Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Cute Kisco Cottage

Sorry, I have a weakness for alliteration. But this 1920's house sure is cute. The 1,700 square foot, four bedroom abode boasts a lovely front porch, nicely updated kitchen, and bright, pleasant rooms. The stone foundation gets extra points for quaintness. The 0.12 of an acre lot is located on lovely Crow Hill Road, close to Mt Kisco. Two definite pluses are the low taxes of $11,765, and the fact that the house is zoned for Chappaqua schools. I think this one is pretty well-priced. Agree? $639,000
Houlihan Lawrence, Google Map, Live Search Map

Monday, March 30, 2009

This Week's Picks

A few must-do events this week in northern Westchester:

Picture This! Explore the expressive power of line, shape, color, space, and composition with Rosemary Agoglia, Director of Education at The Eric Carle Museum. Monday, 3:00 to 7:00. Katonah Museum of Art

Brandi Carlile Named one of the top ten "Artists To Watch" by Rolling Stone magazine, Brandi Carlile performs her stark, emotive vocals and finely detailed songs. Tuesday, 8:00. Tarrytown Music Hall

The Magic Lantern An evening with Marcy B. Freedman and Mark Sadan, as they share examples of their videos at the Photographers of Northern Westchester exhibit. Wednesday, 7:30. The Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship Meeting House

Turtles in Trouble Join a discussion with wildlife biologist Kathy Michell about the reasons for locally declining turtle populations, what research and conservation efforts are currently being undertaken, and what we can each do to make a difference. Thursday, 7:30. Teatown Lake Reservation

David Sedaris NPR Humorist and best-selling author of Me Talk Pretty One Day and Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, David Sedaris shares his sardonic wit and incisive social critiques. Thursday, 7:30. Paramount Center for the Arts

An Evening with Cartoonist Matt Davies Get a glimpse inside the fascinating mind of a Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist Matt Davies. Thursday, 6:30 to 8:30. Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum

The Mellow Hudson

Serenity reigns on the mighty river. Photo by JMS2.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Weekend Picks

The best activities and things to do this weekend in northern Westchester:

Frog Music The sounds of spring begin with a chorus of frogs. Explore a vernal pool and watch and listen as spring explodes. Saturday, 11:00. Teatown Lake Reservation

Arrowheads and Adzes
Kids can learn to transform lumps of stone into elegant Native American tools. Saturday, 1:00. Croton Point Park Nature Center

Draw On!
Listen to a Weston Woods Studio director share secrets of how a picture book becomes an animated short. Then watch documentaries about illustrators Eric Carle and David McPhail and animated stories by Peter H. Reynolds and Maurice Sendak. On Sunday, enjoy animated versions of twelve classic children’s picture books. Saturday and Sunday, 2:00 to 4:00. Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum

Composting with Worms Believe it or not, but worms create high quality compost in a short amount of time. Learn how to build and care for a worm bin. Saturday, 10:00 to 12:00. Hilltop Hanover Farm

Gunter Hampel
Jazz musician Gunter Hampel discusses contemporary jazz and performs two solo sets. Saturday, 2:00 to 6:00. Bean Runner Cafe

Singer, songwriter, and performer Simone sings from a diverse repertoire of jazz, soul, pop, rock, and funk. Saturday, 8:00. Paramount Center for the Arts

Late Night Preview
Get a sneak-peak of the exhibition Lichtenstein In Process before it opens to the public. Stop by for sparkling spirits, catered desserts, and a special docent tour. Saturday, 8:30 to 10:30. Katonah Museum of Art

The Where of There Let the landscapes of Milton Avery, Marsden Hartley, Charles Sheeler and Georgia O`Keeffe inspire kids to use printmaking and collograph techniques to create their own special place. Bring a photograph of a meaningful place or create an imagined one. Sunday, 1:00 to 3:00. Neuberger Museum of Art

Mary the Muse The ensemble Charis Chamber Voices performs a variety of "masterworks inspired by the feminine divine," including works by Bernstein, Conte, Grieg, Poulenc, Schubert, and Stravinsky. Sunday, 4:00. Bedford Presbyterian Church

Children's Scavenger Hunt
Kids can search for a list of natural items—and get great prizes. Sunday, 2:00. Westmorelend Sanctuary

Ariel String Quartet The Ariel String Quartet performs quartets by Haydn, Beethoven, and Brahms. Sunday, 4:00. Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts

