Friday, April 30, 2010

Weekend Picks

Activities and things to do this weekend in Northern Westchester

Venice Baroque Orchestra The world-renowned Venice Baroque Orchestra performs a special spring concert featuring Antonio Vivaldi's Four Seasons concerto for violin. Friday, 8:00 pm. Paramount Center for the Arts

Collective Language The jazz band “Collective Language”—Gregg Bendian, Jon Irabagon , Zach Brock, and Peter Brendler—play jazz tunes by Rashied Ali. Friday, 7:30 pm. Bean Runner Café

Warbler Watch The naturalist will guide you on a bird hike to excellent hangouts for these lively spring migrants. Bring binoculars. Saturday, 9:00 am. Croton Point Park 

Wolf Birthday Party Celebrate Kaila’s 15th birthday by helping to assemble a “birthday box.” Then meet the ambassador wolves and visit with some of the red wolves. Saturday, 11:00 am. Wolf Conservation Center

Kids’ Movie and Book Talk Enjoy a screening of Coraline and then participate in a discussion of Neil Gaiman’s scary book that inspired it. (Bring a copy of the book and receive a free child’s ticket.) Saturday, 12:00 pm. Jacob Burns film Center 

Story Sunday Kids can listen to a reading of Harriet Ziefert’s book Birdhouses for Rent and then make a related craft and meet some animals. Sunday, 11:00 am. Teatown Lake Reservation

Penny Social Enjoy a penny auction of farm items. Sunday, 1:00 to 3:00 pm. Muscoot Farm

Sustainable Living and Design Summer Rayne Oakes, host of Discovery Network’s "Planet Green" and author of Style, Naturally, speaks about her passionate support for sustainable development, sustainable design, and environmental activism. There will also be a showing of eco-friendly jewelry and home décor designs. Sunday, 3:00 pm. Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Nestled in Nature


Year Built: 1974
Square Feet: 2,318
Bedrooms: 3
Property: 1.1 acres
Location: Croton, on a lovely road in the Mt. Airy section.
Best features: This warm contempo has a great flow and embraces its wooded setting. Mostly updated, the home retains the best of the 70's design but (mostly) doesn't feel dated.The "three-season" sun porch looks great, and the funky garage adds a bit of humor.
Downside: Some rooms, like the kitchen and family room, have not been updated and could sorely use it. The taxes are high.
Taxes: $18,175
Asking Price: $598,850
Agency: Coldwell Banker
Maps: Google Map, bing Map

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Paper Power

The show "Paper" features small works—all on a certain medium—by 18 artists. At Eyebuzz Fine Art, through June 18.
Images: Eyebuzz Fine art

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Pretty (and) Cheap

Year Built: 1883
Square Feet: 1,892
Bedrooms: 4
Property: 0.24 of an acre
Location: Peekskill, on the edge of Mortgage Hill and close to downtown.
Best features: From the big front porch to the bright and attractive living room, this house has a lot going for it. There is plenty of original detail and charm, and the home appears to be in good condition. The kitchen has been updated—although in a dreadfully boring manner. Best of all, the price is right.
Downside: The bedrooms all have carpeting and some appear to have ceiling tiles. There's only one bathroom on the second floor. The taxes seem pretty high.
Taxes: $7,833 (per listing agent); $9,762 (per WPMLS)
Asking Price: $229,222
Agency: Mark Seiden
Maps: Google Map, bing Map

Monday, April 26, 2010

Robert Klein on the Catskills and Comedy

Actor/comedian Robert Klein discusses his role in a work-in-progress film which explores how the Catskills changed stand-up comedy in America. After the screening, Klein will be joined  by Stefan Kanfer, author of A Summer World: The Attempt to Build a Jewish Eden in the Catskills. Tuesday, 7:30 pm. Jacob Burns Film Center

Good Press for Real Estate Market

It's been a while since words like "recovery" and "rebound" have been used to discuss the Westchester real estate market. Both the Journal News and the New York Times have recently published reports stating that the local market is experiencing a spring rebirth. According to the Journal News, there was a 76.6% increase in the number of sales in Westchester and the median sales price increased by 13% in the first quarter compared to the same time a year earlier. Both papers agree that the increase in sales is due largely to the decrease in prices, which are still down about 20% below peak. The Journal News quotes the chief operating officer for Houlihan Lawrence as saying that the strongest recovery is in the southern parts of Westchester, while the Times highlights increases in northern Westchester: "In the northern part of the county (including North Salem, Katonah, Lewisboro, Bedford, Somers, Chappaqua, Pound Ridge, Armonk, and parts of Briarcliff, Pleasantville and Yorktown) sales of single-family houses almost doubled..."

