Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Caramoor's First Fall Festival

Caramoor has always been a summer destination. But this year the music center is making a play for a longer season with its first Fall Festival. The festivities kick off Friday evening with the New York Philharmonic performing Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony and Fourth Piano Concerto, and features pianist Emanuel Ax. The Caramoor Calvalcade on Saturday offers fun for the whole family with performances by Polygraph Lounge, the Escher String Quartet, and chamber music in the Sunken Garden. On Saturday night, Chick Corea will perform in a rare solo appearance. The festival concludes on Sunday with a performance by Sumi Jo and Will Crutchfield in the Rosen House Music Room. Check out the website for exact times and more details. Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Village Landmark

Year Built: Before 1765
Square Feet: 2,116
Bedrooms: 3
Property: 0.69 of an acre
Location: Yorktown Heights, within walking distance of stores, parks, and playgrounds.
Best features: The old Hallock House is a town landmark, and with good reason. The house is bursting with original details like corner fireplaces, wide-board floors, and exposed beams. The entire house has been restored and the kitchen has been nicely updated.
Downside: The house is surrounded by a development of ten oversized "luxury homes" on what used to be a lovely field. The driveway is off of the development's road, so you'll have to pass by the abominations daily. The property backs up onto Hanover street, which is well-traveled.
Taxes: $11,379
Asking Price: $575,000
Agency: Coldwell Banker
Maps: Google Map, bing Map

Morning Sonata

Lithuanian pianist Ieva Jokubaviciute performs Schubert’s ‘Gasteiner’ sonata in the music room. Wednesday, 11:00 am. Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts

Monday, September 28, 2009

A New Crop of Art

For the fourth year, Collaborative Concepts at Saunders Farm has transformed 100 acres of rolling fields and pastures in Garrison into a sculpture garden. More than 60 site-specific artworks are spread across the bucolic farm, along side the stone walls and Black Angus cattle. Works include Mick McGuire's "
Color-window viewing box" (above) and Jo-Ann Brody's "Two Women Dancing" (right). 
I haven't been this year, but in the past the artwork has varied a great deal in quality—but the overall experience of walking through the fields and enjoying the views of art, nature, and cows has been wonderful. Check out the website for a list of participating artists and photos of their work. Through October 31. Collaborative Concepts 2009

Farm to Table

"The program gets extra points for context and intimacy; with all the bleating and clucking going on outside, it’s hard to miss the farm-to-pan connection, and with classes capped at 10 to 12 participants, a lot of information gets shared." The New York Times on the Garden to Table classes at Rainbeau Ridge farm in Bedford Hills.
Image: The New york Times

Friday, September 25, 2009

Weekend Picks

Activities and things to do this weekend in Northern Westchester

Joan Osborne The singer performs tracks from her latest release, "Little Wild One." Friday, 8:00 pm. Tarrytown Music Hall

Far Away Farm Open House Enjoy the alpacas and Icelandic horses at this stunning Yorktown Heights farm. Visit the store to buy alpaca products. Local author Amy Kefauver will be on hand to sign copies of  her book Here I Am: Alpacas in America, which features photos of the farm's inhabitants. Saturday and Sunday, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Far Away Farm Alpacas

Katonah Fall Festival Enjoy a day of music, food, entertainment, games, crafts and fun for all. Early risers can also catch—or join—the 9th Annual Katonah 5K Run, which starts at 8:30 am. Saturday, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. Katonah Chamber

Birds and Nature Author Winter Donaldson will read her new picture book, The Missing Crest, and engage readers in related activities. Saturday, 11:00 am. Ossining Public Library

Sculpture Garden and Gallery Tour Artist Edward Tufte hosts an informal look at his exhibition "Seeing Around." Saturday, 2:30 pm and 3:30 pm. Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum

International Coastal Cleanup Join the worldwide event involving 76 countries to help clean up our shorelines. Saturday, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Croton Point Nature Center

Scarecrow Making Workshop Have fun making and decorating a scarecrow. Bring clothes and a hat. Stuffing and burlap will be provided. Saturday, 1:00 to 3:00 pm. Muscoot Farm 

Dave Fields Blues guitarist Dave Fields gives an electrifying performance. Saturday, 9:30 pm to 12:30 am. 12 Grapes Music and Wine Bar

Menopause The Musical An uplifting production that includes parodies from the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s and offers a salute to women who are experiencing The Change. Saturday, 4:00 pm and 8:00 pm; Sunday, 2:00 pm.  Paramount Center of the Arts

