Thursday, July 31, 2008

Village View

This 1900 colonial sports a lovely enclosed porch from which to watch the happenings in the center of Katonah. The 2,300 square foot, 5 bedroom house features some nice original arts-and-crafts style details. The quarter-acre lot is just steps from everything, but the yard does back up on a commercial parking lot. Originally listed at $1,150,000, the price has just been reduced a second time. $999,000
Prudential Homes & Kennedy, Google Map, Live Search Map

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

View to a Thrill

The beauty of the lower Hudson Valley is on full view in the exhibition "The Glorious Scenery Must Ever Excite." The show features 29 paintings by nineteenth century Hudson River School artists. After viewing works such as The Hudson Highlands from Fishkill Landing, by Jasper F. Cropsey (above) and James Salisbury Burt's View of Mt. Taurus and Cold Spring from Fort Putnam (bottom), step outside and see the real thing. Through October 1. Boscobel Exhibition Gallery
Images: Boscobel

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Dutch Joy

Built in 1929, this sweet Dutch colonial has some nice details and charm to spare. If you can deal with the vinyl siding, the exterior is nearly picture-perfect. Inside, the 1,600 square foot house has 3 bedrooms (but just one full bath), a renovated kitchen, and a lovely yard with slate patio. Located in Ossining, near the village center, this seems like a pretty good deal. $489,222
Mark Seiden Real Estate, Google Map, Live Search Map

Monday, July 28, 2008

Food Buzz: A Few New Places

Thai Angels While a number of pan-Asian restaurants have popped up in the last few years, it wasn't until Thai Angels opened in Mt. Kisco that the area had a true Thai restaurant. The New York Times reviewer says that the chicken satay "may be the best we've ever had," and also recommends the tom yum goong, tom kha gai, and green curry with shrimp, among other dishes. The posters on Chowhound all offer rave reviews. From my own experience, the food is extremely good, the ambiance is casual (and kid-friendly), and the staff is beyond friendly.

Q Authentic Barbecue Bar and Restaurant This branch of the popular Port Chester restaurant recently opened on East Main Street in Mt. Kisco. The menu features barbecue classic such as pulled pork and ribs, with desserts such as banana pudding. The restaurant hasn't been reviewed yet, but the posters on Chowhound are almost all positive--except for those that had long waits for take-out.

12 Grapes Music and Wine Bar The latest addition to Peekskill's North Division Street scene, this venue has live music every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The menu has everything from Mahi Mahi to rack of lamb. Chowhound posters range from the ecstatic to the disappointed.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Weekend Events

Activities and things to do this weekend in Northern Westchester:

Cole's Kettle Hike Explore part of the sanctuary that was carved into the rock thousands of years ago by glaciers to create the unique wetland that exists today. This walk is about 4 miles, round trip. Saturday, 9:00. Westmoreland Sanctuary

Mud-luscious Investigate the animals that live in the mud--and have fun mucking about. Saturday, 10:00. Teatown Lake Reservation

The Gentle Art of Silhouettes A 19th century art form, silhouettes memorialized family and friends before the use of cameras. Deborah O’Connor, a silhouette artist with over 25 years experience, skillfully cuts portraits of your family and pets. Schedule appointments in advance. Saturday and Sunday. Boscobel

Birding with Wild Birds Enjoy a morning of coffee, bagels, and birds with our friends from Wild Birds Unlimited. Saturday, 7:00 to 10:00. Rockefeller State Park Preserve

Canning & Pickling 101 A seasoned canner demonstrates the art of canning and pickling vegetables. Saturday, 1:00 to 3:00. Hiltop Hanover Farm and Environmental Center

Tap Kids A New York Stage Originals showcase of the best young tap dancers from around the nation. Saturday, 7:30. Tarrytown Music Hall

Evening Howl The evening begins with a wolf-related activity followed by refreshments and a sunset hike to howl with the wolves. Bring flashlights. Saturday, 7:00.Wolf Conservation Center

Roxy Perry Vocalist Roxy Perry sings the blues. Saturday, 9:30 to 12:30. 12 Grapes Music and Wine Bar

Verdi: La Forza del Destino A performance of the original version of Verdi’s most ambitious and wide-ranging opera, The Force of Destiny. Saturday, 8:00. Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts

The Platters Enjoy the magic of classic Doo Wop with the legendary R&B group The Platters. This gala reunion includes performances by The Marvalettes and The Coasters. Saturday, 8:00. Paramount Center for Performing Arts

Early Classics The Summer Serenades series continues with the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra playing music by Handel, Mozart, and Beethoven. Saturday, 6:00. Lasdon Park and Arboretum

American Teen: Movie and Q&A Nanette Burstein's touching and hilarious documentary (above) follows the lives of five teenagers in one small town in Indiana through their senior year of high school. After the screening there will be a Q&A with four of the film's subjects and the New York Times critic Janet Maslin. Sunday, 12:00. Jacob Burns Film Center

