An Immigrant’s Vision Created Garden City 150 Years Ago

How an immigrant grocery clerk became one of the wealthiest men in America, and planted the seeds and cornerstones of Garden City


It was a time when great fortunes could be amassed. It was also an Age of Idealism, when a perfect planned Eden also seemed achievable. Stewart bought what was left of the vast Hempstead Plains and created Garden City. He was one of the earliest developers to envision a model city on the open fields of Long Island. [1]

At the time of his death, Alexander Turney Stewart was reportedly one of the three richest men in America, and was in the process of turning the treeless plains of Hempstead into a carefully planned “Garden City.” Unfortunately, grave robbing was common in the late 1870s and mystery surrounds Stewart’s final resting place (we’ll return to that later).

Stewart was born in County Antrim, Ireland and was raised by his grandfather after his farmer father’s death. As a teenager he worked for a grocer in Belfast.

Stewart ultimately followed his mother to America and opened a small dry-goods store at 283 Broadway in New York City in 1823. Later that year he married Cornelia Clinch, whom would be critical to the development of Garden City.

A true innovator, Stewart grew his small store into a giant wholesale and retail business.


. . . Stewart introduced New Yorkers to the shocking concept of not hassling customers the moment they walked through the door, a novel policy he called “free entrance”.

AT Stewart and Co was among the first stores to practise the now-ubiquitous “clearance sale”, periodically moving on old stock at knockdown prices to make room for new.

Stewart also offered no-quibble refunds. He made customers pay in cash, or settle their bills quickly. Traditionally, shoppers had strung out their lines of credit for up to a year.

He also recognised that not everybody liked to haggle, with many welcoming the simplicity of being quoted a fair price, and being told to take it or leave it.

Stewart made this “one-price” approach work by accepting unusually low mark-ups. “[I] put my goods on the market at the lowest price I can afford,” he said, “although I realise only a small profit on each sale, the enlarged area of business makes possible a large accumulation of capital”.

This idea wasn’t totally unprecedented, but it was certainly considered radical.

The first salesman Stewart hired was appalled to discover he’d not be allowed to apply his finely tuned skill of sizing up the customer’s apparent wealth and extracting as extravagant a price as possible. He resigned on the spot, telling the youthful Irish shopkeeper he’d be bankrupt within a month. . .  [2]


Stewart was unusually successful and in 1846 opened the first section of a new kind of structure across Broadway, at the southeast corner of Reade Street. Instead of the plain, common brick of the typical retail building, Stewart’s new store was of bright, white Tuckahoe marble. This crisp, bright appearance alone was astonishing in a city otherwise dominated by earth tones, and gave the Stewart store a landmark identity that other establishments lacked.

The new Stewart store was four stories high. Stewart’s architects, Trench & Snook, designed a modular unit that could be (and soon was) expanded over most of a city block. The Anglo-Italianate design, fresh from use in men’s social clubs in London, was the height of educated swank.

James Gordon Bennett, writing in his New York Herald at the store’s opening in 1846, called it “exquisitely chaste, classic and tasteful” and “the most splendid dry goods store in the world.” [3]

read more: The Marble Palace Was Home to NYC’s (and the Nation’s) First Department Store

During the Irish potato famine, Stewart sent a shipload of provisions to his Lisburn hometown, and brought back and employed 139 young people.

In 1862 A. T. Stewart’s Great Iron Store opened, occupying an entire city block from Broadway to Fourth Avenue, between 9th and 10th Streets. It was the largest retail store in the world at the time and employed 2,000 employees.

Stewart also recognized the potential of conducting sales by mail and by 1876 had hired 20 mail order clerks and realized more than $500,000 in sales by mail.

In 1869 work was completed on the Stewart’s mansion at 34th Street and Fifth Avenue, the first of Fifth Avenue’s marble palazzos. The residence was designed by architect John Kellum and featured 18 foot high ceilings and a world class art collection.

Also in 1869 . . .

The Hempstead Plains was a flat, treeless 12-mile tract stretching from New Hyde Park to Farmingdale when Alexander Turney Stewart acquired the pasture from the Town of Hempstead in 1869 for $55 an acre. Aside from a small cemetery, it was a wasteland. For Stewart, an Irish immigrant who became a multimillionaire merchant and founded the modern department store, the barren land was a blank canvas upon which he could build a city.

