Friday, December 24, 2010

A Peaceful New Year

Here's wishing you a fun and joyful holiday season. I'm taking off for a bit to chill.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Stormy Works

Many of the 7-foot paintings in "Wrecktify," a series of works by Jeffrey Schrier, were pelted by rain and hail as the artist created them outdoors during storms to involve the power of nature in the creative process. At the H-Art Gallery in Peekskill, through January 10.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Colonial Charisma

Year Built: 1872
Square Feet: 2,622
Bedrooms: 4
Property: 0.40 of an acre
Location: Ossining, in the village, on a nice block and close to all.
Best features: This house has what they call great bones. High ceilings, original floors and woodwork, and big windows are just some of its many charms. The renovated kitchen is fabulous, as are the two porches for enjoying the extra-large property.
Downside: The taxes seems quite high for a village location (even if the plot is big).
Taxes: $17,004
Asking Price: $575,000

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Protecting Our Trees

After overcoming a good deal of OOMBY (out-of-my-backyard) opposition, Yorktown just passed a new tree ordinance. The new regs will require people to seek a permit if they are cutting down protected trees, trees of significance, or more than 30% of the trees on their property. Way to go, Yorktown!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Prickly, But Pretty

The Element Clay Studio's
textured vase is covered with
hand-formed spikes. The
porcelain is left natural and
unglazed on the outside, and
treated with a non-toxic,
clear glaze on the inside.
$485.000 at Beehive Co-op
in Mt. Kisco.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Weekend Picks

My picks of the best activities and things to do this weekend in Northern Westchester

White Christmas Are you dreaming of Irving Berlin’s classic holiday film? See it on the big screen. Friday and Saturday, 8:00 pm. Paramount Center for the Arts
Where Do They Go in Winter? Discover how local flora and fauna cope with the cold. Saturday, 1:00 pm. Ward Pound Ridge Reservation

Christmas Bird Count Help take this important census and hike the trail to count wintering birds. Then join fellow birders for dinner. Saturday, 8:00 am to 6:30 pm. Teatown Lake Reservation

Hike the Hudson Take a brisk hike along the majestic Hudson. Saturday, 9:30 am. Croton Point Park

Candlelight Tour Enjoy an 18th century celebration and take a candlelight tour of the manor house and lantern-lit garden, with live music. Saturday, 4:00 to 8:00 pm. Van Cortlandt Manor

Muscoot Main House Take a rare look at the private chambers in the main house. Then enjoy tea and snacks in the parlor. Sunday, 1:00 pm. Muscoot Farm
Story Sunday Enjoy a reading of The Lonely Scarecrow and then a related activity. Sunday, 10:00 am. Teatown Lake Reservation

Elaine Romanelli Singer/songwriter Elaine Romanalli sings her “folk/pop with a Celtic twist." Sunday, 1:00 pm. Peekskill Coffee House

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Best of the Coffee Houses

One of my first posts was a round-up of local coffee houses back in June, 2007. It seems like high time to revisit the topic. Some of the same ones are on the list, but there are a few notable additions, too.

Bean Runner Cafe Located in the Peekskill Art's District, this place has a number of tasty lunch items as well as good brew. There's a big playroom for the kids to go wild. And there's excellent live jazz every Friday and Saturday night. Bean Runner Cafe

Wobble Cafe Serving breakfast and lunch, this Ossining hot spot's menu features items such as crepes, paninis, and green eggs. In addition to coffee, there's a range of tasty beverages from milk shakes to egg cremes. Wobble Cafe

Noka Joe's Located on Katonah's main drag, this funky coffee house has a 50's feel and serves up a variety of brews, along with a selection of baked goods and breakfast fare. Noka Joe's

Peekskill Coffee House Serving as the hub and and heart of the Arts District, this coffee house exudes funky cool (above).  There's a large variety of coffee and pastries, as well as live music Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:00, and Sunday afternoons at 1:00. Peekskill Coffee House

The Black Cow The coffee list at this Croton landmark is something to behold. Exuding a warm and comfy vibe, the coffee house is like a second home to many. Black Cow 

Perks Coffee & Tea Bar Small but cool, this Katonah coffee house is a good place to take a break on Katonah Avenue. 

