Friday, May 28, 2010

Holiday Weekend Picks

A few choice picks for the holiday weekend in Northern Westchester

Steve Frieder Quintet These young jazz musicians (right) entertain with a mix of standards and improv. Friday, 7:30 pm. Bean Runner Cafe

Rock Hike Enjoy the maiden voyage along the newly-formed "Six Rock" trail. This is a rigorous hike that will take most of the day. Saturday, 10:00 am. Ward Pound Ridge Reservation

Animals and Acrobats A Memorial Day weekend tradition, this festival brings celebrations from an earlier time to life. Storytellers, acrobats, jugglers, musicians, dancers, and many more will entertain and enthrall. Saturday, Sunday, Monday, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. Van Cortlandt Manor

Shane Kirsch Enjoy the jazz-infused funk of Shane Kirsch and the The Fuzzy Flow. Saturday, 9:30 pm. 12 Grapes Music and Wine Bar

Meet the Baby Animals It's spring and the farm animals are having their babies. Tour the farm and meet the new arrivals. Sunday, 12:00 to 3:00 pm. Muscoot Farm

Lasdon Antiques Fair The 25th annual antiques fair is full of fabulous finds. Monday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.  Lasdon Park Arboretum

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I'll take it!

Year Built: NA
Square Feet: 4,318
Bedrooms: 3
Property: 16 acres
Location: Katonah, east of the village and on the banks of the Cross River Reservoir.
Best features: This mid-century modern confection has grand spaces and great proportions. The natural materials give warmth to the cool lines and the amazing windows offer views of the stunning setting. Perched on a hill over the reservoir, this home has recently been updated and includes modern amenities like central air. If I were a rich man...
Downside: Given the square footage, there are surprisingly few bedrooms. The property has a funny angle and is very narrow at the reservoir end. And the taxes are an awful lot to dole out every year.
Taxes: $55,465
Asking Price: $5,750,000

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Where to Find Local Foods

I recently discovered a new website, Chew on this, which covers healthy eating. It's a cool site and it has a great feature called the Local Food Map. Just put in your location and it promises to tell you where to buy "locally sourced goods." What a great idea! But imagine my surprise when I put in my zip code and the map came up with, well, zip. If there's one thing Northern Westchester has loads of it is locally sourced foods. Fortunately, the website has an email link you can use to send in new locales for the Food Map. So, below is the list that I emailed the site. For more ideas and resources, check out some local locovorian blogs, such as Slow Food Westchester and Katonah Green. (And check back soon for my annual round-up of local farmer's markets.)

Birdsall House Restaurant, Peekskill: The restaurant’s menu features meat and produce from local farms, and the bar has a large list of local brews.

Cabbage Hill Farm Foundation, Mt. Kisco: The foundation is open for tours and sells its organically grown fish, meat, and produce at local markets. It also sells aquaponic lettuce, herbs and greens. The farm supplies the Flying Pig restaurant.

Flying Pig, Mt. Kisco: This restaurant features a farm-to-table menu with meat, poultry, and produce from local farms including Cabbage Hill.

Hemlock Hill Farm, Cortlandt Manor (above): One of the last family-owned farms in Westchester, Hemlock Hill’s store sells its own poultry, meat, produce, and dairy products.

Hilltop Hanover Farm, Yorktown Heights: The award-winning, county-run farm sells its own produce and has a number of classes and workshops on growing your own and sustainable living.

Kitchawan Farm, Yorktown: The small family farm grows organic vegetables, herbs, and flowers, which it sells at its own stand.

Meadows Farm Market, Yorktown Heights: An amazing source for local produce, this wonderful market sells produce from the family’s own farm as well as from other nearby farms.

Mt. Kisco Seafood, Mt. Kisco: In addition to seafood, the market sells locally-grown produce and cheese.

Stuart's Farm, Somers: Pick your own apples right from the tree. They've got pumpkins, too.

Rainbeau Ridge Farm, Bedford: The farm’s goat cheese is scrumptious.

Table Local Market, Bedford Hills: The market specializes in local foods.

