Friday, April 29, 2011

Weekend Picks

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

Chorale Meets Choreography Two of the area’s premier performing arts groups, Antonia Arts and the Taghkanic Chorale, present a unique collaboration of choral music and classic dance. The program features the music of Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copeland, Rodgers and Hammerstein, and Cole Porter. Friday, 8:00 pm. Paramount Center for the Arts

Children's Nature Hike Explore the forest ecosystem and search for signs of animal life and the spring season. Saturday, 10:00 am. Westmoreland Sanctuary 

Amphibians for Kids Families can get a close-up look at many of the local amphibians and take a walk around their native habitat. Learn about amphibian ecology and morphology, and then do a craft project. Saturday, 1:00 pm. Ward Pound Ridge Reservation

Backyard Chickens 101 Learn about raising these wonderful animals in your own backyard and meet some new chicks. Saturday, 10:00 am. Hilltop Hanover Farm and Environmental Center

Celebrate Children's Book Day Enjoy a lively show with songs, puppetry, stories, Latino rhythm instruments and movement. Saturday, 10:30 to 11:30 am. Ossining Public Library

World Tai Chi Day Experience Tai Chi demonstrations, Tibetan singing bowls, the Chinese ribbon dance, exotic weapons, the fan dance, origami, and a display of artwork and artifacts. Saturday, 9:00 am to 3:30 pm. The Hammond Museum and Japanese Stroll Garden

Bread Baking 101 Beginners can learn how to make healthy and delicious homemade bread. Saturday, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Hilltop Hanover Farm and Environmental Center

Edible Mushrooms and Their Poisonous Look-A-Likes What is a mushroom? How many kinds are there? How can we tell which are edible and which are toxic or even deadly? Come find out. Saturday, 1:00 pm. Teatown Lake Reservation 

Celebrate Duke Ellington In honor of Duke Ellington's birthday, The Fred Smith Jazz Ensemble presents an evening of the master's music. Saturday, 7:30 pm. Bean Runner Cafe 

Sheep Shearing Activities will include hands-on fiber projects, group weaving, and fiber washing. Sunday, 1:00 to 4:00 pm. John Jay Homestead

Hike The Hudson Get ready for an energetic hike through our hills, past the Native American middens, over the hill and by the marsh. Learn about migrating birds, fish, and humans. Sunday, 10:00 am. Croton Point Park Nature Center

Matt Turk Enjoy the folk/pop tunes of Matt Turk. Sunday, 1:00 pm. Peekskill Coffee House

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Grace Under Pressure

Year Built: 1930
Square Feet: 2,483
Bedrooms: 4
Property: 1.1 acre
Location: Yorktown Heights, just off—and I mean just off—the Taconic Parkway.
Best features: The exterior is near perfect and the interior has a great blend of old warmth and modern light and space. The renovated kitchen is pretty stunning—even if the cabinets are a bit too much—and all of the bedrooms look big and bright. And those floorboards!
Downside: The house is darn close to the Taconic, and the highway noise is probably a constant.
Taxes: $13,539
Asking Price: $599,000

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Rising Rental Market

"The uncertain economy, combined with a depressed housing market and tight credit standards, has fostered an increase in residential leasing in Westchester and nearby counties — a trend so pronounced that at least one agency, Better Homes and Gardens Rand, recently introduced a rentals-only Web site for its clients. 'In some ways, renters have become the new buyers,' said Joseph Rand."

The New York Times, from "In a Slow Economy, Rentals Zoom," an article on the growing strength of the Westchester rental market. To reflect this trend, I am going to start featuring noteworthy rental listings next week. Can't wait.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Artistic Interplay

In the lecture "Provocation and Respect: Picasso and Matisse" art historian Marcy B. Freedman reveals the competitive spirit that underlies the achievements of these masters. Tuesday, 7:00 pm. Katonah Museum of Art

Monday, April 25, 2011

Early Morning Warblers

Take a walk in the woods to see and hear the bright birds of the spring woods– warblers! Tuesday at 8:00 am at Teatown Lake Reservation

Friday, April 22, 2011

Weekend Picks

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

Chad McLoughlin Trio The versatile and innovative Chad McLoughlin Trio performs original music from their past and forthcoming CDs. Friday, 7:30 pm. Bean Runner Cafe  