During the next six years, roads crisscrossed the plain, trees were planted, houses were built and stores opened. A grand hotel surrounded by a large park was erected. Stewart’s ”city of the plains” included construction of a railroad, state-of-the-art water works and gas works. Garden City, one of the first planned cities in America, was a model suburban community designed and destined to be the best of Long Island. . . [4]

Continue reading “An Immigrant’s Vision Created Garden City 150 Years Ago”

Beautiful Queens Co-Ops For Sale!

35-51 85th Street  /  Unit# 1N  /  Jackson Heights  /  NY 11372  /  $340,000-

Lovely One Bedroom. The 20 Foot Terrace Faces An Open Green Space That Feels Like Your Own Backyard. First Floor Makes For Convenient In And Out. Built -In Wall Units Add Lots Of Storage Space. All Utilities Are Included.. Convenient To #7, 82nd St Stop. One Stop To Change To E, F, M &R. Shopping And Many Restaurants Nearby. Dogs And Cats Welcome! Storage Units Available. Spectrum And Fios Available. Wait List For Parking. Indoor =$100, Outdoor – $68.

click for more info!

Presented by: Judy Stagnitta
Brokered by: Keller Williams Realty of Greater Nassau


35-50 85th Street  /  Unit# 7J  /  Jackson Heights  /  NY 11372  /  $528,000-

  • 2 beds
  • 1 bath
  • 1,000 sq ft

Beautifully Renovated, Modern, Bright Two Bed In Historic District.Huge Terrace W/Lovely View. Microwave And Dishwasher. Sound Reducing Walls & Floors. Near 37th Ave Shops & Restaurants #7 82nd St Stop. One Stop To Change For E,F,M & R. Private, Residents Only Playground. Wait List Parking $68, Outdoor. Indoor $100. On-Site Super. Night Watchman 6 Pm To 6 Am. Completely Owner Occupied. No Sub-Letting. Some Pictures Have Been Virtually Staged.

click for more info!

by the way . . .

5 Things to Do in Jackson Heights, Queens!!!

3rd Annual Feeding Our Families Food Drive!

POSTPONED: We’ll let you know when it is rescheduled

NBC 4 New York, Telemundo 47, Stop & Shop and Food Banks Team Up for Tri-State Food Drive on April 13  –  More than 250 stores and many food banks will take part

Providing food and services for people who are hungry, and a voice for people who are in need.

Feeding AmericaIsland Harvest is the largest hunger relief organization on Long Island. By relying on volunteers, in-kind services, and donated food. We devote more than 95 cents of every dollar contributed directly to our programs.

Joining together to help Tri-State food banks replenish non-perishable supplies and sustain essential anti-hunger efforts, NBC 4 New York / WNBC, Telemundo 47 / WNJU and Stop & Shop are coming together in support of eight regional food banks on Saturday, April 13 for the third annual Feeding Our Families (Alimentando a Nuestras Familias) food drive. The food collection drive will take place at more than 250 local Stop & Shop locations between the hours of 9 AM and 6 PM.

One of the largest, single-day, multi-state food drives in the Northeast, Feeding our Families has generated more than two million meals for local families in the first two years of the drive. With food banks facing their greatest need between the months of January and August, more than 300 tons of essential non-perishable goods have also been donated to eight regional food banks by NBC and Telemundo viewers during that time.

NBC 4 New York and Telemundo 47 will deliver live reports and broadcast cut-ins from local Stop & Shop locations on Saturday, April 13, including on NBC 4 New York’s Weekend Today in New York at 9 AM and News 4 New York at 6 PM, as well as on Telemundo 47’s Noticiero 47 Telemundo at 6 PM. Anchors, reporters and employees from both stations will also visit Stop & Shop stores that day to support on-site collection efforts.

“This is the third year that Stop & Shop has joined with NBC 4 New York and Telemundo 47 to host the Feeding our Families food drive, and we’re looking forward to making this year’s campaign our largest and most successful yet,“ said Jennifer Brogan, Stop & Shop Director of External Communications and Community Relations. “We know that food insecurity remains a challenge in every community and together with our customers, we’ll be helping local food banks to restock their shelves and to deliver hundreds of thousands of meals to our neighbors who need them the most.”


visit Island Harvest

Check Out This Amazing Open House in Jericho This Weekend!