Wilkens Farm, Yorktown Heights: Pick your own apples, pumpkins, and fir trees.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Calm, Cool, and Cute

Year Built: 1920 
Square Feet: 1,400 
Bedrooms: 3
Property: 0.114 of an acre
Location: Croton, on a nice side street in the lovely Upper Village, within easy walking distance of both shops and the riverfront parks. 
Best features: This sweet house has been nicely updated and retains it's vintage charm. The big eat-in kitchen looks perfect for family time, as does the comfy family room. The small yard boasts a lovely patio and there's a covered porch in the front, too. 
Downside: The house is relatively small and has just one bathroom. There's vinyl on the exterior, the lot is tiny, and there's no garage. 
Taxes: $7,614 
Asking Price: $429,000

Monday, May 24, 2010

Gay Times

The Jacob Burns Film Center's annual "Out at the Movies" series showcases more than 20 films from the last year with gay and lesbian themes. The films run the gamut from documentaries like "8: The Mormon Proposition" (top, left) and "Edie and Thea: A Very Long Engagement" (top, right), to "Eyes Wide Open" (bottom, left), the tale of forbidden feelings in Jerusalem's orthodox community, and "A Single Man" (bottom, right), Tom's Ford's debut film. The series runs through June 2.
Images: Jacob Burns Film Center

Friday, May 21, 2010

Weekend Events

Activities and things to do this weekend in Northern Westchester

Delbert McClinton
Three time Grammy award winner, Delbert McClinton combines country, blues, soul, and rock. Friday, 8:00 pm. Tarrytown Music Hall

Phineas and the Lonely Leaves A band with a reverence for simplicity, Phineas and the Lonely Leaves has a vibe that hints at a life full of secret struggles. Friday, 7:30 pm. Bean Runner Café

Early Birding Catch sight of returning songbirds during one of their most active periods of the day. Naturalist Ed Kanze leads this excursion to observe the behavior of some colorful songbirds. Saturday 7:30 am. Ward Pound Ridge Reservation

Turtle and Reptile Monitoring Meet some reptiles and learn about life histories, unique characteristics, and feeding habits. Then help to collect data from the painted and snapping turtles living in Bechtel Lake. Saturday, 1:00 pm. Westmoreland Sanctuary

Gourd Making Kids ages 8 and up can join the master gardener to use gourds to create unique bird  houses. Saturday, 1:00 to 3:00 pm. Muscoot Farm

Commute of the Species The leaders of the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade designed the "Commute of the Species" to chronicle the arrival of invasive animal and plant species in the Hudson River Valley. Puppeteers will board the MetroNorth train at various stops and begin to animate their puppets. Over the course of the trip, the train car will be transformed into a dynamic natural history museum as each species appears in order of its historic arrival in the Hudson Valley. The menagerie will then disembark at Katonah at 1:53 pm and lead a public parade through the village. Saturday. Katonah Museum of Art

Paquito D'Rivera
Founding member of the Orquesta Cubana de Musica Moderna and Living Jazz Legend Award recipient in 2007, Paquito D'Rivera performs from his latest record, "Jazz-claZZ." Saturday, 8:00 pm. Paramount Center for the Performing Arts

Canoe the Croton Paddle the East Branch of the Croton River north into the Great Swamp of Patterson. Sunday, 10:00 am. Teatown Lake Reservation

Matt Turk Performing from his new recording American Preservation, Matt Turk showcases his skills as as a stellar re-interpreter of classic tunes. Sunday, 1:00 pm. Peeksill Coffee House

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sleek and Country

Year Built: 1963
Square Feet: 3,894
Bedrooms: 3
Property: 4 acres
Location: Yorktown Heights, in the Huntersville area and across the road from the reservoir.
Best features: Tucked into the woods, this contemporary home was completely rebuilt in the last decade and has a great blend of modern sleekness and natural ruggedness. The spacious rooms are big and bright and the expanse of windows creates a nice in-out flow. The location is great, in a lovely spot on a wonderful road for scenic walks.
Downside: While some of the detailing looks good, some appears to be a bit builder-grade. The contempo styling of the bathrooms and kitchen won't be for everyone. (And might I suggest taking down the antlers? Just saying...)
Taxes: $20,501
Asking Price: $1,490,000
Agency: Century 21 Country Living
Maps: Google Map, bing Map

