Friday, January 29, 2010

Weekend Picks

Activities and things to do this weekend in Northern Westchester

The Walter Lewis Blues Trio True to the roots of traditional Delta and Chicago style blues, the Walter Lewis Blues Trio plays a variety of wonderfully obscure electrified grooves. Friday,  9:30 pm. 12 Grapes Music and Wine Bar

For the Love of Birds Join Winter Donaldson,  author of "The Missing Crest," as she shares her love for cardinals and other backyard birds. Saturday, 1:00 pm. Croton Point Park Nature Center

Early Groundhog Day Celebrate Groundhog Day early and learn about hibernation and what it means if the groundhog sees his shadow. Saturday, 1:00 pm. Ward Pound Ridge Reservation

Toddlers’ Songtime Kids ages two to six can explore rhyme, rhythm, and sound in motion. Saturday, 11:00 am. Croton Free Library

Animals in Winter Explore animals' strategies for winter survival through animal tracking, finding clues, identifying and interpreting nature's hidden treasures. Saturday, 10:00 am. Hilltop Hanover Farm and Environmental Center

Full Moon Hike Everything changes when the sun goes down and the full moon rises. Anyone over the age of 6 can hike to the Pine Forest to see who is about on a winter’s night. Saturday, 6:30 pm. Teatown Lake Reservation

Neil Alexander & NAIL Enjoy the jazz and improv of Neil Alexander & NAIL. Saturday, 7:30 pm. Bean Runner Cafe

Haitian Relief Benefit A gathering of performers, many of them from the local area, will come together to help Haiti recover.  All donations will go to Doctors Without Borders. Saturday,  8:30 pm. Black Cow Coffee Company

Artist Lecture Series Dutch artists Fendry Ekel and Folkert de Jong, moderated by New York Times Art Critic Benjamin Genocchio, reflect on their own works as well as discuss the status of young art in the Netherlands. Sunday, 4:00 pm. Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art

IGLU: A Short Play Enjoy a performance of IGLU, a play by Guy de Cointet and Robert Wilhite, which was originally performed in 1977 at the Vanguarde Theatre in Hollywood. Sunday,  5:00 pm. Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum

Help for Haiti A concert for the earthquake victims of Haiti, Help For Haiti features award-winning songwriter/singer Art Halperin, folk and jazz artist K.J. Denhert, and an interactive live painting by artist Zaza Noah. There is a $10 suggested donation; all money raised will go directly to the “Stand for Haiti” initiative of Partners in Health. Sunday, 8:00 pm. Paramount Center for the Arts

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Kisco Colonial

Year Built: 1702
Square Feet: 2,759
Bedrooms: 4
Property: 0.96 of an acre
Location: Mt. Kisco (with Chappaqua schools), on Route 133 just outside of downtown
Best features: This lovely antique colonial retains its original details and country charm. Especially appealing are the wide plank floors, exposed beams, and beautiful windows. The main rooms look great, and I really like the master bedroom, too.
Downside: The house is on very busy Route 133. The kitchen appears relatively cramped and looks like it could use a little love.
Taxes: $15,799
Asking Price: $699,000
Agency: Prudential Holmes and Kennedy
Maps: Google Map, bing Map

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Close Up

In the docuementary Chuck Close, Marion Cajori captures the artist's process, from blown-up photographs broken into grid patterns to the final brushstroke. After the showing, Isabel Jay, the director’s daughter, who oversaw the film’s completion after her mother’s death, will be interviewed by Neil Watson, Executive Director of the Katonah Museum of Art. Wednesday, 7:15 pm. Jacob Burns Film Center

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Lofty Condo

Year Built: 1820
Square Feet: 1,311
Bedrooms: 2
Location: Ossining, just steps to the train station and Main Street.
Best features: Located in a renovated school house, this spacious condo has a killer main room with soaring ceilings, amazing wooden beams, and nice skylights. The bedrooms look big and bright, and there are 2 full bathrooms and a half bath. There's also a nice terrace off of the kitchen.
Downside: For such a nice space, the finishes look a little blah.
Taxes: $8,589
HOA: $332
Asking Price: $399,750
Agency: Keller Williams
Maps: Google Map, bing Map

Monday, January 25, 2010

Winter Views

Hudson River Winter, by Kathleen Keiffer, whose work is on exhibit at the Canfin Gallery through January 31.