Clearwater Generations An Earth Day Celebration to benefit Clearwater featuring Pete Seeger and Tao Seeger, Peter Yarrow and Bethany Yarrow, plus guests Janis Ian, Tom Chapin, Livingston Taylor, Tom Paxton, Jay Ungar,and others. Friday, 8:00 pm. Tarrytown Music Hall

Earth Day Birds and Blooms Join a hike in celebration of Earth Day with the sights and sounds of the forest’s birds and flowers. Saturday, 11:00 am. Westmoreland Sanctuary

Sensory Garden Plant a seed in the museum’s Sensory Garden! Tour the garden and help with the planting. Saturday, 12:00 to 5:00 pm. Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum

Egg-Layers Kids can learn about the different animals that lay eggs and make their own edible nests—complete with eggs—to take home. Saturday, 2:00 pm. Ward Pound Ridge Reservation 

Pond Study and Turtle Monitoring Dip a net into the lake during an exploration of pond life. Check the live traps for turtles as part of the turtle monitoring program. Saturday, 2:30 pm Westmoreland Sanctuary 

Sheep Shearing Day Come watch and ask questions as the farmers shear wool from the flock of Finn-Dorset sheep. Watch spinners at work, learn to comb and card wool, and explore the farm. Saturday, 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture 

Earth Day at the Farm Enjoy farm tours, a trail hike, composting with worms, and more. Saturday, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Hilltop Hanover Farm 

The Song of the Timberdoodle Come listen as the American Woodcock—the "Timberdoodle"—begins its noisy courtship display at sundown. Saturday, 7:00 pm. Ward Pound Ridge Reservation 

Puppet Show Enjoy Fred Greenspan's troupe of puppets as they perform a non-violent Punch and Judy show. Sunday 1:00 and 2:30 p.m.  Muscoot Farm

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sweet, Since the 1700's

Year Built: 1760
Square Feet: 3,000
Bedrooms: 5
Property: 3.3 acres
Location: Mt. Kisco, on a lovely road in the estate section, but just a hop-skip from downtown
Best features: Wide floorboards, exposed beams, and a warm soul make this antique a special home. The property is lovely and boasts a nice patio and a barn. Plus, the house has central air (not a common feature in 1700's).
Downside: There's vinyl siding on the exterior (!). Inside, the kitchen looks rather plain for such a lovely abode. And the taxes are on the higher side.
Taxes: $26,738
Asking Price: $1,250,000

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

To Russia with Raymond

The documentary "Exporting Raymond" follows Phil Rosenthal's ordeals in creating a Russian version of his hit sitcom "Everybody Loves Raymond." From a costume designer who refuses to abide by the show's blue collar look to the various Russian Ray Romanos, the film is a look at the difficulties of translating humor across boarders. After the showing, director Phil Rosenthal will be interviewed by New York Times critic Janet Maslin. Wednesday, 7:00 pm. Jacob Burns Film Center

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Transforming a Hot Property

Of the approximately 300 houses that I've featured on this blog, a few stick around in my imagination. I wonder what the buyers did with it? I wonder what changes I would have made? One house that I have often fantasized about fixing up was the cool but dilapidated 70's modern on Batten Road in Croton. Perched on the hillside with winter views of the Croton Dam and reservoir, the spot was great—and the house had wonderful potential. I first featured it in September, 2007 when it was asking $589,000, then again in February, 2008 (when the asking had dropped to $575,000). The house sold in March, 2008 for $520,000. Over the weekend I did a drive by and was thrilled to see that it has gone through an amazing transformation (which doesn't look quite done). Sporting a new second floor, great clerestory windows, and cool concrete siding, the new place looks worthy of it's location. Kudos to the owners for seeing the possibilities!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Back to the Future

Fritz Lang's 1927 classic dystopian
tale is newly restored and boasts 
25 minutes of lost footage!  
Metropolis tells the story of
a society sharply divided into
two classes—something we
can't imagine today.  
Monday, 8:00 pm.
Paramount Center for the Arts

Friday, April 15, 2011

Weekend Picks

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

Birdwatching Take a morning bird walk through the farm's pastures and hiking trails and learn to identify species. Saturday, 7:30 to 9:30 am. Hilltop Hanover Farm