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Art of the Commute

Everyone who commutes on the Metro North Hudson Line knows that the ride is something special. Chugging along the river is always beautiful—and always a bit different, depending on the weather. (There's nothing like ice floes in the morning!) I'm often inspired to pull out the phone and take a few pics. Unfortunately, my skills never do the scene justice. Fortunately, a professional photographer has taken up the challenge. Cortlandt resident George Kimmerling's blog, Hudson Line Rider, features his mesmerizing images (taken with a Blackberry) of the commute. The artist states that the blog "uses image and text to explore the landscape and social space of the Metro North Hudson line, on which I commute each day." The photos range from beautiful river shots to intriguing photos of the rails. It puts to shame my own attempt to document the commute.  I'm totally hooked and can't wait for more posts!
Images: George Kimmerling: Hudson Line Rider

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Price is Right

Year Built: 1900
Square Feet: 1,434
Bedrooms: 3
Property: 0.16 of an acre
Location: Ossining, in the historic Sparta section of town.
Best features: Packed with vintage sweetness, this house has warmth and charm to spare. The rooms are all bright and pleasant, and there are some nice details. 
Downside: The house isn't big, and some of the rooms are tight. There is no fireplace. And the taxes seem high for the price range.
Taxes: $9,779 (or $8,115 according to the listing agent)
Asking Price: $384,222
Agency: Mark Seiden Real Estate
Maps: Google Map, bing Map

Monday, May 17, 2010

Farm Video

Learn more about Hilltop Hanover Farm and its many programs by watching the very moving video commemorating it's award for Innovation in Best Practices for Sustainability from the American Planning Association.

Ossining Artists

The Ossining Arts Council 
presents it's 2010 Spring
Fling, featuring the works
of area visual artists. 
The show is on display
through June 5th at
The Art Barn.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Weekend Picks

A few choice activities and things to do this weekend in Northern Westchester

For Adults

Ballet Folklorica Mexico With exhilarating dances, live mariachi music, and elaborate costumes, this authentic troupe brings the folklore and customs of Mexico—from the Aztecs up through the days of the Mexican revolution—to life. Friday, 7:00 pm. Paramount Center for the Arts

Poetry Reading Enjoy the works of poets Meg Kearney  and Matthea Harvey. Friday, 7:30 pm. Hudson Valley Writers Center

Portfolio Review Day Artists are invited to come in for one-on-one reviews. Sunday, 12:00 to 6:00 pm. Hudson Valley Ceter for Contemporary Art

For the Family

Puppets Family Day Join puppeteer Peter Linz and his character Theo, from PBS's Between the Lions, as they talk to puppet artists for a behind-the-scenes look at puppetry today. Ralph Lee, internationally celebrated mask maker, and Martin P. Robinson, a 30-year Sesame Street veteran with his Muppet Telly Monster, will discuss aspects of puppetry. There will be ongoing art activities and opportunities for children to design, create, and perform with puppets. Sunday, 12:00 to 4:00 pm. Katonah Museum of Art

Fairy Houses in the Park Learn the old tradition of using natural materials to create these wonderful miniatures. Saturday, 1:00 pm. Croton Point Park Nature Center

Birding at Lost Pond Kids ages 10 and up—and adults—can hike to Lost Pond to spot a number of bird species and enjoy the breathtaking beauty. Sunday 10:00 am. Westmoreland Sanctuary

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Aaron Smith House

Year Built: 1810
Square Feet: 3,200
Bedrooms: 4
Property: 0.5 of an acre
Location: Katonah, on Route 22 close to the village center
Best features: This historic homestead blends classic colonial touches (wide plank floors, fireplaces, exposed beams) with a modern feel and updates (such as a new kitchen and central air). The property is heavily landscaped and very close to town.
Downside: The house is on a busy road, and is within earshot of others. The property is relatively small and is perhaps over-landscaped. Similarly, the interior may be too updated for some.
Taxes: $18,121 

Asking Price: $949,000
Agency: Coldwell Banker
Maps:  Google Maps, bing Maps

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Ethiopian Delights

"With spicy stews that tingle your tongue, tangy bread that tickles your taste buds, and refreshing salads and salsas that liven the plate with a big splash of color, a meal at the new Lalibela restaurant in Mount Kisco is a celebration of the senses."