Okra, Beans, and Leafy Greens This African-American food festival explores the influence of enslaved and free Africans on colonial and contemporary American cuisine. Enjoy West African, West Indian, and Colonial American dishes and dances, as well as readings by Jerrry Pinkney and children's planting, harvesting, and cooking activities. Events held at Philipsburg Manor and at Stone Barns. Sunday, 10:00 to 5:00. Philipsburg Manor, Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Columns in Croton

There's something about columns, and this house has lots of them. Built in 1904, the 2,500 square foot house boasts a stunning wall of floor-to-ceiling windows opening onto a lovely covered patio. The 4 bedroom residence has plenty of panache, but looks like it could use some tender loving care. While that wall of windows is enough to seduce me, perhaps the biggest draw is the 4 acres in the Mount Airy section of Croton. There's also an ivy-covered garage with a guest apartment on the second floor. The catch is the tax bill--a hefty $36,696. $1,399,000
Coldwell Banker, Google Map, Live Search Map

Westchester Market: "Troubled Condition"

The Westchester-Putnam Multiple Listing Service (WPMLS) released the second quarter report this week and the news was pretty bleak. The number of sales county-wide was down 24% from the same time last year. On the bright side, this is an improvement over the fist quarter, in which sales were down 31%. The median sales prices was also down, although by a modest 4%. The big bad news for the second quarter was that inventory was up a whopping 11% over a year ago, bringing the supply of homes on the market to the highest number since 1997. This is a marked contrast to the first quarter, in which the number of homes on the market was actually down by 14% from the previous year. The report postulates that while more people were waiting out the market at the beginning of the year, the general decline in the economy has forced a growing number of owners to sell. While county-wide data is of questionable value in understanding local markets, the general thrust of the report matches my armchair observations of things in Northern Westchester. Certainly, the number of listings coming on the market in the early spring far outweighed the number going to contract. The supply of new listings appears to have decreased lately, but that is pretty standard for mid-summer.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A Collection of Collages

The exhibition "The Mirage of Collage" features work by a number of artists, including local talent Monya Berg Brown, whose East Side Fruit Collage is shown above. Through July 30. Flat Iron Gallery

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

"Affordable" Mt. Kisco

One of my personal pick of the homes for sale in Northern Westchester:

The quotes are to acknowledge that I have no idea what you can afford. (Nothing bugs me more than ads for a "great starter home" priced in the many millions.) But whatever your budget, this 1914 colonial in Mt. Kisco has plenty of potential at a relatively low price. The 1,200 square foot, 3 bedroom house needs some updating, but features nice details and pleasant spaces. The small lot has a good-sized yard and is an easy walk to the park, stores, train, and all that Mt. Kisco offers. The taxes are under $5,000 and the asking price was just reduced from $424,900--making this look like a good deal. $399,000
Coldwell Banker, Google Map, Live Search Map

Monday, July 21, 2008

Recent Sales and Deals

Just one previously-featured Hot Property has gone to contract in the 2 weeks since my last roundup on July 7. Four Hot Properties had closings in June, including two of my all-time favorites--the early modern gem in Croton and the restored barn in Yorktown.

Location: Peekskill
March 27, 2008
Asking Price: $469,000
Status: Conditional Contract

Location: Croton
February 20, 2008
Asking Price:
Sold for $975,000

Location: Mt. Kisco
Featured: January 31, 2008
Asking Price: $900,000
Status: Sold for $855,000

Location: Yorktown
Featured: October 24, 2007
Asking Price: $750,000
Status: Sold for $725,000

Location: Yorktown
Featured: September 7, 2007
Asking Price: $1,250,000
Status: Sold for $1,100,000

News Notes: Development, Restoration, Preservation

Peekskill Development Regains Steam After being derailed by a bitter feud between the new Mayor and the head of the company, Ginsburg Development is once again in talks with Peekskill officials about moving forward with the Fort Hill Park development. The North County News reports that Martin Ginsburg and Mayor Mary Foster have agreed to find ways to ensure that the development of 136 townhouses and condominiums is approved and completed. "The market may show one direction," Ginsburg is quoted as saying, "but we are gung-ho on Peekskill." SOURCE: The North County News: Mayor, Ginsburg officials work together to win approvals

Restoring the Yorktown Depot It's been fifty years since trains used the tracks that are now the North County Trailway, but the New York Times reports that the 130-year-old Yorktown depot is about to get some new life. Located in Railroad Park in Yorktown Heights, the depot is set to get a $600,000 spruce-up under the auspices of Walter Sedovic Architects, whose projects include the recent restoration of the facade of Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Friends of Yorktown Depot hope that the structure will serve as a rest stop for the many bikers and pedestrians that regularly pass by on the trailway. SOURCE: The New York Times: Last Train's Long Gone, But Station Will Return