131 Arts Day Learn about the art center and have fun participating in workshops on drawing, painting, pottery, photography, music, jewelry making and more! Sunday, 10:00 to 4:00. The Katonah Art Center

Bela Fleck: The Africa Project
Musician and banjo master Bela Fleck (above) traveled to Africa, where the banjo was born, and returned with a remarkable new body of work. Sunday, 8:00. Tarrytown Music Hall

Hike the Highlands: Popolopen Torne Get a 360 degree view of the Highlands and the Hudson from a gem of a little peak in Harriman State Park. Carpool from Teatown. Sunday, 10:00 to 2:00. Teatown Lake Reservation

Great Music Series Pianist Hannah Sun performs works by Bach, Schubert, Debussy, Chopin and Prokofiev. Sunday, 3:00. Ossining Public Library

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Almost Wright

Designed by a "disciple" of Frank Lloyd Wright, this 1965 home certainly has a Usonian flair. Using the master's vocabulary of rosewood, redwood, mahogany, and granite, the home has soaring spaces and loads of light. With a spacious 5,100 square feet, there are 5 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms. Located in Bedford, not far from Mt. Kisco village, the home is set on 4.5 acres and has rights (with the payment of an association fee) to a nearby 35 acre lake. At $25,462, the taxes are relatively hefty, but the asking price seems reasonable, even in this market. If memory serves, this listing was on the market last year and actually went to contract. Evidently, that didn't work out. (To find the home on the realtor's site, search by MLS #: 2907042.) What do you think? $1,395,000
Prudential Holmes & Kennedy, Google Map, Live Search Map

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Quiet Women

The works of Elizabeth Solomon are on exhibit at Eyebuzz Fine Art through April 3.
Images: Eyebuzz Fine Art

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Time Capsule

This 1750 dutch colonial has been remarkably well-preserved. The 2,700 square foot house has 5 bedrooms and loads of original details and character, including brick ovens in two of the four fireplaces. The kitchen has been updated with custom cabinetry made from planking taken from the attic. Located in the northern reaches of Cortland Manor, just a bit north of Peekskill (with Lakeland schools) , the house sits on a 1.2 acre lot. Pretty sweet. $599,999
Prudential Rand Realty, Google Map, Live Search Map

Monday, March 23, 2009

A Look Inside the Parks

A number of local not-for-profits and county parks have recently launched blogs, offering readers a behind the scenes look at their organizations and some valuable expert advice.

Teatown Thoughts The Executive Director of the Teatown Lake Reservation, Fred Koontz, writes on topics such as the new federal tax incentives for energy efficiency and the pros and cons of Yorktown's proposed tree preservation law. The blog is well written and Mr. Koontz clearly knows his stuff.

Farming the WC The farmers at the Hanover Hilltop Farm and Environmental Center give the inside scoop on farming, from the importance of worms to maintaining the greenhouse. The blog gives insight on both big-picture issues and the minutia of making things grow.

Caramoor Center The staff and musicians of the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts all lend a hand in writing posts for the blog. Together, the posts give a fascinating behind the scenes peek at what it takes to make an organization like Caramoor run.

Westmoreland Sanctuary's Nature Notes Posts for this new blog have been written by the Director and the naturalist. My favorite so far was on the joys of watching chickadees. These two nature lovers let you inside their world and help you understand why they're so enamored.

Eat Out For Less

What could be more in keeping with the new frugality than Hudson Valley Restaurant Week? From yesterday through April 3 (two weeks, actually) you can get a three course lunch for just $20.09 and a three course dinner for $28.09 at participating restaurants in Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Putnam, Ulster, and Dutchess Counties. Check out the website for details and for a list of restaurants. Hudson Valley Restaurant Week

Friday, March 20, 2009

Weekend Picks

The best activities and things to do this weekend in northern Westchester:

Shelter for Survival Kids will construct a shelter in the woods, while learning the importance of team building skills, as well as other survival techniques. Saturday, 1:00. Croton Point Park Nature Center

Sugaring-Off Party
Celebrate the end of another sugaring season. Learn how sap becomes syrup, taste foods made with our own maple syrup, and tap your feet to fiddle music! Saturday, 1:00. Ward Pound Ridge Reservation

Spring Equinox Woodlands Hike Welcome spring and hike the farm's 3.5 miles of woodland trails along with Farm staff. Saturday, 2:00 to 4:00. Hilltop Hanover Farm

