Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Straight From Paris

Over 30 new works by French painter Francoise Collandre (including Dyptique - "Vous qui passez sans me voir," above) are on exhibit at the Gallery du Soleil, through May 11. Image: Gallery du Soleil

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Old Wood Charm

Located on a sweet lane in the Furnace Woods section of Cortlandt Manor, this 1932 home has a nice feel and lots of character. The 2,800 square foot house has 3 bedrooms and 4 baths. Notable features include the stone wall in the kitchen, the stone fireplace, and the fabulous casement windows throughout. The property is small at 0.87 of an acre, but the house comes with membership in the lake association. $725,000
Coldwell Banker, Google Map, Live Search Map

Monday, April 28, 2008

Recent Sales and Deals

Just three previously-featured Hot Properties have gone to contract in the 2 weeks since my last roundup on April 14. Interestingly, they're all modern houses outside of village areas. The one Hot Property that I have recent sales data for is also in a country setting, but it's vintage.

Location: Cortlandt Manor
March 6, 2008
Asking Price: $569,000
Conditional Contract

Location: Croton
Featured: February 28, 2008
Asking Price: $575,000
Status: Conditional Contract

Location: Mt. Kisco
Featured: February 19, 2008
Asking Price: $1,199,000
Status: Conditional Contract

Location: Katonah
December 20, 2007
Asking Price: $1,950,000
Status: Sold for $1,887,500

Sales Down, All Around

Last week was full of bad news for the real estate market. The Westchester-Putnam Multiple Listing Service released its report for the first quarter of the year, which showed a 30.5% drop in the number of sales in Westchester compared to the previous year. That was, the reported noted, "the largest year-over-year decrease compiled by the WPMLS since it commenced record keeping in 1980." Ouch. As for prices, the median sales price in the county was down by a mere 2%. Surprisingly, given the decrease in sales and the growing number of foreclosures, the WPMLS report found that inventory has shrunk--the number of homes on the market in Westchester was 14% below the previous year. Speaking of foreclosures, the New York Times ran an article about their increasing occurrence in such outposts of affluence as Greenwich. In more bad news for the market, the Times reported that the number of new-home sales nationwide dropped 8.5% in March, to the lowest level since 1991. All in all, not a good week for realtors or sellers.
SOURCES: WPMLS First Quarter Residential Real Estate Sales Report, The New York Times: Pain of Foreclosures Spreads to the Affluent, The New York Times: New-Home Sales Fell 8.5%, to Lowest Level Since Early '90s

Friday, April 25, 2008

Weekend Events

Things to do this weekend in Northern Westchester:

Turtle Monitoring Take part in the sanctuary's effort to collect data from the painted and snapping turtles living in Bechtel Lake. Saturday, 3:00. Westmoreland Sanctuary

Doctor Dolittle The musical adventure follows the doctor as he sets out to aid the animals. Presented by Theatreworks USA. Saturday, 11:00 and 2:00. The Ridgefield Playhouse

The New Croton Dam Local historian Carl Oechsner leads a walk into the past. Explore the base of the dam to learn about its construction along with the development of the reservoir system up into Putnam and Dutchess Counties. Saturday, 2:00 to 5:00. Croton Free Library

Sheep to Shawl Celebrate the arrival of spring on the farm with sheep-herding demonstrations and learn 18th century techniques for turning wool into cloth. Saturday and Sunday, 10:00 to 5:00. Philipsburg Manor

Caramoor Virtuosi Music by Boccherini, Sollima, and Tchaikovsky performed by rising stars Ayano Ninomiya, Yosuke Kawasaki, Mark Holloway, Yura Lee, Sophie Shao, and Edward Arron.
Saturday, 8:00. Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts

The 5th Dimension The popular group The 5th Dimension sings some of their classics, including my all-time fave "Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine in." Saturday, 8:00. The Tarrytown Music Hall

Stories and Scavengers Kids ages 2 to 5 can join the naturalist for fun stories and then search for clues in nature. Saturday, 1:00. Croton Point Park Nature Center

Jessye Norman The opera legend Jessye Norman gives a rare recital performance. Saturday, 8:00. Paramount Center for the Arts

The Velveteen Rabbit Margery Williams’ beloved 1922 children’s book is brought to life with enchanting music, colorful costumes, and larger-than-life characters. Sunday, 3:00. The Performing Arts Center

Salamander Sojourn Salamander's are returning to their breeding grounds in the vernal pools. Learn the hazards of life on the go for these amphibians. Sunday, 1:00 to 3:00. Teatown Lake Reservation

Mass in G The Sunday Afternoon Concert Series presents a variety of works by Franz Schubert, including his "Mass in G." Sunday, 3:00. First Presbyterian Church of Yorktown