Yorktown Heights Starbucks The little slate-roofed brick building has such a comfy feel—and such an awesome garden—that you'll actually forget it's a you-know-what. Yorktown Heights Starbuck

Monday, December 13, 2010

An Uptick in the High-End Market

"There were 22 sales over $3 million between January and the end of November in northern Westchester, versus 9 for the corresponding 11 months of 2009, according to Daniel H. Ginnel, the president of Ginnel Real Estate in Bedford Hills. High-end sales have picked up throughout Westchester, but nowhere is it being felt as intensely as in those northern towns, villages and hamlets, where there is a backlog of estates for sale."

The New York Times, "A Moment for Mansions," reporting on the winter surge in activity for high-end properties in Northern Westchester.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Weekend Picks

My picks for activities and things to do this weekend in Northern Westchester

Rashomon Akira Kurosawa's 1950 classic, on the big screen. Friday, 7:30 pm. Tarrytown Music Hall

Nanci Griffith The Grammy Award winning singer/songwriter Nanci Griffith performs, celebrating the release of her new album "the Loving Kind." Opening the show will be husband and wife duo The Kennedys. Friday, 8:00 pm. Paramount Center for the Arts

Breakfast With the Birds Enjoy breakfast while watching the birds at the birdfeeders, then take a hike to see seasonal sparrows, woodpeckers, juncos, and other woodland birds. Saturday, 9:00 am. Westmoreland Sanctuary

A Day in the Life of a Printmaker Join Gary Lichtenstein as he sets up his printmaking studio to demonstrate the collaborative process of silkscreen printing in conjunction with his current exhibition, Gary Lichtenstein: 35 Years of Screenprinting. Saturday, 12:00 to 5:00 pm. Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum

Holiday Sale Peruse works by the region's best clay artists and potters. Saturday, 11:30 am to 6:00 pm.
Peekskill Clay Studios

Pre-Count Birding Help prepare for the Christmas Bird Count by finding the places the birds have settled in for the winter. Saturday, 8:00 am.Teatown Lake Reservation 

Holiday Craft Fair Local artisans sell their handmade bowls, jewelry, toys, clothing, ornaments, books, embroidery, basketry, weaving, and more. There will be a bake sale, craft activities for children, music, and plenty of time to shop. Saturday, 12:00 to 5:00 pm. Hilltop Hanover Farm

Raptor Round-Up Take a stroll around the Wildlife Loop to learn about Teatown’s raptors, and meet some of them close–up. Saturday, 1:00 pm. Teatown Lake Reservation

Watts Up?  Kids in grades 3 to 6 can discover static electricity, its properties, and its role in natural phenomena. Saturday, 2:00 pm. John C. Hart Memorial Library

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

November Sales and Deals

It was another slow month. Fewer homes in the area went to contract, including just two previously featured Hot Properties. And not a single Hot Property actually sold in November.

Contracts signed on single-family homes

October: 62
November: 56 

Hot Properties That Went to Contract

Location: Yorktown Heights
Featured: April 20, 2010
Asking Price When Featured: $650,000
Last Asking Price: $650,000 
Location: Bedford
Featured:  August 19, 2009
Asking Price When Featured: $650,000
Last Asking Price: $425,000

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Scoop of Soup

What's an ice cream shop to do all winter? Serve up soup, of course! Since October Croton's Blue Pig has been pleasing customers with delicious home-made soups.  There are two flavors daily, including such favorites as potato leek, mushroom barley, root vegetable, and Thai butternut squash. 