Friday, April 23, 2010

Weekend Picks

Activities and things to do this weekend in Northern Westchester

Earth Day Birds and Blooms Celebrate Earth Day with a hike to look for early flowers and feathered friends in the spring forest. Saturday, 10:00 am. Westmoreland Sanctuary  

Sheep Shearing Day See the farmers shear wool, watch spinners at work, learn to comb and card wool, try your hand at using a drop spindle or a mini-loom, and enjoy felting and knitting activities. Saturday, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture

Spring Ephemerals Walk Take a hike into Hidden Valley to catch the first spring ephemerals blooming on the forest floor. Learn about the ecology and impacts affecting these harbingers of spring. Saturday, 1:00 pm. Teatown Lake Reservation

The Guthrie Legacy Concert  Celebrating Woody Guthrie, The Klezmatics, will be joined by the The Work of the Weavers, and others. This concert will raise funds for the Guthrie Archives and the Sloop Woody Guthrie. Saturday, 8:00 pm. Tarrytown Music Hall

Grand Day Kids ages 3 and up and their grandparents can enjoy some musical fun with Tom Gardner followed by make-your-own-sundaes. Sunday, 2:00 pm. John C. Hart Memorial Library

Sheep Shearing Come to watch the sheep get their annual fiber haircuts—and enjoy a felting demonstration, craft projects, working with real sheep fiber, self-guided tours of the farm, and live music and delicious food! Sunday, 1:00 to 4:00 pm. Rainbeau Ridge

Creative Conversation: Processing Vision Exhibiting artist Jo Yarrington leads a discussion of the perception of experiences with Edward Vessel, a research scientist from the Center for Brain Imaging at New York University, physicist Nancy Haegel, who decodes information being transmitted from the Hubble Space Telescope, and others. Sunday, 2:00 pm. Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum

Pond Study Dip your net into Bechtel Lake to look for tadpoles, sunfish, and dragon fly larvae. Then watch the naturalist check out the turtle traps to see what's been caught. Sunday, 2:00 pm. Westmoreland Sanctuary

The Peekskill Playhouse Enjoy dramatic readings of original plays. Sunday, 4:30 to 6:00 pm. Bean Runner Cafe

Authors' Reading Readings by Mervyn Taylor, Amy Holman, and Ann Lauinger. Sunday, 4:30 pm. Hudson Valley Writers Center

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Modern Master's Early Work

Year Built: 1946
Square Feet: 3,120
Bedrooms: 3
Property: 1.9 acres
Location: Bedford, a bit east of the village green.
Best Features: First off, there's bragging rights of owning an early Philip Johnson—this is the famed architect's first commissioned house. Then there's the mid-century design, which features signature floor-to-ceiling windows and great open spaces. The home is well-maintained and has contemporary luxuries like central air. There's even a separate studio/guesthouse. Last, but not least, are the very reasonable taxes. (Be sure to check out the website the realtor has set up.)
Downside: According to the floorplan, one of the bedrooms can only be reached through another bedroom. The third bedroom is what most would consider the family room in the basement (with limited light).
Taxes: $10,191
Asking Price: $2,000,000
Agency: William Raveis
Maps: Google Map, bing Map

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Theater, Live...from London

Come see what's on stage at the National Theatre in London. Alan Bennett's new smash hit "The Habit of Art," will be broadcast live via satellite in high definition. Thursday, 2:00 pm. Jacob Burns Film Center

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Lodge Around

Year Built: 1940
Square Feet: 2,800
Bedrooms: 4
Property: 2.2 acres
Location: Yorktown Heights, off of Hanover street and close to both town and Mt. Kisco.
Best features: The woodsy house sits nicely on its woodsy property. While the home has a definite lodge thing going, there are also off-beat features—like the greenhouse window—that keep it interesting. The kitchen looks like it has been nicely updated.
Downside: Some rooms look like they might need sprucing up.
Taxes: $13,848
Asking Price: $650,000
Agency: Kincart Associates
Maps: Google Map, bing Map

Monday, April 19, 2010

A Low Carbon Diet

The Journal News has a nice photo essay of the Croton-on-Hudson home of Chandu Visweswariah, which uses state of the art technology—including solar panels and a geothermal system that provides power for heating, air conditioning, and hot water—to be very carbon-friendly.
Images: The Journal News

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Gingerbread Sweetness

Year Built: 1910
Square Feet: 1,270
Bedrooms: 2
Property: 0.2 of an acre
Location: Ossining, in the CampWoods Grounds historic district.
Best features: Blending Victorian charm with some modern touches (such as the bathroom), this campground confection has lots of appeal.
Downside: It ain't big. The kitchen is updated, but very standard-issue.
Taxes: $3,163
Asking Price:  $299,900
Agency: Rand Realty
Maps: Google Map, bing Map

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Local Underground Railroad

Explore the history of the area's Underground Railroad with Graham Russell Gao Hodges, Professor of History and Africana at Colgate University and the author of David Ruggles: A Radical Black Abolitionist and the Underground Railroad in New York City. Thursday, 6:30 pm. John Jay Homestead