Market Pulse

The Westchester-Putnam Multiple Listing Service released the Fourth Quarter 2009 report last week. In our county, sales were down by 12% from 2008, but sales activity increased each quarter last year. For the fourth quarter, the median sales price of a single family was down by 2% from the fourth quarter of 2008. The inventory at the end of 2009 was "virtually unchanged" from the 2008 level. The report says that it is "starting to look like recovery in the real estate market," but warns that the market can "still be derailed by other adverse conditions such as increased mortgage interest rates, persistent unemployment, and reversals in the equity markets." 
Image: WPMLS

Friday, January 22, 2010

Weekend Picks

Activities and things to do this weekend in Northern Westchester

The Chris O'Leary Band Expect hot blues and great harp playing from the Chris O'Leary Band. Friday, 9:30 pm. 12 Grapes Music and Wine Bar

Skin Against Metal Explore Afro-Cuban rhythms with Skin Against Metal. Friday, 7:30 p.m. Bean Runner Cafe

David Bromberg and Jorma Kaukonen Guitarist David Bromberg and Hot Tuna founder Jorma Kaukonen, together. Friday, 8:00 pm. Tarrytown Music Hall

Trail Maintainence Workshop Join the dedicated volunteers in a trail blazing workshop clearing, marking, and maintaining trails. Saturday 9:30 am. Ward Pound Ridge Reservation

Eagles on an Island Join Croton Point Park naturalists to explore George's Island in search of these wonderful raptors and other birds. Saturday, 10:00 am. George's Island Park

Sea Glass Workshop Learn how sea glass forms and then make and take home a sea glass pendant. Saturday, 1:00 pm. Croton Point Park Nature Center

Creature Connections From the tiniest insect to the largest tree, everything is connected. Discover how animals and their habitats are linked together. Saturday, 1:00 pm. Ward Pound Ridge Reservation

Snowshoe Trek Adults can strap on the shoes and mush out over the fallen snow on a winter afternoon. Saturday, 1:00 pm. Teatown Lake Reservation

Harold Pinter's "Betrayal" The Mighty Theatre performs the Pinter classic, which details an illicit affair told from a husband’s point of view. Saturday, 8:00 pm. Paramount Center for the Performing Arts

The Prints of Merestead Take a print study tour with the curator and learn how to identify different types of prints. Them try your hand at printing. Sunday, 1:00 pm. Merestead

Maps and Compasses Learn to navigate using a map and compass. Sunday, 1:00 pm. Westmoreland Sanctuary

Winter Woolier Visit the sheep and try your hand at carding, spinning, and weaving. Sunday, 1:00 pm. Muscoot Farm

The Man Who Knew Too Much, Twice Catch both of Hitchcock's versions of "The Man Who Knew Too Much," the original 1934 British version and the 1956 American one. Sunday, 1:30 pm. Paramount Center for the Performing Arts

Open Book The duo Open Book performs from their second album, "The Things We Keep." Sunday, 1:00 pm. Peekskill Coffee House

Gettysburg Catch the four-hour marathon screening of the 1993 hit film Gettysburg, starring Jeff Bridges, Martin Sheen, Tom Berenger, Sam Elliott, and thousands of extras. Sunday, 5:30 pm. Katonah Museum of Art

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Something to Slip Into

In the absence of any houses that I want to feature, I thought I'd thought try something new. This lovely boat slip at Half Moon Bay on the Hudson is 30 feet and offers right-side docking. The marina is protected by a 1,000 foot wave wall, and offers electric service, restrooms, shower, phone and cable hookup, and wireless Internet. The taxes are manageable at $160 and the asking price seems reasonable at $50,000.
Houlihan Lawrence, Google Map, bing Map

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Hepburn, On a Romp

In the modern-day fairy tale "Roman Holiday," Audrey Hepburn plays a young princess who rebels against her official duties. Wednesday, 7:30 pm. Paramount Center for the Arts

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Discussing the Impact of Peak Oil

