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LIC’s Steinway Moving all smiles putting up new sign

An old neighbor in Long Island City has a message for drivers coming over the Queensboro Bridge.

Steinway Moving & Storage, at 42-45 12th St., put up a sign a little less than a month ago with a smiley face and a message reading, “Have a Nice Day N.Y. — Steinway Movers” over their building.

“Just to make people on the bridge stop and take notice and maybe smile,” said James Benatti, president and third-generation owner of Steinway Moving.

Benatti said Steinway Moving often has a sign on top of its building, which it has periodically replaced. In the past, it flew a seven-story flag after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and also put up a clock.

“We were replacing an older sign, and we were going to do a typical self-advertising piece,” Benatti said. “And then we thought, why not do something fun?”

He said so far people have responded well to the sign, and the office has received a few phone calls from people crossing the bridge thanking the company.

“I think people appreciate it’s not just another advertisement,” Benatti said.

Steinway Moving & Storage originally opened in Astoria in 1926 on Steinway Street, but the founder, Benatti’s grandfather, moved the business to its current location in the early 1930s.

“We were one of the tallest buildings [in Long Island City] prior to all this expansion,” Benatti said.

Benatti said that since then Steinway Moving has held its own in Long Island City as skyscrapers and hotels have moved in.

“We’re a proud family running an old-fashioned business in the modern era,” he said.

The company will also soon be a part of silver screen history. Steinway Moving serves as the location where actor Ryan Gosling’s character works in the independent film “Blue Valentine,” also co-starring Michelle Williams, about a couple’s troubled relationship.

The film was directed by Derek Cianfrance and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January. Benatti said the filmmakers used the interior offices and the trucks in the film. He and two other workers at the company also appeared in a few scenes.

Benatti said he hopes the company will be invited to the premiere of the film, which has a release date of Dec. 31, and Steinway Moving has been asked to attend some preview screenings in Manhattan.

“It was very exciting,” Benatti said. “It did very well out in the film festivals in Sundance and things like that.”

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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