Easter Candy Hunt Kids can hunt for eggs and then enjoy games such as a three-legged race, peanut roll, and more. Saturday, 1:00 pm. Westmoreland Sanctuary

Brush Painting Artist Frank Liao demonstrates the fine art of brush painting. Saturday, 1:45 pm. Hammond Museum 

Max Raabe and Palast Orchester Embodying the high style and musical glory of the 20's and 30's, Max Raabe and Palast Orchester's repertoire highlights German and American standards. Saturday, 8:00 pm. Paramount Center for the Arts

Spring Bird Walk Get up early and take a walk with a naturalist to view resident and migratory bird species along the trail. Sunday, 8:00 am. Westmoreland Sanctuary

Creating a Butterfly Garden Learn about shrubs, perennials and annuals that you can plant to welcome butterflies—and encourage them to stay.  Sunday, 2:00 pm.  Lasdon Park, Arboretum and Veterans Memorial

Dan Zanes and Friends Former lead singer of the legendary rock and roll band The Del Fuegos, Dan Zanes and his Grammy Award winning band perform exuberant music for kids. Sunday, 3:00 pm. Paramount Center for the Arts

Crossings Composer Pierre Jalbert's new work was inspired by Cajun migration from Canada through New England down to Louisianna over the decades. Sunday, 4:00 pm. Merestead

Sarah Blacker and Suzie Brown Jazzy folk-rock singer/songwriters Sarah Blacker and Suzie Brown perform. Sunday, 4:00 pm. Bean Runner Cafe

Readers' Series Authors Elena Gorokhova and Jennifer Natalya Fink read from their works. Sunday, 4:00 pm. Hudson Valley Writer's Center

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Village Cool

Year Built: 1954
Square Feet: 1,496
Bedrooms: 3
Property: 0.24 of an acre
Location: Croton, on a lovely road on the edge of the village
Best features: Small but funky, this little modern cottage packs a good style punch. Beamed ceilings, big windows, and horizontal interior paneling all harken back to a hipper time. The property backs up on wooded land with a lovely stream, providing nice lookouts from inside and out. The view is country calm, but the location is still a short walk to many amenities.
Downside: Parts of the home look like they could use updating.
Taxes: $10,871
Asking Price: $479,000

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Korean Cinema

Lee Chang-dong's film Poetry tells the tale of Mija (Yun Jung-hee) who enrolls in a poetry class at the local cultural centre and begins a personal quest to find the perfect words to describe her feelings. Wednesday at 8:00 pm at the Paramount Center for the Arts.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Monday Night Folk

Start off the week with Kath Buckell, one of the most refreshing voices in the folk music scene today. The Australian singer/songwriter fuses different styles and cultural approaches to create her own sound. Monday at 7:00 pm at the Bean Runner Cafe

Friday, April 8, 2011

Weekend Picks

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

Amphibian Night Hike Join the naturalists and a local herpetologist in search of breeding amphibians at night. Friday, 6:30 pm and 7:30 pm. Westmoreland Sanctuary

Weeds, Twigs and Bark What it does it take to feather a nest? Try your hand at building a nest of your own, and then join in to make an eagle’s nest outdoors. Saturday, 1:00 pm. Teatown Lake Reservation

Ah, Spring Take a hike around the park 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 

Fermentation and Food Preservation Restore your health and well-being by learning how to prepare fermented foods, a good source of much needed pro-biotics. Make Kimchi, Bombay Apple Rhubarb Chutney, and more. Saturday, 1:00 pm. Hilltop Hanover Farm 

Poetry and Art Enjoy an evening of poetry performance inspired by art exhibited in After the Fall. Participating poets have chosen particular artworks in the exhibition as inspiration for a poem or series of poems. Saturday, 5:00 pm. Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art

Children's Concert Musician Anthony Newman, joined by the Bedford Chamber Ensemble, will perform classics including Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, variations on the tune Twinkle Twinkle Little Star by Mozart, and excerpts from Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat. Saturday, 4:00 pm. The Bedford Chamber Concerts

Latin, Salsa and Brazilian Jazz Enjoy a nigh of Latin sounds with Norberto Goldberg, flute phenom Itai Kriss, Grammy-award winner Daniel Freiberg on piano, and Juancho Herrera on guitar and vocals. Saturday, 9:30 pm. 12 Grapes Music and Wine Bar