The movie "Collapse" sheds light on the theories of journalist Michael Ruppert, who predicted the financial crisis and has an apocalyptic vision for the future. After the screening there will be a panel discussion with John Bell, head of Transition Westchester, Cameron Kelly, who has studied Cuba's response to Peak Oil, and Sally Odland, a member of the advisory board for the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas. Tuesday, 7:30 pm. Jacob Burns Film Center

White Magic

Year Built: 1860
Square Feet: 4,400
Bedrooms: 4
Property: 2 acres
Location: Bedford Corners, close to Bedford Village and to Mt. Kisco
Best features: Renovated from top to bottom, this house exudes "casual elegance." The rooms are gracious, spacious, bright, and brimming with lovely details. I love all of the floor-to-ceiling windows, and the kitchen looks amazing. The property is nicely landscaped, with an attractive pool and an outdoor fireplace.
Downside: The house is pretty close to the road, and if I were spending this much in Bedford I'd want more privacy—and more than a mere 2 acres.
Taxes: $24,778
Asking Price: $3,295,000
Agency: Ginnel Real Estate
Maps: Google Map, bing Map

Monday, January 18, 2010

Holiday Art

When school is out, drop into the museum for a hands-on art project related to the artwork on view. Kids can create their own landscape paintings and more. Monday, 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. Katonah Museum of Art

Landscape Photos

The Westchester Land Trust's annual photo show highlights the glories of our county. Through January 24, at the Lift Trucks Project.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Weekend Picks

Activities and things to do this weekend in Northern Westchester

Karma Get moving to the sounds of Karma, a self-described "five-piece rock, dance, party powerhouse." Friday, 10:00 pm. Lucy's Lounge

Alexis Cole Jazz vocalist Alexis Cole sings tunes from her CDs. Friday, 7:30 pm. Bean Runner Cafe 

Winter Ecology Hike Take a walk around the reservation to explore winter ecology and the methods of survival for our important biodiversity. Saturday, 10:00 a.m. Ward Pound Ridge

Bird House Building Join the park naturalist for a chance to make your own bird houses. Saturday, 1:00 pm. Croton Point Park Nature Center

Winter Soups Come into the farm's kitchen to learn some fantastic recipes for comforting winter soups made with farm fresh ingredients. Saturday, 2:00 pm. Hanover Hilltop Farm 

Tracking Learn to interpret clues left behind by birds, mammals, and insects and make the forest come alive. Saturday, 11:00 a.m. Westmoreland Sanctuary 

Meet the Farmer Four-season grower Jack Algiere Brassicas leads a tour of the farm's vegetable operation. Saturday, 1:00 pm. Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture 

Tristan Clopet The unique alternative/funk sound of Miami-based Tristan Clopet is quickly catching on. Saturday, 9:30 pm. 12 Grapes Music and Wine Bar

Saviors in the Nigtht The Westchester premiere of Saviors in the Night, the film that tells the real life drama of a Jewish family that found refuge among German farmers during WWII. After the screening, Marga Spiegel, the film's 97-year-old subject, Ludi Boeken, the director, and actress Lia Hoensbroech answer questions. Sunday, 10:00 am and 12:30 pm. Jacob Burns Film Center.

Animal Encounters: Turtles Come meet and learn about some of the reservation's turtles. Sunday, 2:00 pm. Teatown Lake Reservation

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Wright Way

Yes, that is actually the house's address—4 Wright Way, Pleasantville. Built in 1948, this was originally the home of David Henken, a student of Frank Lloyd Wright and one of the creators of the Usonia Homes. The 4,000 square foot house is nestled into its 2 acre property, with walls of glass and lots of wood blurring the lines between inside and out. The 5 bedroom home is a great example of Usonian stlye. The taxes are $18,189, and the asking price was reduced just yesterday from  $1,075,000 to $949,000. Houlihan Lawrence, Google Map, bing Map

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

10 Quick Flicks From Sundance

Catch ten of the best short films that were screened at last year's Sundance Film Festival and explore topics as varied as British teens, robots from outer space, child abuse, what's inside self-storage units, and how to make spaghetti. Wednesday, 5:15 and 7:45 pm. Jacob Burns Film Center

