Friday, February 27, 2009

Weekend Picks

The best activities and things to do this weekend in Northern Westchester:

Create Your Own Habitat Study the importance of different animal habitats and then build your own habitat. Saturday, 1:00. Croton Point Nature Center

American Indian Sugaring Discover how Native Americans developed the maple sugaring process. A few fireside stories will warm you up before you tap some trees the modern way. Saturday, 1:00. Ward Pound Ridge Reservation

Bluebirds in New York The Saw Mill River Audubon presents a multimedia program about the Eastern bluebird and its current status. Saturday, 2:30. Ossining Public Library

Cold Frame Construction Join Brian the farm carpenter and learn how to build a cold frame so you can start your growing season early. Saturday, 10:00 Hilltop Hanover Farm

Marcia Ball and BeauSoleil Grammy-nominated Marcia Ball and BeauSoleil (above) celebrate Mardi Gras at the Paramount with their infectious Cajun tunes. Saturday, 8:00. Paramount Center for the Arts

Taconic Opera Enjoy a performance of the Faure Requiem and Cherubini Requiem at the historic United Methodist Church in Ossining. Sunday, 3:00. Taconic Opera

Winter Tree ID Learn to identify common trees found in the Hudson Hills and Highlands using their twigs, buds, and bark. Sunday, 10:00. Teatown Lake Reservation

70's Fever Catch a free showing of this documentary which uses rare footage and a period soundtrack to deconstruct the decade. After the film, the writer and filmmaker Andreas Killen answers questions. Sunday, 3:00. Paramount Center for the Arts

Thursday, February 26, 2009

On Top of Mount Airy

With 4.7 acres in one of the highest points of Croton's lovely Mt. Airy section, the best features of this listing are the land, location, and great views. Which is saying a lot, since the house has plenty to offer on it's own. Built in 1925, the 3,500 square foot abode has 5 bedrooms and a number of large public areas. While some of the original detail and character appears to have been lost in previous renovations, the house has nice bones and plenty to work with. At $22,533, the taxes are nothing to sneeze at—but the price strikes me as reasonable considering the whole package. What do you think? $950,000
Coldwell Banker, Google Map, Live Search Map

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

These Are Not Shoes

The show "Barefoot and Illiterate: An Exhibition of Not Shoes and Not Books" is a collaborative work by the Cathouse Associates, which includes Marcy B. Freedman, Dana DeVito, and Carla Rae Johnson. The exhibition runs through March 31, at Rutheny's Brook Street Gallery.
Photo: Croton Council of the Arts

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Little, but Lofty

This studio loft fits a fair amount of character into it's 923 square feet. While the kitchen could use a makeover, the space has definite potential–not to mention soaring ceilings and three massive windows. Located in the Villa at the Woods in Peekskill, the loft is in the wonderful 1926 main building and has use of the complex pool, tennis courts, and other facilities. The taxes are $2,600 and the monthly charge is a quite reasonable $64. All in all, not bad for a cool space close to downtown. $165,000
ReMax Classic Realty, Google Map, Live Search Map

Monday, February 23, 2009

Inventory Up, Prices Down

Sunday's New York Times had a series of articles looking at the real estate market in Westchester and other parts of the region. Not surprisingly, the upshot was that few properties are selling even though asking prices have dropped. (I knew that.) One of the homes profiled was the stunning farmhouse (right) in the Huntersville section of Yorktown which I featured in June and which has had it's price cut from $1,195,000 to $999,000. (The home is now listed on Why is inventory in Westchester up 14.5% from last year even though asking prices have dropped? One of the agents who was interviewed stated that the lack of sales is due to continued overpricing by owners. But the general thrust of the Times articles was summed up in the following excerpt:

Conventional wisdom holds that well-priced, attractive and aggressively marketed homes will sell. Now that is not necessarily true, said Cynthia Lippolis, principal broker with River Towns Real Estate in Croton-on-Hudson. “I have some good listings that are priced very well and attractive, yet they are sitting there,” she said. “The economy is holding everyone back.”