—Liz Johnson of the Journal News reviewing Lalibela Ethiopian Cuisine, which is now open in Mt. Kisco. Check out the review's video, which includes a handy how-to primer on eating Ethiopian cuisine.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Stone Manor

Year Built: 1900
Square Feet: 3,100
Bedrooms: 4
Property: 12 acres
Location: Cortlandt Manor (with Lakeland schools), in the north-east part of town, near Lake Mohegan.
Best features: I've got a thing for beams and stone, and this place has both! The living room is to-die-for, and the rest of the house ain't too shabby. The house has been updated and has central air. The 12 acre property is lovely, and there's a nice looking barn, too. (The asking price was reduced from $1,050,000 on April 1st.)
Downside: The area isn't one of my favorites and this is an unusually grand home for the neighborhood. (And the realtor really needs to update the listing's photos—snow scenes in May?!?)
Taxes: $23,361
Asking Price: $995,000 
Agency: Rand Realty
Maps: Google Map, bing Map

Monday, May 10, 2010

Watch 'em Dance

The Jacob Burns Film Center's annual "Dance on Camera" festival includes seven films that feature the art of the dance. This year's entries include Dancing Across Borders (top right), the story of a Cambodian dancer's journey to the New York ballet world, Urban Ballet (center right), a tour of ten unique dance companies, and Only When I Dance (bottom right), the tale of two brothers living on the outskirts of Rio. There are multiple showings every day this week and the festival runs through Thursday.
Images: Jacob Burns Film Center

Friday, May 7, 2010

Weekend Picks

Activities and things to do this weekend in Northern Westchester

Comedy Show This comedy show features four of the best comedians around: Russ Meneve, Dan Naturman, Lynne Koplitz and Sandy Marks. Friday, 8:00 pm. Tarrytown Music Hall

Harold Lloyd's "Speedy" The three-man ensemble, Alloy Orchestra, will perform their original score to Harold Lloyd's last silent film. Friday, 8:00 pm. Paramount Center for the Arts

Isidor’s Cheek This puppet show tells the story of Isidor, who is forced out of a grey existence and enters a land of color and beauty. Saturday, 1:30 and 3:30 pm. Katonah Museum of Art 

Bio Hike for Kids Take a small hike around the nature center and explore the woods, meadows, and streams. Then return to the museum for a related craft project. Saturday, 2:00 pm. Ward Pound Ridge Reservation

Wildflowers on the Rock "The Rock", as Croton Point Park is known, provides a wonderful haven for these colorful flora. Join the park's naturalist and venture out to discover a nice treat. Saturday, 10:00 am. Croton Point Park Nature Center

Vinyasa Yoga in the Galleries Work with a certified yoga instructor as you move through the museum's galleries. Saturday, 10:30 am. Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum

The Wizard Of Oz Catch the classic on the big screen. Saturday, 1:00 pm. Tarrytown Music Hall

Bertha Hope An active force in improvised music since the early 60's, Bertha Hope performs live. Saturday, 7:30 pm. Bean Runner Café

Gallery Talk Join artist Steven P. Perkins for a gallery talk and video screening for his exhibition "Journey to a Painting," which explores his creative journey to the creation of the painting "Stroke." Saturday, 1:00 pm. Hammond Museum

Mother's Day at Stone Barns Pitch in with special hands-on activities, and take a tour of mothers and new babies on the farm. Sunday 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture

Cole Kettle Hike Take a long walk to Cole Kettle, one of the sanctuary's furthest natural wonders. Sunday, 1:00 pm. Westmoreland Sanctuary

Thursday, May 6, 2010

This Modern Life

I couldn't find a Hot Property I wanted to feature, but instead I came across a great local blog. Described as "publishing from a 1939 Modern house in Westchester County," the blog modern offers up a great mix of posts on everything from local galleries and homes to distant architectural delights. The blog has been posting regularly since January 2008—how did I miss it all this time?—and is chock full of great tidbits. It totally lives up to it's tagline "Modern Houses. Modern Architects. Modern Design."

