a department at one point (stringing). We were glad to see that it had not disappeared, and were rewarded by watching several workers each stringing a piano.

I believe they said they shut down the factory for 4 weeks in July and August. Good thing too, because while well ventilated, it is not air conditioned. There was some dust as you would expect (you can see some on Keith's dark jacket, although it started out clean!), but over all the factory is very clean.

Many parts of the manufacturing process are occuring simultaneously, so the factory is laid out to minimize the moving of the major piano parts to different levels rather than in the logical order of what happens for any individual piano. That's efficient for building pianos, but makes for extra exertion by the tourists.

The action department was a little overwhelming-many people painstakingly creating, measuring, regulating many many tiny parts. I think Keith said that 2/3 of the over 12,000 parts that make up a piano have to do with the action.

A few more pictures are coming in the next post...
Posted by: rustyfingers

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 06/21/07 02:26 AM

The tuners and voicers have individual sound-proof rooms on the factory floor. They are aware that each instrument has its own character, so they voice each piano to its natural character, rather than trying to achieve some objective standard sound.

Before we left the factory floor we had the pleasure of hearing our only notes of music as the master voicer and tuner worked on what looked like a concert grand (didn't even fit in his booth.) A big sign over his "office" proclaimed him Steinway's 2007 Man of the Year. He smiled as he ran up the scales and played snippets of Moonlight sonata. Every square inch of his booth was covered with photos and memorabilia, including a sign that said something like "What comes in here looks like a piano. What leaves here sounds like a piano."

As Frank said, it was a tease to pass the selection room which is acoustically designed to be able to electronically simulate different room conditions. I would have loved to hear our members play, but it was not to be this time.

As we ended our tour, we walked back through the offices and saw a little olive drab piano from the 40s that Steinway dropped (with a tuning kit and music) for the troops deployed in WWII. Steinway made mostly gliders and caskets during the war (according to Piano 300, the Smithsonian exhibit catalog and book that they gave us as a lovely parting gift). We asked if we could still get a piano in olive drab, and apparently Bette Midler recently ordered a custom green piano from Keith!

The two presidents Frank Baxter of Pianoworld and Bruce Stevens of Steinway:


Here are our obligatory group photos (except we didn't have a piano big enough to put people UNDER this time!) I'll try to guess those I know, but please do add the missing pieces and correct my mistakes, and I'll update accordingly.

Back: Keith Keeler, manofpianos?, Janet, billz, fingers, Bruce Stevens, atropos, SottoVoice, Frank Baxter, BWV845, Laura, not sure--sorry
Seated: EHPianist, LJC, CTPianoTech, BethJ


Here's another avec moi:

I had to sneak out early to get to Manhattan for a meeting, so I didn't get to say a proper goodbye and thank you, so I'll do it now. What a wonderful experience!

Posted by: BethJ

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 06/21/07 07:14 AM

Between them, Frank, Atropos, LJC and Rusty Fingers have provided a magnificent review of our tour. Thank you so much! --Beth
Posted by: BWV846

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 06/22/07 10:54 AM

The tour was quite amazing.
I knew that pianos have a great number of parts in them. I appreciate the fact that Steinway showed us the parts and how carefully they are made and assembled by folks who really are concerned about the high level of craftmanship they maintain.
Another real kick was meeting all the other members of Pianoworld who took this tour.
What I really have to do now is to start my piano savings program so that I can buy one of these amazing devices when I finally develop the ability to play one.
Posted by: rustyfingers

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 06/22/07 11:39 AM

By the way, welcome to the forum, manofpianos, BWV845, and lurkette BethJ. It's nice to have you here and to have met you there.

And to Jim Frazee and pianoloverus, who had to drop out at the last minute, I'm very sorry about your troubles and wish you a speedy recovery and speedy resolution.

-RF
Posted by: Piano World

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 06/22/07 11:58 AM

UPDATE:[/b]

As I mentioned in my review above, we (piano forums members) had the pleasure of meeting Bruce Stevens, President of Steinway during our factory tour.

Well, I just received my MMR magazine email today, and the lead story is that Bruce Stevens is retiring from Steinway[/b] (was it something we said Bruce?).

I've been in the music business for over 35 years, but Tuesday was the first time I've had the pleasure of meeting Bruce, although his name is well known in the industry.

Bruce, you've earned the right to retire, I hope you enjoy many years of fun and relaxation.

You can read the MMR article HERE
Posted by: Piano Again

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 06/24/07 03:44 PM

There's a wonderful documentary out called "Note by Note" about the making of a Steinway, much of which was filmed at the factory in Queens. I saw it at SilverDocs in Maryland last weekend; the director said it would be making the rounds (not sure where, but I know he said it's booked at the Film Forum in NYC for November).

Well, well worth seeing.

Note by Note
Posted by: Mary-Rose

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 06/24/07 04:09 PM

It was interesting to read all your experiences of the recent Steinway tour because you obviously had a better time than I had when I went! I had always thought Steinway, being the creme de la creme of piano makers, would have a similar level of staff and organisational flair. The day I went (a while ago, not with PW):
*initially the receptionist ignored me as she was having a fascinating private telephone conversation
*the chap who showed us round had the manner of a used car salesman, but in any case I couldn't hear him after a while because his voice didn't carry over the noise of the factory and he had no amplification
*He kept getting muddled with where we were to go next, so we had to retrace our steps several times
*Some of the areas were so hot or so acrid (with fumes) that I felt ill, and so did some of the people I was with
*At the end, tired and thirsty, I was delighted to see a table laden with sandwiches - only to find that they were ALL MEAT, not a single veggie or fish option. How strange in NYC in this day and age.