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Cape Cute

This new listing offers a more affordable opportunity to live in the village of Katonah. The 1930 cape is on the small side with 1,600 square feet, but it is nicely updated and retains plenty of original detail and character. The house has 3 bedrooms and 2 baths. The 0.15 of an acre lot features a lovely deck with stone walls and is an easy walk to the town center and train station as well as the village park. All in all, this seems like a pretty good deal. $619,000

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Eye Candy

The Croton River runs fast. Photo by emptysquare.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Big and Bold

Tucked away in the Mount Airy Trails section of Croton, this massive home has been heavily renovated. With an astounding 7,500 square feet, the 1939 clapboard has a relatively modest 4 bedrooms, but it features two large studios with walls (and ceilings) of glass and a modern kitchen with all of the high-end goodies. The master suite is McMansion-esqe, with His and Her dressing rooms and a spa bath. While the house has lots of bling, it also retains many lovely architectural features and plenty of charm. The 2.85 acre property is nicely wooded and includes a tennis court. Given the home's size and asking price, the $25,692 annual tax bill seems almost reasonable. $2,095,000

Monday, April 21, 2008

70's Art, Soviet Style

Sunday's New York Times had a rave review of a new show at the Neuberger Museum. “Komar and Melamid: Super Objects — Super Comfort for Super People” presents an art project created in 1977 by two Russian conceptual artists, Vitaly Komar and Alexander Melamid. The Times says that the work is "widely admired as a seminal art project by these two pioneers of the Moscow conceptual art movement," and that the show, though small, "couldn’t be more rewarding." The exhibition runs through May 4. Neuberger Museum of Art
SOURCE: The New York Times: Skewering Soviet Dogma and Consumerism, Too
Image: The New York Times

Friday, April 18, 2008

Weekend Events

Earth Day: Nature's Clean-Up Crew Come meet nature's decomposers, scavengers, and recyclers. Then go on a self-guided scavenger hunt, searching for answers to nature's riddles. Saturday, 11:00 to 2:00. Teatown Lake Reservation

LEGO Fun The third annual event features the creations of master builder Arthur Gugick as well as activities, raffles, and prizes. Saturday and Sunday, 10:00 to 4:00. Lyndhurst

Earth Appreciation Celebration Enjoy a hike, games, and crafts in celebration of the natural world. Children will plant trees and are encouraged to bring them home for transplanting. Saturday, 1:00. Trailside Nature Museum Ward, Pound Ridge Reservation

Songs of Spring Hike Curious to know who's making all those sounds in the spring forest? Learn to identify the sources of that lovely music. Saturday, 9:00. Westmoreland Sanctuary

Where in the World is Osama bin Laden? Catch the just-released movie Where in the World is Osama bin Laden? by Morgan Spurlock. Through April 24, multiple daily showings. Jacob Burns Film Center

Taylor 2 The second ensemble of the Paul Taylor Dance Company (above) performs modern dance. Sunday, 8:00. Paramount Center for the Arts

Gardening for Kids Now is the time to start the garden at the farm. Come and get dirty. Sunday, 1:00 to 3:00. Muscoot Farm

Golden Dragon Acrobats The Golden Dragon Acrobats combine acrobatics, traditional dance, spectacular costumes, ancient and contemporary music, and theatrical techniques to present an exciting show for the whole family. Sunday, 1:00 and 4:30. Ridgefield Playhouse

Andy Lamy, Clarinet and Friends Clarinetist and ornithologist Andrew Lamy performs pieces incorporating recordings of African birds. Sunday, 3:00. Tarrytown Music Hall

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A Very, Very Fine House

The interior photos of this listing make me hum "Our House" (Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, for the young folk). Talk about homey! Built in 1875, the 3,100 square foot home has 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, and oodles of charm. Located in Yorktown Heights, just outside of the business district, the 1.45 acre property has some nice landscaping, mature trees, and a detached garage. On the con side, the replacement windows detract somewhat from the exterior and the flat-roofed extension looks a bit odd. But that's just not-picking. $699,500

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Crunchy Art

An exhibition of fiber works by Judith Sparks, including An Unfinished Symphony (above), through April 27th at the Flat Iron Gallery.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Room at the Inn

Located on the southern edge of Mount Kisco (with a Bedford Hills address and Bedford schools), the lovely 1777 house has antique charm and updated comfort. Formerly the Phyfe Inn, the 2,800 square foot home has 5 bedrooms and plenty of interesting features. The 0.85 of an acre property has a nice stone patio and fenced yard. While the house is within walking distance of town and is next to an entrance to Leonard Park, it is also a stone's throw from busy Route 117 and a gas station. A plus is the $8,600 annual tax bill, which is pretty low for this price range. This property has been on the market for awhile, and has recently been relisted at a reduced price. $899,000
Prudential Holmes and Kennedy, Google Earth, Live Search Map

Monday, April 14, 2008

Recent Sales and Deals

Just two previously-featured Hot Properties have gone to contract in the 2 weeks since the last roundup on March 31. It's worth noting that the Peekskill listing was only on the market for 2 months (the adjacent quarter-acre lot is also in contract, presumably purchased by the same buyer) and the Mt. Kisco property was only on for just a little bit longer. Which goes to show that, even in this sluggish market, some houses can still move relatively quickly.