So, the big question is: Will reluctant buyers bite if prices drop a bit more, or has the state of the economy simply scared everyone into waiting? And, if people are waiting, when will they stop? Until then, we'll just have to enjoy the hunt—which is always the best part anyway.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Weekend Picks

The best activities and things to do this weekend in northern Westchester:

Children's Hike We’ll explore the forest and the edge of the pond for early signs of spring. Saturday, 10:00. Westmoreland Sanctuary

Tracking and Tracing Learn how to identify tracks, what they tell us, and where they take us. Kids can make a plaster track and an animal print booklet. Saturday, 1:00. Croton Point Park Nature Center

Sankofa Celebration The spirit of "Sankofa" is about learning from the past. Join us to celebrate the African American spirit with drumming and storytelling. Saturday, 6:00. Ossining Public Library

Sugaring Season Begins Come help tap a tree and learn where real maple syrup comes from as we kick-off the sugaring season. Saturday, 1:00. Ward Pound Ridge Reservation

A Hole in a Tree A hole in a tree is more than what it seems. We’ll take a hike and look at holes made by the carpenter of the woods–the woodpecker! Saturday, 11:00. Teatown Lake Reservation

Kirikou and the Sorceress Michel Ocelot's wondrous fantasy based on a West African legend tells the tale of a rambunctious little boy who must outwit an evil sorceress and her minions. Saturday and Sunday, 12:00. Jacob Burns Film Center

Classical Guitar Recital In the first event of the Emerging Artists Series, Matthew Holmes-Linder (above) presents an eclectic mix of the styles that make up "classical guitar." Sunday, 2:00. Croton Free Library

Stephen Clair Singer-songwriter Stephen Clair performs. Sunday, 1:00. Peekskill Coffee House

Acoustic Showcase Three acoustic performers take the stage: Joseph Melillo, Abby Payne, and Anthony Melillo. Sunday, 6:00. 12 Grapes Music and Wine Bar

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Colonial Charm House

See that photo of the bedroom on the bottom right? I'm not sure why, but it makes my heart skip a beat. Older homes are like that—they can grab you without your even understanding how. One of the upsides of the current real estate market is the surfeit of wonderful older homes in the area for sale at prices that are relatively "reasonable" (or at least not totally out of the realm of comprehension). One of my favorites is this gorgeous 1800 colonial set on 4 acres in Bedford Corners, just outside of Mt. Kisco. The 2,400 square foot home has 3 bedrooms and more than enough original character to charm anyone. There's also a nicely updated kitchen and central AC. Outside, the 4 acre property boasts a heated pool and a 4 stall barn. The taxes are not too surprising at $24,536, and the asking price is less than I would expect, even in the current market. What do you think? $1,395,000
Houlihan Lawrence, Google Map, Live Search Map

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Meditations on Sky

If you're like me and can happily spend time staring at the sky, you'll probably enjoy the paintings of Kevin Kearns. Through March 1 at the Garrison Art Center.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Mail Order and Made to Last

One could argue that the original Sears homes were the equivalent of much of the new construction that was built in the recent boom. But it is hard to imagine any of the latest crop of construction looking nearly as good in 96 years as this Sears house looks now. Built in 1913, the 1,350 square foot abode has 3 bedrooms, a lovely front porch, and plenty of original woodwork. The kitchen and bathrooms have been "updated," as they say. The small, 0.08 of an acre lot is located in Ossining, a short walk to Main Street and the train station. At $6,994, the annual tax bill is relatively reasonable. What do you think of the price? $392,000
Prudential Rand Realty, Google Map, Live Search Map

Monday, February 16, 2009

Enjoy the Day Off

Even though the snow just melted, today's a good day for a walk somewhere gorgeous, such as Ward Pound Ridge Reservation (above).

Friday, February 13, 2009

Weekend Picks

The best activities and things to do this weekend in northern Westchester:

Native American Toys Corn-husk dolls (or warriors) were a staple of Native American childhood. Kids can learn how to make their own creations to add to their toy chests. Saturday, 1:00. Croton Point Park Nature Center

Great Backyard Bird Count Learn the art of watching birds while helping us to get counts of the numbers of birds visiting our feeders. Saturday, 9:30; Sunday, 1:00. Westmoreland Sanctuary

Valentine's Day Dance Come kick up your heels with The Moonshiners and benefit the Peekskill Education Foundation. Saturday, 7:00 to 10:00. Peekskill Coffee House

A Celebration of Hope Celebrate Valentine's Day with jazz great Kirk Whalum. Join us for this unforgettable benefit concert in support of the Stroke of Hope Foundation and its work to support stroke survivors. Saturday, 8:00. Paramount Center for the Arts

Night Hike Bring a special someone for a night hike that is sure to warm the blood and open your eyes to nature at night. Join us for mulled cider afterward in the Nature Center. Saturday, 7:00. Teatown Lake Reservation

Casablanca Start off your romantic evening with one of the greatest love stories of all time. We’ll have Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman’s pure onscreen electricity—and a champagne and cheese reception after the screening. Saturday, 5:00. Jacob Burns film Center