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

All About Biking

Spring is here and bikes are everywhere. The stream of cyclists on my road is getting thicker by the weekend. This month's Westchester Magazine has a great round up of information on biking in the county. There's a nice listing of the best bike trails, which of course includes the incomparable North County Trailway. (The magazine seems to have overlooked the great Croton section of the Westchester RiverWalk, which currently runs a bit over three miles). There's also information on area biking clubs (like the Westchester Cycle Club), safety tips, local bike shops, and a list of great online resources. Check it out—and get biking.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

April Sales and Deals

The number of houses going to contract in the towns this blog covers grew a great deal in April, reaching heights we haven't seen in a really long time. Chances are a lot of would-be buyers took the plunge to get the tax credit before it expired at the end of April. There was a lot of activity for Hot Properties too. (Note that I featured the Peekskill house last Tuesday, and it went to contract on Friday.) Full disclosure: Two of the sold homes—the Katonah house and the Yorktown Heights one—closed on March 30 and 31st, but I missed them in the March post. The big question now is, will the market continue to flourish in May?

Contracts signed on single-family homes
March: 79
April: 114

Hot Properties That Went to Contract

Location: Peekskill
Featured: April 27, 2010 
Asking Price When Featured: $229,222
Last Asking Price: $229,222
Location: Ossining 
Featured: April 6, 2010 
Asking Price When Featured: $524,222
Last Asking Price: $524,222

Location: Peekskill
Featured: March 11, 2010 
Asking Price When Featured: $42,153
Last Asking Price: $42,153

Location: Ossining
Featured: February 23, 2010
Asking Price When Featured: $1,100,000
Last Asking Price: $1,100,000

Location: Croton
Featured: February 4, 2010
Asking Price When Featured: 349,000
Last Asking Price: $320,000

Location: Ossining
Featured: January 26, 2010
Asking Price When Featured: $399,750
Last Asking Price: $399,750

Location: Mt. Kisco
Featured: January 8, 2010
Asking Price When Featured: $699,000
Last Asking Price: $699,000

Location: Yorktown
Featured: December 18, 2008
Asking Price When Featured: 925,000
Last Asking Price: $749,000

Location: Montrose
Featured: November 12, 2007
Asking Price When Featured: $568,000
Last Asking Price: $528,000

Hot Properties That Closed

Location: Yorktown
Featured: November 17, 2009
Asking Price When Featured: $619,000
Last Asking Price: $595,000 
Sold for: $550,000

Location: Croton 
Featured: October 8, 2009
Asking Price When Featured: $869,000
Last Asking Price: $699,000
Sold for: $711,000

Location: Katonah
Featured: July 2, 2009
Asking Price When Featured: $799,000
Last Asking Price: $695,000
Sold for: $680,000

Location: Yorktown Heights
Featured: June 19, 2009
Asking Price When Featured: $869,000
Last Asking Price: $819,000
Sold for: $801,000 

Location: Croton
Featured: June 11, 2009
Asking Price When Featured: $1,250,000
Last Asking Price: $1,050,000
Sold for: $903,100

Monday, May 3, 2010

Morning Bird Walk

The early bird gimpses the Spring migration. Take a hike with a naturalist to see and hear returning species. Tuesday, 8:00 am. Teatown Lake Reservation

Art Swap

Artists and art lovers are invited to a "show-and-tell" art event. Bring an object or a digital image or photograph of an artwork. The evening will revolve around discussing the objects and the materials and process used to create them. Monday, 6:00 to 9:00 pm. Bean Runner Café