Monday, December 6, 2010

Maps in Art

In the exhibition Mapping: Memory and Motion in Contemporary Art artists explore the meaning of maps in our digital age. Works include Vernon Fisher's "Water Music" (above), as well as other paintings, works on paper, sculptures, videos, a sound installation, and a live web terminal. Through January 9, 2011. Katonah Museum of Art

Friday, December 3, 2010

Weekend Picks

My picks for what to do this weekend in Northern Westchester

Jonny Hirsch Band Singer/saxophone player Jonny Hirsch fuses elements of rock, funk, jazz, and skat singing. Friday, 7:30 pm. Bean Runner Cafe

Free Arts Weekend Visit museums and enjoy a plethora of arts events—free of charge! All Weekend! Arts Westchester

The Power of Words Children can participate in a flag-making art workshop and experience the power of mixing words and images. Saturday, 1:00 to 4:00 pm. Neuberger Museum of Art

Ready, Set, Sleep Not everyone heads south for the winter. Some animals burrow down into the leaf litter, some even freeze until spring. Discover local wildlife’s ingenious strategies for surviving the winter season. Saturday, 11:00 am. Teatown Lake Reservation

Howliday Fest! Celebrate the holiday season with the wolves! Visit the wolves as well as the critically endangered red wolves and Mexican gray wolves on exhibit. Saturday, 11:00 am. Wolf Conservation Center

Holiday Stories Children can listen to A Child's Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas and other seasonal stories as we sip hot chocolate around the fireplace in the great hall. Saturday, 4:00 pm. The Hammond Museum & Japanese Stroll Garden

Mary Poppins Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, and a spoonful of sugar. Saturday and Sunday, 12:00 pm. Jacob Burns Film Center

Bedford’s 1787 Court House Tour the county’s oldest government building and visit the museum upstairs to learn more about Bedford’s history as well as sneak a peek in the original jail cell. Saturday, 12:00 to 4:00 pm. Bedford Historical Society

Holiday Celebration Enjoy the Ferris wheel, tree and menorah lighting at the Gazebo, and live entertainment at restaurants and coffee houses. Saturday, 12:00 to 8:00 pm. Downtown Peekskill

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The original 1966 animated telling of Dr. Seuss' beloved book features the voice of Boris Karloff. Saturday, 12:00, 1:00, 2:00, 3:00, and 4:00 pm. Paramount Center for the Arts

Hike the Teatown-Kitchawan Trail A Teatown educator will lead this hike, starting at Kitchawan Preserve. Follow along the reservoir and over Bald Mountain, with great views of the reservoir system. Sunday, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. Teatown Lake Reservation

Musical Emigres in LA  A celebration of artistic luminaries who took refuge in Los Angeles from European turmoil and war in the 30s and 40s. Sunday, 3:00 pm. Copland House at Merestead

Art and Narrative through Puppetry Children can create their own puppets from 1:00 to 3:00. Then puppeteer and storyteller Vít Horejs, Director of The Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre, will offer a performance of traditional Czech fairy tales. Sunday, 4:00 pm. Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Teatown Adds 59 Acres and a Lake

Last week the Teatown Lake Reservation finalized the long-planned purchase of the Croft Estate, adding 59 adjacent acres to the reservation's 834 acres. The property, which Tetaown purchased for $3 Million, includes 9 acre Vernay Lake and over 1.5 miles of existing trails. The estate was originally created in the early 1900s by Arthur Vernay, an antiques dealer, and was purchased in 1922 by Gerard Swope, the president of General Electric. His heirs gave most of the estate, including the stable complex, to create the Teatown Lake Reservation, which was founded in 1963. The 72 acres on the east of Spring Valley Road that included the Swope residence and a farmhouse were sold to Phil E. Gilbert, Jr., who lived there until his death in 2008. Mr. Gilbert’s heirs had wanted to ensure the conservation of the property as part of Teatown. (An independent property, which includes the residences, is being sold separately.) The acquisition of the Croft estate connects Teatown with the County-owned Shadow Lake Preserve, a 50-acre tract on the north side of Route 134 which is already managed by Teatown. Teatown said that it would be working with the County and with the Town of Yorktown to ensure that the Croft property is integrated with both the town's and the county's existing trail systems, as well as with the rest of the reservation.