Fred Smith Jazz Band The former musical director for the Harlem Blues and Jazz Band, Fred Smith has been trumpeter of choice for many main line Swing groups through the years. Saturday,  7:30 pm. Bean Runner Cafe

Children's Book Day Washington Irving's home is the storybook setting for this festival for young readers who can meet more than sixty of their favorite authors and illustrators. Sunday, 11:00 am to 6:00 pm. Sunnyside

Farm Chores Pitch in and lend a hand with chores like collecting eggs  or tearing out a bed in the greenhouse. Sunday, 10:00 am and 1:00 pm. Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture

Story Sunday Join a reading of A Seed is Sleepy and engage in activities about nature, animals, and ecology. Sunday, 11:00 am. Teatown Lake Reservation 

Square Dancing Grab a partner... Sunday,  1:00 to 3:00 pm. Muscoot Farm

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Bistro and Caribbean Fare for Mt. Kisco

Recession or not, Mt. Kisco has been adding restaurants at a rapid rate in the last few months. In addtion to Neo World Bistro and Sushi Bar (which I did a post on a few weeks ago), one of the newest spots is FAB (French American Bistro). The eatery (left) garnered a "Good" rating in Sunday's New York Times for what the Times reporter called "a hit parade of familiar bistro dishes." Another new entry is Touch of Jamaica, which focuses on take-out but does have a few tables. The Caribbean dishes have gotten raves on the Chowhound forum, with some posters using adjectives such as "spectacular" and "perfect." The restaurant doesn't have a website, but it is located at 37 South Moger and the number is 914-864-0341. Image: The New York Times

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Rashômon, Restored

Akira Kurosawa's 1950 landmark
drama looks better than ever thanks
to a new 35MM restoration. One night
only, followed by a discussion with 
the film center's senior programmer.   
Thursday, 5:30. Jacob Burns Film Center

Herb Extravaganza

The New York Unit of the Herb Society of America will hold it's 61st annual Herb Fair this week at the John Jay Homestead. The fair will feature oodles of herbs, jams, jellies, vinegars, and baked goods, according to The New York Times. There will also be lovage soup, whose scent the Times reporter described as "like celery mingled with anise." According to the Herb Society, which also maintains a permanent garden at the site (left), the proceeds will support local gardens. The fair is this Thursday from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. Image: Doug P

Meet the Artist

Maureen Connor discusses her pieces in the museum's exhibit "Dress Codes: Clothing as Metaphor." Her work Thinner Than You (left), an impossibly slim knitted evening dress of steel mesh,  explores the external pressure put upon women.  
Thursday, 7:30 pm. Katonah Museum of Art

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Mid-Century Manor

Year Built: 1956
Square Feet: 2,550
Bedrooms: 2
Property: 26 acres
Location: Bedford (with a Katonah address and Bedford schools), on fabulous Croton Lake Road, very close to both Katonah and Bedford Hills villages.
Best features: The property, on one of the nicest roads in the area, is truly stunning—26 acres of woods, fields, stone walls, and gorgeous vistas. The  house is dripping with mid-century style and boasts many wonderful features typical of the era. And the taxes are quite low for the amount of land.
Downside: It's not a lot of house for 4 million bucks, and it would be a horrible crime to knock it down. Adding on would require an architect with a good sense of the nuances of the style.
Taxes: $24,048
Asking Price: $3,950,000
Agency: Ginnel Real Estate
Maps: Google Map, bing Map

Monday, September 21, 2009

Coming to America

The documentary La Americana follows the ordeals of Carmen, a Bolivian mother who comes to the U.S. to provide for her disabled daughter. The film will be followed by a discussion with the director, Nicholas Bruckman, and Carola Bracco of Neighbors Link in Mt. Kisco. Tuesday, 7:30 pm. Jacob Burns Film Center

A Trail to the Trails

While northern Westchester is blessed with a great number of hiking trails, almost all of them go north-south, and few of them connect to each other. But the Teatown Lake Reservation is working to create a new Teatown-Kitchawan trail to provide an east-west connection between a number of trails. (Click the map above to enlarge it.) The so-called T-K trail would link the John Hand Park and Kitchawan Preserves and would create connections between the Old Croton Aqueduct Extension Trailway, the Briarcliff-Peekskill Trailway, the North County Trailway, and Teatown Lake Reservation. The 3.7 mile trail would run through southern Yorktown, crossing land owned by the Department of Environmental Protection and Westchester County. Image: Teatown Lake Reservation

Friday, September 18, 2009

Weekend Picks

Activities and things to do this weekend in Northern Westchester

Soul Tree Villians Catch the rock/funk/soul sounds of Soul Tree Villains. Friday, 9:30 pm. 12 Grapes Music and Wine Bar

