Sept. 27, 2021 By Allie Griffin
A block in Astoria was named after the late real estate developer George Kaufman, who restored Astoria Studios in the 1980s — and, in turn, helped revive New York City’s production industry.
A section of 35th Avenue, between 35th and 36th Streets, was co-named “George S. Kaufman Way” at a ceremony hosted by Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer Saturday.
Kaufman, the former president of the family-owned real estate firm Kaufman Realty Corp., took over the dilapidated Astoria Studios in 1982 and built it into one of the largest production studios in New York City — now known as Kaufman Astoria Studios.
The studio property, located at 34-12 36th St., was Paramount Pictures’ primary studio in the 1920s and 1930s and was later used by the U.S. Army for 30 years. The property sat vacant for a decade until Kaufman acquired it.
Kaufman’s revamp of the studios is credited for revitalizing the southern section of Astoria by attracting new businesses and cultural centers.
“It’s only appropriate that the man who brought feature film production to Astoria has a street named after him,” Van Bramer said in a statement.
Kaufman was known as a dedicated supporter of the arts as well.
He helped Astoria native and singer Tony Bennett establish the neighborhood’s Frank Sinatra School of Art public high school in 2001.
He also served on the boards of The Whitney Museum, Fashion Institute of Technology, Exploring the Arts and the Museum of the Moving Image.
Kaufman died at the age of 89 in February 2018.