Saints and Tzadiks
Grammy-winners Susan McKeown and Lorin Sklamberg join forces to present a vocal exploration of the Yiddish and Irish traditions. Saturday, 8:00. Golden Apple Coffeehouse

Three Phantoms in Concert
This benefit for the Jenna's Dream Scholarship Program features The Three Phantoms. Saturday, 8:00. Yorktown Stage

Comedy Night A fundraiser for the Croton Harmon High School Parent Student Association featuring comedians Johnny Lampert, Andy Pitz, and Paul Virzi. Saturday, 8:30. Comedy Night

Pancake Breakfast The sugaring season has ended and now its time for a party. Join the farm staff in enjoying pancakes and real maple syrup. Sunday, 11:00 to 3:00. Muscoot Farm

Poetry Reading Two poets read from their works: Liz Ahl, whose poems have been published in a number of journals; and Cornelius Eady, the author of seven volumes of poetry, most recently Hardheaded Weather. Sunday, 4:00. Hudson Valley Writers Center

Music Without Borders: Indina Menzel The star of Rent and Wicked Idina Menzel sings tunes from her new album "I Stand." Sunday, 7:00. Tarrytown Music Hall

Please Call Home This documentary chronicles the exploits of the Allman Brothers Band (above) from 1970 to 1973. Sunday, 7:30. Paramount Center for the Arts

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Gracious Victorian

Built in 1895, this is one of the remaining grand dames of 'downtown' Yorktown Heights. The just-listed 2,800 square foot house has 4 bedrooms and is overflowing with original details and Victorian charm. The house has been nicely updated, and boasts a new kitchen (somehow cherry cabinets and granite counters seem less bothersome to me in a Victorian). There's a nice screened porch and a deck and the third of an acre lot has a barn. The house is just steps from shopping, parks, and the North County Trailway. On the con side, that is vinyl siding you see on the exterior. $850,000
Coldwell Banker, Google Map, Live Search Map

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Edible Stimulus Packages

Proclaiming itself Westchester's "first and only cupcake bakery," Flour & Sun Bakery opens this Saturday in Pleasantville. The bakery's growing menu boasts 25 cupcake varieties, including Chocolate Mint, Vanilla Cookies & Cream, Red Velvet, Orange Poppy Seed, and French Toast. Each morning the bakery's website lists the daily offerings of four classic cupcakes and three to five specials. You can view a gallery of cupcakes on flickr, and can even befriend the bakery on Facebook. The grand opening is from 10:00 to 5:00 on Saturday and the first 100 arrivals get a free cupcake. Come and get 'em. Flour & Sun Bakery

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Camp Woods Cottage

Back in the early 1800's, Methodists held annual camp prayer meetings in Ossining, creating a village of tents each summer. Over the years, houses were erected on many of the tent sites and the setting of those spiritual gatherings slowly grew into the historic Camp Woods neighborhood. One such house is this sweet 1935 cottage. The wee 850 square foot home has 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, and looks to be in need of a healing hand. At $2,387, the taxes are pretty low, and there's definite potential to be resurrected in this abode. $225,000
Prudential Rand Realty, Google Map, Live Search Map

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Jewish Experience, on Film

This year's annual Jewish Film Festival at Jacob Burns is the biggest yet, with 29 programs by and about Jews around the globe. The featured films include Lost Islands (right), a smash in Israel about the coming-of-age of two brothers; Holy Land Hardball, about the first professional baseball league in Israel; and As Seen Through These Eyes, which looks at the art produced by Holocaust camp prisoners. In addition to the movies, the festival includes a number of fascinating panel discussions with the makers and subjects of various films. The festival runs through April 2. Jacob Burns Film Center
Image: Jacob Burns Film Center

Sounds of Spring

"...in both the caliber of its musicians and the acoustics of its venue, the ensemble series lives up to its motto: 'The performance standards of Lincoln Center in the heart of Bedford.'" The New York Times
The Sunday Times sang these words of praise for the Bedford Chamber Concerts series. The eighth season continues this Wednesday with the "Say Goodbye to Winter" concert, which will feature works by Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Mendelssohn, and others. The concert is at 8:00 at St. Mathew's Church in Bedford.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Weekend Picks

The best activities and things to do this weekend in northern Westchester:

Nature Nuts for Toddlers Wee ones will learn about shapes, colors and sizes while making nature crafts and taking a short hike. Saturday, 1:00. Croton Point Park Nature Center