Beautiful Townhouse in sought after Jericho. Dramatic cathedral ceiling creates light and space in freshly painted jumbo sized living area. Wall to wall windows overlooking private deck. Spectacular remodeled double-sided fireplace creates warmth in living and dining areas. Eat in kitchen hosts Granite counters, stainless appliances. Updated powder room. Huge Master suite. Two add’l bedrooms and bath Updated Lower level + bath. Must see!!  School District: Jericho

  • 3 beds
  • 3 full, 1 half baths
  • 2,400 sq ft
  • List Price:  $888,000-

Open House Date:  4/07/2019  @  Time:  2:00pm-3:30pm

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  • Presented by:  Ann Acquaviva
    Brokered by:  Keller Williams Realty of Greater Nassau

April 6th! Nine Steps for Personal Development

The LIHCC will be co-hosting a seminar with Former Miss Universe Barbara Palacios.

Barbara Palacios will be presenting on 9 Steps for Personal Development.

This is a great opportunity for small business, start-ups, and individuals looking to acquire knowledge from a life coach dedicated to bringing out the best in the community. If you would like to attend please call (516) 333-0105 or email


more info:



Realtor® Open House Weekend: April 6-7, 2019

Realtors® across Long Island and Queens will host the state’s largest open house weekend, Saturday and Sunday, April 6 & 7, 2019.

Open House Weekend not only brings buyers and sellers together, it is also an opportunity for Realtors® to connect with consumers in their communities about the housing issues that matter most to them.

Realtors® will be present at the open houses to offer expert insight into the local housing market and answer questions from consumers concerning the home buying and selling process.

Benefits of Homeownership

Owning a home offers immediate shelter benefits and long-term value – it’s an investment in your future.

The home is where we make memories, build our futures, and feel comfortable and secure.

Owning a home has long-standing government support in this country because homeownership benefits individuals and families, strengthens our communities, and is integral to our nation’s economy.

Home Buying Tips

Realtors® are trusted resources for real estate information and can help buyers navigate the increasingly complex home buying process.

Buyers should carefully evaluate their finances before beginning the search process. They should look at their income, savings and credit report, and collect documentation of income and cash available to prepare for the mortgage application process. Realtors® can help buyers through this process.

A Realtor® is a buyer’s partner in the real estate transaction. Realtors® provide buyers with counsel, market data, strategies, negotiating skills and more.

Visit for more tips on buying a home.

Home Selling Tips

Selling a home can be a complex process. Realtors® bring value to sellers by helping them effectively prepare, position, price and sell their home.

Realtors® have invaluable insights into what sells a home. They have a unique
understanding of local markets, home features and buyer preferences.

In a competitive market, sellers need every advantage they can get, and working with a Realtor® is a smart move.

Sellers should prepare their home for sale with an eye toward what appeals to today’s buyers. Enhancing curb appeal, showcasing areas like kitchens and bathrooms, and making sure the home is well-maintained and free of clutter will attract more buyers and can improve value.

Staging can help sell a home more quickly and for more money. Many Realtors® provide professional staging assistance as part of their services. Check out our video tips!

Visit for more tips on selling a home.

Realtor® Value

Working with a Realtor® gives buyers, sellers and investors the advantage they need to succeed in today’s market.

Realtors® have unparalleled knowledge of local market conditions and can leverage that expertise to help their clients reach their real estate goals.

A vast majority of today’s home buyers and sellers know that working with a Realtor® is a smart move in itself – more than four out of five recent home buyers and sellers used a real estate professional in recent transactions.

If you need a Realtor® recommendation, just let us know!

Check Out This Open House!

1861 Grand Ave, Apt C24, Baldwin NY 11510  |  List Price:  $300,000

Beautiful Duplex Boasting 2300 Sq Ft., Renovated Large Kitchen, Food Pantry, Dining Room, Living Room, Recessed Lighting, Office, 1/2 Bath And 5 Closets On 1st Level. Second Level, Center Hall, Washer/Dryer Area, Master Bed W/Bath, 2 Bedrooms, Bath And 6 Closets. Two Zone Heating, Window Treatments, Entertainment Cabinet, Build In Dresser And Night Stands Stay, 3 AC’s, And 2 Parking Spaces. Walking Distance To LIRR And Stores.

Open House Date:  3/23/2019  |  Time:  12:00pm-2:00pmContact:  Joyce, 516 902-6284


Presented by: Joyce V Williams
Brokered by: Keller Williams Realty of Greater Nassau


see more at

What Is Homeowners Insurance And What Does It Cover?

Homeowners insurance policies are not one-size-fits-all. While a typical policy comes with certain coverages, it’s usually customized to meet each individual homeowner’s unique needs.


Homeowners insurance is made up of coverages that may help pay to repair or replace your home and belongings if they are damaged by certain perils, such as fire or theft. It may also help cover costs if you accidentally damage another person’s property or if a visitor is injured at your home.