Location: Peekskill
Featured: February 14, 2008
Asking Price: $479,900
Status: Conditional Contract

Location: Mt. Kisco
Featured: January 31, 2008
Asking Price: $900,000
Status: Conditional Contract

Location: Croton
Featured: August 10, 2007
Asking Price: $649,000
Satus: Sold for $615,000

Friday, April 11, 2008

Weekend Events

Amphibians for Kids Get a close-up look at local frogs, toads, and salamanders. Kids can learn about amphibian life cycles and adaptations, how to imitate their songs and calls, and then visit their home with dip nets in hand. Ages 5 and up. Saturday, 1:00. Trailside Nature Museum, Ward Pound Ridge Reservation

Fire, Stone, Wood, and Woodworking Children can learn how to shape wood with fire and stone tools and make a spoon, bowl, or miniature canoe. Registration required. Saturday, 1:00. Croton Point Nature Center

Robert Larson Works on Paper An exhibition of works by Robert Larson, including Stacked Lines (above) Saturday, 12:00 to 4:00. Eyebuzz Fine Art Gallery

Discovering Turtles Discover the secrets of the Sanctuary's resident turtles and then take a short hike to Bechtel Lake to learn about the turtle monitoring program and watch as the staff sets turtle traps. Saturday, 3:00. Westmoreland Sanctuary

The Mingus Big Band Keeping alive the music and spirit of the late Charles Mingus, the Grammy-nominated Mingus Big Band performs. Saturday, 8:00. Performing Arts Center

Open Hearth Cooking Workshop Come and explore the delicious taste of early spring, using a variety of 18th-century recipes and techniques. Reservations required. Sunday, 10:00 to 2:00. Van Cortlandt Manor

Metropolitan Hot Club The "gypsy jazz" group Metropolitan Hot Club performs. Sunday, 1:00. Peekskill Coffee House

The Story of Stuff A screening and discussion of The Story of Stuff, a fact-filled and humorous look at the underside of production and consumption, and The Secret Lives of Cell Phones. Sunday, 3:00. Katonah Village Library

Cara(moor) Italia Two renowed artists, violinist Anne Akiko Meyers and pianist Norman Krieger, interpret duo and solo works with strong connections to Italy. Sunday, 4:00. Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts

Celebrating First Books Join a reading and discussion of Jeff Gordinier’s X Saves the World: How Generation X Got the Shaft but Can Still Keep Everything from Sucking and Steven Kurutz’s Like a Rolling Stone: The Strange Life of a Tribute Band. Sunday, 4:30. The Hudson Valley Writer's Center

Organ Recital Celebrated organist Paul Jacobs performs a collection of music spanning 16th century to contemporary styles. Organized by Historic Hudson Valley. Reservations required. Sunday, 3:00. Union Church of Pocantico Hills

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A Good Angle

This 1961 Croton contemporary has a number of things going for it. One is the location in the Mount Airy Trails section, a lovely area with winding roads, beautiful woods, and sweet houses within walking distance of the village center. Another is the potentially stunning living room, a large multi-sided space with walls of windows, a great beamed ceiling, and a big brick fireplace. And third is the lovely 3.25 acres of woods. On the con side, the 2,200 square foot house only has 2 bedrooms. And then there's the taxes--a hefty $19,092 a year. But the house looks like it could be something special with a little effort. $699,000
Houlihan Lawrence, Google Map, Live Search Map

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Objects in Art

Three new shows at the Katonah Museum explore the role of the still life in art. Here's the Thing: The Single Object Still Life includes paintings, sculptures, drawings, and prints created since the late 19th century that represent everyday objects. Works include Big Kiss by James Del Grosso (above, left). The installation The Object is Art features the photographs and sculptural work of Jenny Lynn, including Tell Tale Totem (above, right). In the Learning Center, My Things, Mis Cosas showcases Rebecca Emberley’s colorful collages of everyday items. All three shows are through June 29, 2008. Katonah Museum of Art

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Front Porch Fixer

There seems to be a number of lovely village homes in Katonah hitting the market recently. The latest entry is a sweet 1895 colonial, which the listing refers to as "waiting to be updated." The 2,300 square foot house has 4 bedrooms, some really nice details, and plenty of potential. The house is located on 0.65 of an acre, on a charming side street within walking distance of the village center. This listing has only been on the market for a few weeks, but the price has already been cut by $55,000. $895,000
Houlihan Lawrence, Google Map, Live Search Map