Historic Preservation Comes to Somers The town of Somers has voted to create an historic preservation commission, reports the North County News. The seven member commission will designate landmarks and work with the owners to ensure the integrity of the structures. SOURCE: The North County News: Somers to create historic preservation commission

Friday, July 18, 2008

Weekend Events

Activities and things to do this weekend in Northern Westchester:

Godspell One of the biggest Broadway successes of all time, Godspell is a modern day retelling of the New Testament parables through music and energetic choreography. Saturday, 8:00; Sunday, 2:00. Yorktown Stage

Butterfly Kisses July brings out an abundance of butterflies and other insects in the fields. As you learn about the ecology of the field, you might be in for a surprise when a butterfly kisses you! Saturday, 1:00. Teatown Lake Reservation

Marcy and the Pink Podium An eight-hour, unscripted solo show with Marcy B. Freedman. Saturday, 9:00 Peekskill Coffee House

Organic Raspberries Visit this Certified Organic farm and pick your own raspberries. Saturday, 10:00 to 6:00; Sunday, 2:00 to 6:00. Amawalk Farm

The Music of ABBA The largest touring ABBA show in the world, Arrival features all of the band's biggest hits. Saturday, 8:00. Tarrytown Music Hall

The Blue Rays The band The Blue Rays performs Jump/Swing Blues and pre-Elvis Rock & Roll. Saturday, 9:30 to 12:30. 12 Grapes Music and Wine Bar

DIVAS Benefit Concert Noted actor and Westchester resident Matthew Arkin hosts the Hudson Stage's benefit concert on Baptist Church Road in Yorktown Heights. Bring a picnic and see a star-studded line-up of Broadway singers. Cost: $100 per person. Saturday, 7:00. Hudson Stage

The Seven Husbands of Harriet Goldberg Antonia Arts presents a solo show with Mark Stolzenberg. Saturday, 8:00; Sunday, 2:00. Studio Two, 814 South Street, Peekskill

Sarah Chang Plays Mendelssohn Violinist Sarah Chang joins the Orchestra of St. Luke's to perform music by Mozart, Mendelssohn, Mussorgsky, and Tchaikovsky. Saturday, 8:00. Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts

Gonzo Director Alex Gibney takes a probing look at the uncanny life of gonzo journalism inventor Hunter S. Thompson in this fast-moving documentary. Saturday, multiple showings. Jacob Burns Film Center

An Evening at the Opera The Summer Serenades with the Ridgefield Symphony series continues with a performance of overtures and arias from works by Verdi, Rossini, Bizet, Mozart and Puccini. Saturday, 6:00. Lasdon Park and Arboretum

Botanical Illustration Textile designer and artist Wendy Hollender conducts a botanical illustration class for naturalists and beginning artists. Learn drawing and observation techniques, collect samples on the farm, and learn plant identification techniques. Sunday, 12:00 to 4:00. Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture

Meeting Of The Wings Discover the wonders of dragonflies and butterflies. Sunday, 11:00 to 1:00. Croton Point Park Nature Center

Candy Making For Kids Children will learn how to make old-fashioned candy and treats. Sunday, 1:00 to 3:00. Muscoot Farm

All About Ferns Discover the 25 different kinds of ferns that grown in the sanctuary. Learn how they grow with no flowers, and how to tell the many kinds apart. Sunday, 1:00. Westmoreland Sanctuary

Brahms The Emerson String Quartet performs quartets by Brahms. Purchase Al Fresco tickets and enjoy the performance from the picnic grounds. Sunday, 4:30. Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts

Image: Magnolia Grandiflora, Wendy Hollender

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Stately in Sommers

Built in 1875, this 3,100 square foot colonial has a grand-yet-homey presence and some great details. The beamed living room features a nice stone fireplace, and the sun porch is just about perfect. The 4 bedroom abode has a lovely 2 acre property and has its own pond. Located in Somers (with a Katonah address and Somers schools), the house is close to Muscoot Farm, Yorktown Heights, and Katonah. At $12,053, the taxes seem quite reasonable. $1,100,000
Houlihan Lawrence, Google Map, Live Search Map

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Fun on the River

A small but sweet point sticking out into Half Moon Bay, Senasqua Park is a gem usually reserved for residents of Croton. But the sylvan spot is the setting for a variety of summer events that are open to all. The Wednesday night movies include Underdog (tonight) and Bee Movie. The Family Entertainment series on Thursday evenings includes acts such as The Fun and Funny Juggling Show (tomorrow) and the Cirque Menagerie. The Friday night Concert Series welcomes performers such as Sundown Band (this Friday) and Second Wind. And there's always the stunning sunset over the the Hudson. Check out Croton's calendar for details. Village of Croton-on-Hudson
Image: Sensasqua Park, by Vangal2007