Homeowners insurance typically helps cover:

  • Your dwelling

  • Other structures on your property

  • Personal property

  • Liability


One of the basic coverages of a homeowners insurance policy is dwelling protection, which helps cover the structure of the home in which you live, as well as other structures that are attached to it, such as a garage or a deck, against certain risks.


Most homeowners insurance policies also include coverage for other structures that are on your property but separate from your home, like a detached garage, tool shed or fence.

Items on your property that typically fall under other structures coverage include:

  • A fence
  • A detached garage
  • An in-ground swimming pool
  • A gazebo


Personal property is the stuff you own — furniture, electronics, clothing, and jewelry, for example. Whether you own a home or rent an apartment, insurance policies typically include personal property coverage. This type of coverage, designed to help protect your belongings, may help provide protection in the event of a covered loss, such as theft or fire.


A typical homeowners insurance policy provides liability coverage when someone not living with you is injured while on your property. Suppose a visitor trips over your broken porch step. Bodily injury liability coverage may help pay for your resulting legal expenses or the visitor’s associated medical bills if you are found at fault. You may be able to increase your liability coverage limits by adding a personal umbrella policy. Your agent can explain what options are available to you.


Keep in mind that each coverage in a homeowners insurance policy is subject to a limit — the maximum amount your policy would pay toward a covered loss. You may be able to adjust your coverage limits to your needs — taking into account, for example, the value of your home and belongings and how much it may cost to repair or replace them if they are damaged or destroyed by a covered risk.

In most cases, you will typically have to pay your deductible before your insurance benefits kick in to help cover a loss. Read your policy or contact your agent to review your coverage limits and deductibles. You can typically adjust them to fit your needs.

The protections offered by a homeowners insurance policy may serve as a safety net if the unexpected occurs. A local agent can help you select the coverages and limits that make sense for you.




The Benefits of Home Ownership!

Being a home owner is more than just having a roof over your head. Home ownership instills feelings of comfort, security, stability and pride. However, in addition to these important benefits are substantial social benefits for families, communities and the country as a whole.

A few of these benefits are:

  • Higher Academic Achievement

    One of the most important social benefits of home ownership is how it affects children and their academic achievement.

    Several studies show that there is direct correlation between home ownership and educational achievement. Time and time again, it has been proven that home owners are more involved in their children’s lives, especially when it comes to schooling. Better social outcomes arise as parents provide a more supportive environment for their children.

  • More Cohesive Communities

    Home owners tend to stay in their homes longer than renters. They also spend more money to improve their home and are more engaged in enhancing their community.

    Simply put, home owners care more and take more action. This leads to nicer neighborhoods, stronger communities and more overall involvement in civic duties.

  • Better Connected Families

    Along with being more involved in their communities, home owners are more active and connected to their own families. Volunteering at schools, coaching athletic teams, becoming a scout or troop leader are just some of the types of activities home owners are active in. Throw in simple things like family game night and your home becomes the perfect setting for a more-connected, happier family.

  • Improved Health & Safety

    Home owners are happier and healthier than non-owners. In fact, one study found that people who recently became home owners reported higher life satisfaction, higher self esteem, and higher perceived control over their lives.

    Home owners have a financial stake in the value of their home. Therefore, owners have more incentive to deter crime by forming and implementing voluntary crime prevention programs. Home ownership also contributes to stable communities, and stable neighborhoods contribute to reduced crime rates.

  • Stronger Economy

    Being a home owner also has a positive economic impact in your neighborhood, your town, your city and even on a national level. That’s because home ownership creates jobs: remodeling, landscaping, lawn and pool service, furniture and appliances, home improvement, real estate services. The list goes on and on. In fact, each home purchase generates as much as $60,000 of economic activity in the local and surrounding area.


Source: The Field Guide to the Benefits of Home Ownership

National Association of REALTORS®

Helping You Organize the Facts of Your Life

Recently we were contacted by a distraught family: a family member (with a relatively young family herself) had died suddenly and they were struggling to locate critical information.

They didn’t know if she had a will or if she had life insurance . . . they didn’t know who were the relevant people or companies to contact . . .

Please don’t let this happen to you or your family.

Be aware that when someone dies without a will, state law will dictate who gets what property and when – this obviously can complicate an already difficult situation for the family.

Be aware that it is critical that family members have available important documents (regarding marriages, divorces, adoptions, etc.). . .

To help you organize this essential information, we have an excellent booklet available at no charge – stop by our office or give a call and we’ll get a copy out to you!

Please be prepared.