The Persuasions Recently inducted to the Doo Wop Hall of Fame, the Persuasions perform some of their hits--including tunes from their  2010 CD, "Knockin on Bob's Door", the music of Bob Dylan. Saturday, 8:00 pm. Paramount Center for the Arts

Organ and Instrumental Concert Music by J. S. Bach, Nicolas Lemmens, Johannes Brahms, Leon Boellmann, William Kraft, Claude Bolling, and Scott Joplin. Sunday, 4:00 pm. St. James Episcopal Church

Author Talk  Join authors Marc and Sara Schiller as they talk about Trespass: A History of Uncommissioned Urban Art, followed by a book signing and wine reception. Sunday,  3:00 pm. Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Hamlet, for Kids

Shakespeare & Company's Education Program presents a performance of Shakespeare's Hamlet. Kids ages 13 and up are welcome. Thursday, 10:00 am, at the Paramount Center for the Arts.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

March Sales and Deals

Was that an early Spring Bounce I felt? The number of homes going to contract in the towns this blog covers jumped quite a bit in March, hitting a level it hasn't seen in a while. On the other hand, March 2010 saw 79 homes going to contract, so 81 isn't that high for the season.  Just two previously featured Hot Properties went to contract, with another two closing. The Ossining mansion had been on and off the market for ever, a case of a great house in a not great location (next to the highway).

Contracts signed on single-family homes

February: 55
March: 81

Hot Properties That Went to Contract

Location: Croton
Featured:  November 11, 2010
Asking Price When Featured: $529,00 
Last Asking Price: $489,900

Location: Ossining
Featured: June 22, 2010
Asking Price When Featured: $479,000
Last Asking Price: $449,500 

Hot Properties That Sold

Location: Peekskill
Featured:  January 13, 2011
Asking Price When Featured: $315,000
Last Asking Price: $315,000 
Sold for: $315,000

Location: Ossining
Featured: November 13, 2009
Asking Price When Featured: $2,185,000
Last Asking Price: $1,395,000
Sold for: $1,350,000

Monday, April 4, 2011

From Google to "Guerrilla Exhibition"

As part of the ongoing Salon Series, the BeanRunner CafĂ© and Peekskill artist Carla Rae Johnson invite you to participate in a "guerrilla exhibition." Bring in images from a Google image search—and see what happens! Monday, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Weekend Picks

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

Frog Music The sounds of spring begin with a chorus of frogs. Explore a vernal pool and watch and listen. Saturday, 10:00 am. Teatown Lake Reservation

Dance a Story The classic children’s book Caps for Sale comes to life with music, props, and engaging activities. Saturday, 11:00 am. Croton Free Library

Herbal Healing Garden Design Learn effective basic garden design techniques for creating your own healing herb garden. Saturday, 2:00 pm. Hanover Hilltop Farm

Dream Catchers A craft workshop for kids in grades 3 to 6. Saturday, 10:30 am. John C. Hart Memorial Library

Spring Bird Walk Take a walk with a naturalist and learn how to identify birds by sight and sound. Saturday, 8:00 am. Westmoreland Sanctuary

April Fools Hike! Celebrate hilarity on a hike around the Reservation. Hear some strange stories and try to figure out which are true. Saturday, 1:00 pm. Ward Pound Ridge Reservation

Meta-Four Saxophonist Eric Person and his dynamic band Meta-Four present a special program, "The music of McCoy Tyner." Saturday, 7:30 pm. Bean Runner Cafe

Kathleen Madigan Chances are you’ve seen Kathleen Madigan on one of her many television specials or guest appearances. If not, it’s time you enjoy her razor sharp stand-up. Saturday, 8:00 pm. Paramount Center for the Arts

Make a Mark! Local artists lead drawing explorations around the museum. Sunday, 1:00 to 4:00 pm. Katonah Museum of Art 

Celebrate Spring! Go on an art treasure hunt, enjoy fairy tales and story telling for all ages, along with egg decorating and stick puppets. Sunday, 2:00 to 4:00 pm. Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art

A Woman's Work Is Never Done Step back in time and experience household chores that were part of every homemaker’s daily routine during the early 1900’s. Sunday, 1:00 to 3:00 pm. Muscoot Farm