Wormania Squiggly, slimy, slithery worms! Just what do they do all day long? Discover the secret underground life of worms and make a worm bin to take home stocked with red worms for home composting. Saturday, 11:00. Teatown Lake Reservation

River Songs and Stories The ever-amusing artists of Storytime Stage bring river songs and stories to life in this fast-paced program. Saturday, 11:00. Croton Free Library

Volunteer Work Day Help the farmers prepare for spring planting by clearing rocks from the fields, gardens and woodlands. Volunteers are welcome for any length of time. Saturday, 11:00 to 4:00. Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture

Cheever Book Discussion Author Blake Bailey will discuss his new book, Cheever...A Life! Saturday, 1:00. Ossisining Library

Jack Hanna: It’s a Zoo in Here! Jack Hanna (above) and his animal friends are back to share stories from their many travels around the world. Saturday, 3:00. Tarrytown Music Hall

Maple tree Magic Learn how sugar maple trees create delicious syrup, and discover the ins and outs of maple sugaring. Saturday, 1:00. Ward Pound Ridge Reservation

Songs of the Irish Poets The first performance of the Vocal Rising Stars recital program celebrates the lyricism of the Emerald Isle's greatest writers. Works by Thomas Moore, W.B. Yeats, James Joyce, and Paul Muldoon are set to music by Beethoven, Britten, Balfe, Barber, and others. Saturday, 8:00. Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts

The Hudson River Project In honor of the river's quadricentennial, this multi media performance will include video projections and spoken word interludes. Musicians include Mark O'Connor, Don Byron, and Daniel Bernard Roumain. The evening also features David Gonzalez reciting his three-part poem, "Oh Hudson." Saturday, 8:00. Paramount Center for the Arts

Understanding Soil Get ready for the spring gardening season and learn about your soil's texture and how to do a soil pH test. Bring along a sample of your garden soil to test. Sunday, 2:00. Lasdon Park Arboretum & Veterans Memorial

Kids Nature Walk Come search for the first signs of spring along the trail, listen for bird songs, and keep and eye out for the animals of the forest. Sunday, 2:00. Westmoreland Sanctuary

Sugaring Sundays Stoke up the fire, it’s sugaring time at Teatown! From tapping to collecting, boiling to bottling, Teatown’s naturalists will be in the sugarhouse sharing facts and folklore about this sweet time of year. 1:00 to 3:00. Teatown Lake Reservation

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Cute in Katonah

This listing makes an interesting comparison to last week's property in Croton, which was a similar vintage and size. Built in 1910, the sweet house is well-located in Katonah village, a quick walk to everything in town. The 1,400 square foot, 3 bedroom home has been renovated and sports a high-end kitchen, updated bathrooms, and central air. The small lot has a nice yard with a patio. At $10,634, the tax bill is on the reasonable side. The house last sold in March 2006 for $619,000. I'll bet the current owners did the renovations, which would account for the increase in asking price. $724,000
Coldwell Banker, Google Map, Live Search Map

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Like everyone else, I'm watching what I spend lately. Indeed, according to the New York Times, thrift is the new excess. Bucking the trend, last week I decided to celebrate surviving the latest round of lay-offs at my office by splurging on something special. While this may be tempting the fates, the constant penny-pinching is simply sapping my soul. After all, I'm an American and buying cool stuff makes me happy. So, over the weekend I took a peek at some of my favorite non-necessity shops, including Lot 84 in Mt. Kisco. The small store is packed with interesting items for the home. They are currently featuring the designs of Marsia Holzer, whose lamps and sculptures (above) are quite stunning. Lot 84 is one of those great gems of a store that makes the area special–and which I certainly hope survives the current economic storm. In the end, although I found many things I was eager to own, practicality prevailed and I crossed the street to the GAP and bought shirts for the job I'm lucky to still have. But if I'm still employed in May... Lot 84

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

River Road

Set on a slight bluff over the Hudson River—and the train tracks—this stately 1928 colonial takes it's special spot seriously. While the house is a bit too "Mad Men" for my taste, it is hard not to be taken with it's gracious rooms and drop-dead views. Located in Ossining (with a Briarcliff Manor address and Ossining schools), the 4,300 square foot manse has 7 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms. The kitchen looks a little tired to me, as does the carpeting—but the long patio floating over the river is hard to resist. The 0.72 of an acre property is within walking distance of the Scarborough train station. The taxes are $26,470. $2,350,000
Houlihan Lawrence, Google Map, Live Search Map