Pow Wow A two day celebration of culture and history with some 1,000 Native American artists, performers and educators at FDR State Park. Saturday and Sunday, 11:00 to 7:00 pm. Redhawk Native American Arts Council

Insects: Good, Bad and Buggy! What good are insects? What’s bad about bugs? Pick up a net and investigate the world of incredible insects. Saturday, 11:00 am. Teatown Lake Reservation

Hudson River Valley Ramble Join a guided hike of the Westchester Wilderness Walk, the 8 mile trail through the Land Trust’s 150-acre preserve. Saturday, 12:00 pm. Westchester Land Trust

Monarch Butterfly Tagging Monarch butterflies migrate thousands of miles to roosting locations in Mexico. Tagging individual Monarchs helps to shed light on the mystery of their migration. Saturday, 1:00 pm. Westmoreland Sanctuary

Live Jazz Catch the sounds of Matt Finck, Rob Kopec, and Bob Meyer as they do their thing. Saturday, 7:30 pm. Bean Runner Cafe

Wildlife Artist Lecture Join award-winning wildlife nature artist, JoAnne Sullam for a look at the natural world around us and its harmonious relationship to the arts. A visit with ambassador wolves follows the talk. Sunday, 3:00 pm. Wolf Conservation Center

John Jay Homestead Country Fair Enjoy swimming pig races, sheep and duck herding, pony rides, wagon rides, skirmishes performed by Revolutionary War re-enactors, falconry demonstrations, a petting zoo, and more. Sunday, 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. John Jay Homestead

Canoe the Croton Adults can paddle up the river against the tide and current. Sunday, 10:00 am to 1:00 pm. Teatown Lake Reservation

Farm to Table Learn how to use the freshest sustainable food to prepare delicious dishes that excite the senses! Pick from the crops, bring it back to the kitchen, prepare and share the tasty creations. Sunday, 1:00 to 4:00 pm. Hilltop Hanover Farm

Rebel Red Singer-songwriter Red Peralta (aka Rebel Red) performs. Sunday, 1:00 pm. Peekskill Coffee House

The Music Room Part of the "Jonathan's Demme's Rarely Seen Cinema" series, Satyajit Ray brings his singular vision to this spectacle of music, dance, and powerful narrative. There will be a Q&A with Jonathan Demme after the film. Sunday, 5:00 pm. Jacob Burns Film Center

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sneak Peek Tonight

Catch a special preview of The Burning Plain, Guillermo Arriaga's new movie, starring Charlize Theron and Kim Basinger. The writer of scripts for Amores Perros, 21 Grams, and Babel has created another mind-bending jigsaw puzzle of a story in his directorial debut. New York Times critic Janet Maslin interviews the director after the film. Thursday, 7:30 pm. Jacob Burns Film Center

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

River View

Ellen Kozak's lyrical waterscapes are shown in the second solo exhibition of artwork inspired by the Hudson River. This exhibition includes recent paintings along with a new work in digital media. Through October 4. Katonah Museum of Art

Artists' Round Table

The 9 artists whose work is displayed in the exhibition "Double Dutch” will discuss art in the Netherlands, arts residencies, methodologies, and more. The audience is invited to participate in a question and answer session. Thursday, 6:00 pm. Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Charm and Potential in Peekskill

Year Built: 1910
Square Feet: 1,366
Bedrooms: 3
Property: 0.24 of an acre
Location: Peekskill, close to Depew Park, the train station, and the downtown artists' district.
Best features: The exterior of this home is pretty picture perfect, with a welcoming front porch and classic looks on the front. In the back, there's a nice big yard and a large deck. Inside, the rooms are well-proportioned and retain hardwood floors and some details. It's easy to see the potential.
Downside: The house has clearly been "updated" on the inside and has lost some of its charm. It appears to need a fair amount of cosmetic work.
Taxes: $7,592
Asking Price: $299,900
Agency: Coldwell Banker
Maps: Google Map, bing Map

Mid-Week Music

Catch the sounds of the legendary 
rock group Los Lobos.
Wednesday at 8:00 pm.
Paramount Center for the Arts

Monday, September 14, 2009

Talking Points

In an effort to create "shock waves of meaningful, unexpected, and possibly outlandish insights and connections," the CrossTalk series features two experts talking on unrelated topics, followed by an open question-and-answer period. The five-part series is co-sponsored by the Katonah Museum and the Katonah Village Library, with events alternating between the two sites. This Thursday's talk, "News Makers and Shakers," features CNN president Jonathan Klein and author Lee Woodruff, whose memoir explores the impact of the injury her husband suffered as a reporter in Iraq. The event will be held in the sculpture garden at the Katonah Museum of Art and begins with a wine reception at 6:30 and runs until 8:00 pm. Proceeds support children’s programs at the Museum and the Library.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Weekend Picks