So, folks, I am truly glad that things have improved so much since my visit. The thing that disappointed me the most was that such a shoddy arrangement should come from a company that I had previously respected so much. And you'd think they would produce some sort of video describing the company's history, or a walkthrough of piano manufacture (which wasn't entirely clear from the disjointed tour). Maybe they have done that by now?
Posted by: rustyfingers

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 06/25/07 07:30 AM

Frank, interesting news about Bruce Stevens. I guess the announcement was made the day before we were there.

Maryrose, there was an element of everything you mentioned in our tour as well.

The receptionist was a bit distracted, but warmed up.

As Frank mentioned, it was hard to hear our guide over the noises of the factory.

We did indeed get lost at least once and went up and down stairs a number of times. The explanation was that they are reengineering the plant to make it more efficient, so departments aren't always where they left them!

The rim curing room was very hot. We didn't have a really hot day, though, so the rest of the factory was warm but not unbearable. We did get exercised with all the up & down though! The varnishing floor smelled, but not terribly. Keith did warn those with asthma that they might not want to go in.

We were also glad (and pleasantly surprised) to see the sandwiches: didn't notice whether there were any veggie options, but that's a good point.

We were given a short DVD from the Made in America TV series starring John Raztenberger to take home describing how the pianos were made. I noticed that it too was a bit out of sequence. I'm looking forward to seeing the documentary Piano Again mentioned.

I don't know about anybody else, but I was so thrilled to be there that these things didn't really bother me. My viewpoint was that the primary purpose of the factory is to make pianos. I felt privileged to observe, and didn't mind a certain amount of discomfort. But I can certainly understand these criticisms.
Posted by: Piano World

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 06/25/07 07:52 AM

Well put rustyfingers.

I agree there are things they could do to improve their tour. Although to their credit they did contact me to ask for my feedback/input.

I'm guessing someone from the organization is also watching this thread, so here's hoping they will make some changes in the future.

But your right, just getting to watch as they turn out some of the worlds finest pianos made it all worth the minor inconveniences.

So would I like to see them make some changes in the way they conduct the tours? Yes.
Would I take the tour again even if they didn't?
In a heartbeat.
Posted by: LJC

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 06/25/07 10:14 PM

I think we have to keep in mind that Steinway is not in the business of giving tours, they are in the business of building pianos. Giving tours is a courtesy that can only hinder their production and use up their personel. I am extremely grateful that they would even let me in the building much less have groups of strangers walking in their factory then have the president come down to say hello and provide a nice lunch and then give handouts as well, all at no charge. So I would suggest to anyone that objects to a tour guide that is not used to guiding and objects to factory sounds and smells to go visit a museum or some vacation resort instead.
Posted by: Piano World

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 06/26/07 05:16 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by LJC:
I think we have to keep in mind that Steinway is not in the business of giving tours, they are in the business of building pianos. Giving tours is a courtesy that can only hinder their production and use up their personel. I am extremely grateful that they would even let me in the building much less have groups of strangers walking in their factory then have the president come down to say hello and provide a nice lunch and then give handouts as well, all at no charge. So I would suggest to anyone that objects to a tour guide that is not used to guiding and objects to factory sounds and smells to go visit a museum or some vacation resort instead. [/b]
I hear what you're saying LJC, but I can't completely agree.

The marketing guy in me says there were some minor missed opportunities.

I think everyone in our tour group last week was glad they went, and the lunch and meeting Bruce were pleasant surprises.

That said, when you represent one of the most prestigious names in the industry, you want to do everything you can to support the perception of the brand.

Particularly in todays environment where you can be assured people will talk about their experiences on forums like ours.

Sure, you can say "be happy they let you in the door", but I don't think that is the type of image a company like Steinway wants to project (nor did I get that impression).

I think what I'm trying to say is... Yes it is a wonderful experience to see the making of a Steinway piano in person. But, it doesn't take that much more effort to make the experience even more pleasant for your guests.

In particular, I'm referring to the fact most of us could not hear what was being said, at all.

I'd also have liked to have known if we could have taken any other pictures, besides the one rim room (hey, we are a group that likes to take pictures and talk pianos).

As to the noise, sawdust, fumes, etc. You are absolutely correct, it's a working factory, deal with it :-)
Posted by: Grane

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 06/26/07 11:38 PM

While I didn't join you, I have taken the tour a few times.

We all know (especially here) Steinway as a marketing machine - at least when it comes to professional pianist endorsements, pianos at concert halls and pianos at universities -- hence some have expectations or a mindset about what they are supposed to be like.

Having purchased two pianos over the past 4 years, I've interacted with lots of Steinway folks and have found them to be very down to earth, real, just plain nice people -- not sophisticated marketing types. It is these folks you find in the factory or those who come out to your home to work on your piano.

Oops, perhaps I wasn't supposed to let this secret out of the bag -- those who like to bash Steinway will have trouble reconciling this kindler, gentler image.
Posted by: atropos

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 06/27/07 12:04 PM

I dunno.. the tour was a lot 'more' than I expected overall. The noise in parts was an issue, but we were also given freedom to look around etc more than I would have guessed.

There is room for improvement in everything, but I wasn't dissapointed at all in any aspect of this tour.
Posted by: Starting Over

Re: NEW THREAD: S&S FACTORY TOUR IN JUNE - Now with Picts & Reviews! - 07/02/07 06:50 PM

I wasn't there. I wish I was.
Thanks all for the excellent summary and description of the tour.

I'm going next time!