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Ossining Sweet Spot

One of my personal picks of the homes for sale in Northern Westchester:

This 1892 home has great curb appeal and plenty of lovely details. The 1,500 square foot home has 3 bedrooms and a pleasant living room and formal dining room. The bathrooms and mechanicals have been updated and there are new windows--but the kitchen looks like it should be next on the to-do list. The small plot (0.09 of an acre) has an appealing patio and is located in a nice area, close to the new library, shopping, and the train station. Given the asking price, this looks like a good deal. $409,000
Houlihan Lawrence, Google Map, Live Search Map

Monday, July 14, 2008

Modern Art, Via India

The Hammond Museum's exhibit "Erasing Borders" features works by over 40 artists who have origins in India. The pieces, including Papel Picado by Swati Khurna (above), include photography, sculpture, paintings, and other media. The exhibition was reviewed in Sunday's New York Times. Check out the IAAC site for samples of work by each artist. Through September 6. Indo-American Arts Council, Hammond Museum and Japanese Stroll Garden

Friday, July 11, 2008

Weekend Events

Activities and things to do this weekend in Northern Westchester:

Pleasantville Music Festival Over twenty acts including Grammy winner Joan Osborne, legendary rocker Graham Parker, deSol, Back Door Slam, Buffalo Eskimo, and more will perform on three stages. Kid's performers include Annie and the Natural Wonder Band, Gigi and the Lend Me a Hand Band, and David and the Fireflies. Saturday, 11:00 to 8:00. Pleasantville Music Festival

Open Farm Days The farm is open for self-guided tours. Explore more than 20 breeds of animals, a small-scale egg operation, organic vegetable gardens, pastures and barns, a cheese house, and an orchard. Bring a picnic lunch! Saturday, 11:00 to 3:00. Rainbeau Ridge Farm

Introduction to Herbal Medicine Explore the art and science of herbal medicines in this workshop that touches on plant identification, medicine making, and herbal first aid. Saturday, 10:00 to 12:00. Rockefeller State Park Preserve

North American Butterfly Count An annual rite of summer, the count is a way for all butterfly enthusiasts to partake in a citizen scientist monitoring effort. Saturday, 10:00. Teatown Lake Reservation

Works by Mozart, Strauss, and Dvorak Part of the Saturday Evenings with the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra concert series. Light refreshments available for purchase. Saturday, 6:00. Lasdon Park and Arboretum

History Under the Stars An evening of family fun, camping overnight on the grounds. Bring a tent, sleeping bags, and a picnic dinner. Saturday. John Jay Homestead

Rossini: Il Barbiere di Siviglia I A new look at the beloved “Barber, ” the Baerenreiter critical edition was produced under the supervision of the renowned Philip Gossett. Il Barbiere will be performed with Rossini's original orchestration and with the vocal style reconstructed from documents of the composers' day. Saturday, 8:00. Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts

A Hard Day's Night See this 1964 British comedy starring the Beatles playing themselves (above). Saturday and Sunday, 12:00. Jacob Burns Film Center

The Wizard of Oz The Random Farm Kids' Theater performs a play based on the classic novel. Sunday, 11:00 and 4:00. Tarrytown Music Hall

Farmer: Photography Exhibit Visit the Hay Barn to view photographer Jason Houston's photos documenting small community-focused farmers from around the world. Saturday and Sunday, 10:00 to 5:00. Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture

Story Sunday Kids can learn all about turtles with a reading of Emma's Turtle and some related games. Sunday, 11:00. Teatown Lake Reservation

Dean Friedman Peekskill resident and musician Dean Friedman plays tunes from his more than 10 albums. Sunday, 1:00. Peekskill Coffee House

Summer Fair A day of music, crafts, demonstrations, and hayrides. Meet 4-H clubs and purchase fresh produce, meats, cheese, soaps, candles, and more from local farmers. Sunday, 11:00 to 3:00. Muscoot Farm

Image: Jacob Burns Film Center

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Teatown Treat

One of my personal picks of the homes for sale in Northern Westchester:

The Teatown area (which straddles Yorktown, Croton, and Ossining) is certainly one of Westchester's loveliest. Home to the Teatown Lake Reservation, the section is close to everything yet feels far from it all. This 1930 charmer is set on 5 fabulous acres (with a Croton address and schools). The 3 bedroom, 1,700 square foot house has much going for it, first and foremost a stunning living room/dining room. The kitchen is renovated and the master bedroom looks quite spacious. For this much land, the taxes are relatively low at $13,502. Compared to other listings in Teatown, the asking price looks pretty low. The only true negative I can find is that the exterior has vinyl siding, which might turn off some potential buyers. $799,000