Activities and things to do this weekend in Northern Westchester

Peekskill Celebration Enjoy the Dragon Boat races, fireworks, and live music performances at Riverfront Green Park. Check the site for details. Saturday and Sunday. Peekskill Celebration

Cows in the Living Room ...and dragons in the dining room! An animal-musical tour for families. Saturday, 11:00 am. Merestead

Music with Stacy Stacy Labriola entertains the younger set with clever originals as well as familiar favorites. Saturday, 11:00 am. Croton Free Library

Archaeology Fun for Kids Visit an ancient Native American oyster shell midden. Saturday, 1:00 pm. Croton Point Park Nature Center

Fall Crafts At Lyndhurst More than 300 booths filled with handmade crafts from pottery to jewelry to furniture and clothing. Saturday, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm; Sunday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Lyndhurst

Hike to Raven Rocks Ravens have recently returned to the reservation (say that five times fast). Hike to their nesting area high up on the rocky cliffs. Saturday, 1:00 p.m. Ward Pound Ridge Reservation

Double Dutch: Family Activity Day Make tulips, participate in creating a giant mural, and enter a jump rope competition. Saturday, 12:00 to 5:00 pm. Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art

Author Discussion Yorktown author, Susan Berliner, talks about Dust, her new supernatural thriller. She'll discuss how she got the idea for her novel and the processes of it. Saturday, 2:00 pm. John Hart Library

Raptors for Rookies An expert from the Saw Mill River Audubon will show you how to identify hawks, eagles, falcons, and vultures using simple techniques. Saturday, 2:00 pm. Westmoreland Sanctuary

Hook Mountain Migration Hike Join a naturalist and hike to the top of Hook Mountain for a bird’s eye view of Haverstraw Bay, the Tappan Zee, and points south. Saturday, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. Teatown Lake Reservation

15 Seconds of Fame Video artists Marcy B. Freedman and Gene Panczenko will be offering guests a chance to experience a few moments of glory as they shoot, edit, and display footage during the Second Saturday party. Saturday, 7:00 to 9:00 pm. Katonah Museum of Art

A Tribute to Dinah Washington Highly celebrated jazz vocalist Lillie Bryant-Howard joins Lonnie Leibowitz and his trio to pay tribute to the great Dinah Washington. Saturday, 8:00 pm. The BeanRunner Café

Music from Copland House A concert of Copland House composers and musicians. Sunday, 3:00 pm. Merestead

Grandparents Day Visit the Once Upon a Farm Museum, sip lemonade, sample cookies and make a keepsake craft. Saturday, 1:00 to 3:00 pm. Muscoot Farm

Morris Robbins Memorial Concert The Bensen-Scott Big Band performs a memorial concert to celebrate the life and artistry of Morris Robbins, a talented art director. Sunday, 5:30 pm. Katonah Museum of Art

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Loving Lumet

Beginning this Friday, the Jacob Burns Film Center will be celebrating the work of Sidney Lumet, which spans 60 years and includes over 40 films. Through September 30, the center will show 12 classics, including 12 Angry Men, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, The Verdict, and Network. Just thinking about it makes me happy as hell. Jacob Burns Film Center
Images: Jacob Burns Film Center

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Checking Zillow's Estimates

When I'm looking at what's for sale I often check Zillow to see how their "zestimate" of the current market value compares to the asking price. Evidently lots of others do too, since the site is one of the most popular real estate sites around. To check Zilow's accuracy, I looked at the five Hot Properties that sold in August and compared the zestimates on those houses to the actual current market value—how much they just sold for. Of the four houses that had a zestimate, Zillow was way under for all of them—by an average of well over $100,000 and by as much as $1,164,000! It's only four houses, but it does make you wonder how accurate the zestimates actually are. The trick, of course, is that Zillow is basing the zesitmate on the average price per square foot for the zip code. This approach misses the fact that not all square foots are equal—and that prices can vary a lot in one zip code. Thoughts?