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Colonial Faux-House

Year Built: 2005
Square Feet: 4,900
Bedrooms: 6
Property: 4.4 acres
Location: Katonah, in the "estate section" between the village and Bedford.
Best Features: This the very first new construction, faux old house I have ever featured! The fact is, this one is pretty well done. The exterior is almost believable and most of the interior manages to have a farmhouse feel while still being new, sleek, and spacious.
Downside: You'll have to add a second floor in the entry hall, since people with double-height entry halls go straight to hell. Other than that, the big downsides are that the house backs up on busy Route 22, and the taxes...
Taxes: $55,228
Asking Price: $1,975,000
Agency: Ginnel Real Estate
Maps: Google Map, bing Map

Monday, April 12, 2010

Deconstructing Sculpture

In the lecture "Fire and Earth: The Art of Building," art historian Marcy B. Freedman discusses the  processes used in casting sculptures. Her examination of modern sculpture includes the welded steel works of David Smith and Richard Serra, as well as the ceramic work of Viola Frey, Peter Voulkos, and Robert Arneson. Tuesday, 7:00 pm. Katonah Museum of Art

Spring is in the Air

Nesting along the Croton reservoir.
Image by The Arch1

Friday, April 9, 2010

We Apologize for This Interruption

Due to a combo of sickness and work-overload, I've been unable to maintain my usual post-a-day schedule. In fact, there have been no posts for days! I hope to get back on track soon. Please keep checking in....

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Year Built: 1928
Square Feet: 2,520
Bedrooms: 5
Property: 0.43 an acre
Location: Ossining, on the eastern edge of the village
Best features: The home looks to have a nice blend of classic Tudor detailing and contemporary, open spaces. The mud room is great. (Kudos to the agent for the floorplan walk-through, which really lets you get a sense of the house.)
Downside: Judging from the photos, some of the renovation work appears a bit uninspired and the upstairs bathrooms are crying out for an update.  The street may be too suburban (although classic and vintage) for some.
Taxes: $14,747
Asking Price: $524,222 
Agency: Mark Seiden Real Estate
Maps: Google Map, bing Map

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Greenest Towns Around

6 Westchester towns received Green Star Awards from Grassroots Environmental Education, a non-profit organization in partnership with the Pace University Academy for Applied Environmental Studies: Bronxville, Chappaqua, Katonah, Larchmont, White Plains, and Yorktown.

Art Flick

First Mondays Salon present's Andy Goldsworthy's stunning video,"Rivers and Tides." Enjoy an evening of visual beauty followed by a lively discussion. Monday, 6:00 to 8:00 pm. Bean Runner Cafe

Friday, April 2, 2010

Weekend Picks

A few things to do this weekend in Northern Westchester—sorry for the short list, but I'm out of commision and this is all I had pulled together

Bob Meyer The Youth Quartet and jazz drummer Bob Meyer perform an evening of John Coltrane. Friday, 7:30 pm. Bean Runner Cafe

Breakfast with the Birds Spring migration has already begun! This is a great time to say “goodbye” to lingering winter species and “hello” to our summer birds. Saturday, 9:00 am. Westmoreland Sanctuary

Ah, Spring Poetry Take a hike to look for signs of spring as we stop at some of the beautiful areas of the park to hear readings of works from many famous poets and authors. Saturday, 10:00 am. Ward Pound Ridge Reservation

Calligraphy Workshop Learn the art of calligraphy, an ancient writing technique. Let nature be your guide through this imaginative style of creativity. Saturday, 1:00 pm. Croton Point Park Nature Center

Growing Mushrooms Four-season grower Jack Algiere will lead the group through the basics of growing mushrooms, and participants will help inoculate logs with Shitake and Oyster mushroom spawn. Saturday, 1:00 pm. Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture

Puppet Show Fred Greenspan's troupe of puppets perform a non-violent Punch and Judy show. Sunday, 1:00 and 2:30 pm. Muscoot Farm

Thursday, April 1, 2010

March Sales and Deals

Thanks goodness I'm not a realtor! Even when properties are moving quickly my picks don't seem to find any love. The number of houses going to contract in the towns this blog covers bounced quite a bit in March from the previous month, but only two previously featured Hot Properties found suitors. The Bedford Corners house was originally featured a year ago. I re-featured it on March 25th and it went into contract the next day. Interestingly, the other Hot Prop to go to contract was also a Wright-inspired home. And, for the second month in a row, not a single Hot Property got all the way to closure.

Contracts signed on single-family homes
February:  63
March: 79

Hot Properties That Went to Contract

Location: Bedford Corners
Featured: March 26, 2009; March 25, 2010
Asking Price When Featured: $1,395,000; $1,275,000
Last Asking Price: $1,275,000

Location:  Pleasantville
Featured: January 14, 2010
Asking Price When Featured: $949,000
Last Asking Price: $949,000