Getting Green from Green

GreenYorktown presents "Green Investing: Why You Should and How You Can Save Money and the Planet." A panel of financial experts will be moderated by Marc Sussman, host of Air America's "The Money Message." Wednesday, 7:30 pm. GreenYorktown

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Future of Transportation

Catch a tour of the exhibit Bike Rides, then enjoy lunch and a discussion with the Director of Bicycle Advocacy at Transportation Alternatives about the future of vehicles. Wednesday, 11:00 am. Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum

Red, White, and Blue

Year Built: 1840
Square Feet: 1,450
Bedrooms: 3
Property: 0.96 of an acre
Location: Croton, on lovely Mt. Airy Road.
Best features:  Once the home of John Reed (author of Ten Days That Shook the World), the house became the center of a socialist community and gave Mt Airy the nickname "Red Hill." Beside the colorful history, the sweet colonial is brimming with country charm and nice details. The property looks lovely and there's a separate studio out back. The taxes are reasonable, as is the price.
Downside:  The house is pretty small. The kitchen is probably a tad too vintage for most.
Taxes: $8,989
Asking Price: $489,000
Agency: River Towns Real Estate
Maps: Google Map, bing Map

Monday, January 11, 2010

Exploring Mount Holly Sanctuary

Naturalist Tait Johansson leads an invigorating walk through the Mount Holly Sanctuary, exploring the trees and shrubs and keeping an eye out for winter birds. Tuesday, 9:30 to 11:30 am. Bedford Audobon Society

Praise for Hilltop Hanover Farm

The county-owned Hilltop Hanover Farm in Yorktown Heights has won the American Planning Associations's 2010 National Planning Excellence Award for Innovation in Best Practices for Sustainability. The APA cites the 180 acre farm's range of public programs, its demonstration projects—including green roofs (right), rain barrels, and composting toilets—, and the fact that 70% of the farm's produce (7,000 pounds) is distributed to local food pantries. On their blog, one of the farmers says, "It's lovely to get some recognition, especially from a leading national organization!"

Friday, January 8, 2010

Weekend Picks

Activities and things to do this weekend in Northern Westchester

Levon Helm Legendary singer and drummer of the Band, Levon Helm performs tunes from his most recent CD’s, including the Grammy winning Dirt Farmer. Friday, 8:00 pm. Tarrytown Music Hall

Will Van Sise Guitarist Will Van Sise and his band, The Wolf Pack, will amaze and entertain. Friday,  9:00 pm. 12 Grapes Music and Wine Bar

Wintering Birds Exploration Join a journey in search of eagles, owls, waterfowl and other birds. Meet at the boat launch at the end of the Croton-Harmon Train Station. Saturday, 9:00 am. Croton Point Nature Center

Art Show: Bedford The free-admission, two-day art sale features affordable works in all media to help local charities such as the Bedford Hills Correctional Center, Midnight Run, Mt. Kisco Child Care Center, and Hope’s Door. Saturday and Sunday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Art Show: Bedford

New Year Hike Kick off the year with a hearty hike in the frosty air to look at ice formations along Bailey Brook and seek out signs of winter wildlife. Saturday, 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm. Teatown Lake Reservation

Early American Corn Husk Dolls Craft a homespun action figure out of corn husks. Saturday, 11:00 am. Croton Free Library

Seeing the Bud for the Trees Come join the park naturalist and have fun identifying different trees by their bud shapes. Saturday, 1:00 pm. Croton Point Nature Center

Breakfast with the Birds Enjoy morning refreshments from inside the museum as you watch the birds eat breakfast at the outdoor feeding station. Saturday, 10:00 am. Westmoreland Sanctuary

Recycled Birdfeeder Workshop Come make a variety of bird feeders from recycled materials to hang in your yard. Saturday, 1:00 pm. Ward Pound Ridge Reservation

Two Guitars Brian Conigliaro and Gus Wieland, also known as Two Guitars, play a great acoustic mix of blues, jazz fusion, and original tunes. Saturday, 7:30 pm. Bean Runner Cafe