Zestimate: $761,500
Just sold for:
Location: Yorktown Heights
Featured: May 12, 2009

Zestimate: $666,000
Just sold for: $830,000
Mt. Kisco
March 3, 2009

Zestimate: $986,000
Just sold for: $2,150,000
Featured: February 5, 2009

Zestimate: $556,000
Just sold for: $770,000
Location: Katonah
Featured: October 30, 2007

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A New Place to Compose and Perform

Westchester County has formed a partnership with Copland House in Cortlandt Manor to turn Mt. Kisco's Merestead estate into a music and arts center. The New York Times reported that Merestead will provide artists-in-residence programs for composers and will become a place for composers to collaboratively work on opera, dance, and theater pieces. The county and Copland House will share expenses for mainting the programs. According to the press release, these programs will benefit Westchester residents through public performances at Merestead and "educational and community activities around the County." The 130 acre Merestead estate boats a 26-room Georgian Revival mansion, a carriage house, farm buildings, gardens, and over two miles of trails. Events this weekend at Merestead to launch the new venture will include performances by Copland House composers, a family concert, and a treasure hunt for kids.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Weekend Picks

Activities and things to do this weekend in Northern Westchester

Green Corn Festival Celebrate Native American culture and enjoy traditional music and dance, plus open-hearth cooking demonstrations, games, hands-on crafts, and more. Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. Philipsburg Manor

Nature Scavenger Hunt Sharpen your observation skills on this self-guided scavenger hunt using our nature check list. Go at your own pace while discovering nature's treasures. Saturday 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. Ward Pound Ridge Reservation

Searching for Beach Glass Explore the Hudson River shoreline for beach glass to discover how they form, their color variations, and how common they might be. Saturday, 1:00 pm. Croton Point Nature Center

Teatown History Hunt Using a map and clues, discover the natural and human history of Teatown. Part quest, part hike, this program will have you knee deep in fascinating facts about the local landscape. Saturday, 10:00 am. Teatown Lake Reservation

Stone Barns Inside Take a behind-the-scenes tour of the livestock, greenhouse and planting fields. Get up close and personal with the animals and find out the staff's favorite places at the farm. Saturday, 11:00 am. Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh This funny, warm collection includes the classics Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree, Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day, and Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too! Saturday and Sunday, 12:00 pm. Jacob Burns Film Center

Buried in Blue Enjoy the mix of rock, blues, R&B and pop classics fromBuried in Blue. Friday, 9:30 pm. 12 Grapes Music and Wine Bar

Kid's Nature Hike Children use their eyes and ears to explore what's happening in the forest during 3/4-mile walk. Sunday, 11:00 am. Westmoreland Sanctuary

Fairy Walk Do you believe in fairies? Come to Muscoot Farm and become a believer. Sunday, 1:00 to 3:00 pm. Muscoot Farm

10K Run The peekskill celebration starts off with a race at the Division Street Gazebo. Sunday, 7:45 am. Peekskill Celebration

Hot Tuna Discover the power and depth of American blues and roots music with Hot Tuna. Sunday, 7:00 pm. The Tarrytown Music Hall

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

August Sales and Deals

The number of contracts signed in the towns this blog covers remained relatively high through August, maintaining the bounce that began back in June through what is usually a slow period. Interestingly, this mirrors the results reported by the New York Times in the city market. The five previously-featured hot properties that sold in August are full of useful tidbits. The Katonah village colonial reminds me to take the "data" with a grain of salt: in the July Sales and Deals post I recorded that the last listing price was $849,000, a figure I got from the WPMLS. Now the records tell me that the last asking price was $799,000. The farmhouse in Katonah and the house in Yorktown Heights show that the right asking price can (sometimes) trigger a bidding war. Isn't real estate watching fun!

Contracts signed on single-family homes

July: 86

Hot Properties that went to contract

 Location: Croton
 Featured: June 30, 2009
 Asking Price When Featured: $459,000
 Last Asking Price: $459,000

Location: Ossining
Featured: June 23, 2009
Asking Price When Featured: $439,222 
Last Asking Price: $439,222

Location: Yorktown
Featured: May 28, 2009
 Asking Price When Featured: $999,999
Last Asking Price: $999,999

Hot Properties that closed

Location: Yorktown Heights
Featured: May 12, 2009
Asking Price When Featured: $879,000
Last Asking Price: $839,000
Sold for: $850,000

Location: Mt. Kisco
Featured: March 3, 2009
Asking Price When Featured: $929,000
Last Asking Price: $899,000
Sold for: $830,000

Location: Katonah
Featured: February 5, 2009
Asking Price When Featured: $2,495,000
Last Asking Price: $1,895,000
Sold for: $2,150,000

Location: Somers
July 17, 2008
Asking Price When Featured: $1,100,000
Last Asking Price: $895,000
Sold for: $775,000

Location: Katonah
Featured: October 30, 2007
Asking Price When Featured: $979,000
Last Asking Price: $799,000
Sold for: $770,000