Cord Meyer, Jr. is quite an historic figure in the borough of Queens. The Maspeth native’s father in 1852 founded a plant along the banks of Newtown Creek which rendered carbon from horse bones for the refining of sugar and the tinting of carriage paint. In 1854 Cord Jr. was born. He became a successful banker and attorney and co-founded the Citizens Water Supply Company. He was also a powerful Democratic state chairman. An article from The Brooklyn Times in 1899 stated, “The residence of Mr. Cord Meyer, with its well-kept grounds, on Grand street, north of the Montauk Railroad, is one of the most costly in Maspeth.”
Meyer invested some of his vast wealth into the purchase of a yacht and named it after his hometown. He and his wife, Cornelia, would sail in his steam-powered yacht named “Maspeth” down the length of Long Island, visiting various ports along the way. He would also enter yacht races from time to time. The Maspeth was moored at the New York Yacht Club in Whitestone on July 3, 1903 when its mast was struck by lightning and demolished.
Today, the family name is most closely connected to real estate development. Brothers Cord Jr., Christian and John Meyer originally held equal shares in their partnership. In 1893, Meyer purchased a farm in Newtown from Samuel Lord, co-founder of Lord & Taylor, and laid out streets, installed sewers, established trolley connections and rebranded the area as “Elmhurst”. The development prospered and inspired similar growth in adjoining areas. In 1899, the brothers’ partnership became a corporation: The Cord Meyer Company.
The firm’s first major acquisition was in the Hopedale section of Whitepot, where streets, utilities and single-family homes were built. Cord renamed this area “Forest Hills.” In 1909, the Russell Sage Foundation bought 142 acres of Forest Hills from the Cord Meyer Development Company on which they developed Forest Hills Gardens. The Cord Meyer Company later developed the community of Bay Terrace on the site of one of the family’s estates.
Cord Meyer, Jr. and his wife are interred at All Saints Cemetery in Great Neck, but his parents’ graves are marked by a prominent monument in All Faiths Cemetery in Middle Village. More than 108 years after his death in 1910, Cord Meyer, Jr’s multigenerational real estate machine continues to run strong.