Jim Gaffigan Comedic triple threat, Jim Gaffigan, is sure to make you guffaw. Saturday, 7:00 and 9:30 pm. Paramount Center for the Arts

Mansion Tour Learn how an elegant Georgian-style mansion influenced decorating and furnishing trends across America. Sunday, 1:00 pm. Merestead

Winter on the Farm Find out how the farmyard animals and birds adjust to the winter habitat. Sunday, 1:00 and 2:00 pm. Muscoot Farm

Attracting Birds in Winter Discover the joys of feeding birds in winter. Sunday, 2:00 pm. Lasdon Park, Arboretum & Veterans Memorial

Licoln and Whitman Noted Lincoln scholar, Philip Kunhardt will discuss how President Lincoln inspired Walt Whitman’s crowning masterpiece “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d.” Sunday, 5:30 pm. Katonah Museaum of Art

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Neat and Sweet

Year Built: 1925
Square Feet: 1,580
Bedrooms: 3
Property: 0.26 of an acre
Location: Katonah, on a pleasant street not far from the village center.
Best features: This lovely colonial has what realtors call "good bones." The rooms are all pleasant, well-proportioned, and full of nice details. All 3 bedrooms look good, and there's a nice yard.
Downside: The house isn't large, there's only one full bathroom, and the kitchen looks like it could use an update.
Taxes: $11,838
Asking Price: $715,000
Agency: Houlihan Lawrence
Maps: Google Map, bing Map

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Southern Comfort

Two gospel giants, The Blind Boys of Alabama and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, share the stage—and spread the joy—in "Down By The Riverside." Thursday, 8:00 pm. Tarrytown Music Hall

Local Food, All Winter

Getting fresh food is harder in the winter, but with a little effort you can still find loads of local delights. One of Westchester's last family-owned farms, Hemlock Hill Farm, in Cortlandt Manor, is open daily and sells fresh chicken, beef, pork, lamb, Italian sausages, smoked bacon, eggs, cheese, yogurt, milk, ice cream, and honey. While many markets close for the season, this Saturday marks the grand opening of Community Markets' indoor farmers markets in Mt Kisco, Briarcliff, and Katonah-Lewisboro. Each market is open from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm, every Saturday. Check the website for each market's location and list of vendors.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Owl Talk

Northern Saw-whet OwlNaturalists Trudy Battaly and Drew Panko share their knowledge of the rarely-seen Northern Saw-whet Owl, the smallest owl in the Northeast and a master at camouflage. Wednesday, 7:30 pm. Bedford Audubon Society

December Sales and Deals

2009 seems to have ended with neither a bang nor a whimper. The number of properties going to contract in the towns this blog covers was up from a year ago, but less than in November. The market appears to still be rather finicky, with some homes moving quickly while others stagnate. Two long-suffering Hot Properties found relief in December. After a year-and-a-half on the market, and a massive price cut, the Croton house went to contract on December 16—just 6 days after I re-featured it in a post titled "Big Loser." The lovely brick Tudor home in Ossining finally sold, 20 months after I featured it and for $189,000 under the initial asking price. On the other hand, the lakeside home in Cortland Manor closed just two months after being listed and for a mere $4,000 under the asking. I wonder what 2010 will bring?

Contracts signed on single-family homes
November: 68 
December: 54
December 2008: 35

Hot Properties That Went to Contract

Location: Ossining
Featured: October 27, 2009
Asking Price When Featured: $629,999
Last Asking Price: $559.000

Location: Croton
Featured: June 26, 2008
Asking Price When Featured: $925,000
Last Asking Price: $549,000

Hot Properties That Closed

Location: Cortlandt Manor
Featured: November 10, 2009
Asking Price When Featured: $1,200,000
Last Asking Price: $1,200,000
Sold for: $1,196,000

Location: Ossining
Featured: February 21, 2008
Asking Price When Featured: $799,000
Last Asking Price: $634,222
Sold for: $610,000

Monday, January 4, 2010

Rocket Science, on the Lawn

"It is rare for a show of outdoor sculpture to be both visually beguiling and intellectually stimulating. But 'Seeing Around' both."

—The New York Times review of the exhibition of the work of Edward Tufte at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, through April 12.