Duchess Di and the Distractions Enjoy the blues and swing of Duchess Di and the Distractions. Saturday, 9:30. 12 Grapes Music and Wine Bar

Story Time at the Farm Kids can enjoy a good yarn as they learn about the animals. Sunday, 1:00. Muscoot Farm

For the Love of Art Catch the opening reception of the exhibition at the Hat Factory. See Wednesday's post for details. Sunday2:00 to 5:00. For the Love of Art

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Pleasantly 50's

I've never featured a home in Pleasantville before, but I'm low on choices and I just love this listing. Built in 1955, the 2,800 square foot, 4 bedroom home represents one of the high-points of suburban architecture. The structure is lovingly nestled into 2.95 acres of rocks and woods and the interiors celebrate the landscape with lots of windows and natural materials. The home has tremendous light, spacious rooms, and great flow. While the kitchen looks a little too 1950's for most tastes, the retro bathrooms are hot again. The house is located within walking distance of the town's "old village," not too far from the train and most stores. The annual taxes are high at $25,718, but this house is pretty neat, as they used to say. $998,000
Prudential Holmes & Kennedy, Google Map, Live Search Map

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

What the World Needs Now is...

And art, too. Fortunately, there will be plenty of both at the new exhibition "For the Love of Art" which open this Sunday in Peekskill. The show marks the 10th anniversary of Yamet Arts, and is a collaboration between the gallery and The Hat Factory, the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, and a number of other players in the Hudson Valley art scene. Occupying over 7,000 square feet of the Hat Factory, the show features works by masters such as Picasso, Rembrandt, and Warhol, as well as those by a large number of contemporary Hudson Valley artists. According to the New York Times, visitors will experience "a confluence of contrasts" at the exhibition, which includes works that "run the gamut from painting, drawing, sculpture and photography to installations, collage and video." Check out the website for details on the participating artists. The opening reception is from 2:00 to 5:00 on Sunday, and the exhibition runs through March 15. For the Love of Art
Image: Yamet Arts

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Location, Land, and Light

This 1964 home probably isn't going to thrill anyone aesthetically, but the land and location might. Set in the gorgeous Teatown area (with an Ossining address and Croton schools), the property boasts 2.5 acres of woods and rocks and is close to the Teatown Lake Reservation. The 2,000 square foot house has 3 bedrooms and lots of windows for light and views of the great outdoors. Check out the realtor's virtual tour for a better sense of the place. This listing has been on the market for awhile, but it strikes me as a pretty good deal. (Looking on the map, the home is actually across from Bethea Drive.) What do you think? $639,000
Prudential Richard Albert, Live Search Map

Monday, February 9, 2009

Eagles on Hudson

If you didn't make it to Saturday's Eaglefest, here's a taste of what you missed, courtesy of flickr.

January Deals

A glass-half-full type might say that the number of listings going to contract in the towns this blog covers in January were as high as December's. Being a half-empty person, I'd say the number was as low as December's. Spin it however you wish—either way, the WPMLS numbers were on the low side for our area. And not a single previously-featured Hot Property was among the chosen ones. I'm still trying to rustle up the sales data.....

Contracts signed on single-family homes:
December: 35
January: 34

Friday, February 6, 2009

Weekend Picks

The best activities and things to do this weekend in northern Westchester:

Hudson River Eaglefest Teatown's 5th annual salute to our valley's noble predator, this year's festival includes birds of prey demonstrations, storytelling by Jonathan Kruk, a play by Arm of the Sea Theater, live music, and lots of games and activities. The festival is held at Croton Point Park. Saturday, 9:00 to 4:00. Teatown Lake Reservation

The Iron Giant In Brad Bird’s first feature film, a giant metal robot falls from space and lands in 1958 small-town Maine. With the voices of Jennifer Aniston, Vin Diesel, and Harry Connick, Jr. Saturday and Sunday, 12:00. Jacob Burns Film Center

Animals in Winter Explore animals' strategies for winter survival through animal tracking, finding clues, and interpreting nature's hidden treasures. Saturday, 10:00 to 12:00. Hilltop Hanover Farm Farm

Open Mic Night Enjoy poetry and music–and share some of your own. Saturday, 7:00. Rutheny's Brook Street Gallery

The Clean House A play by Sarah Ruhl tells the tale of a husband having an affair with an older women, a cleaning lady who doesn't like to clean, and the search for the perfect joke. Saturday, 8:00. The Infinity Repertory Theatre

3 Ton Jack Catch the classic rock of 3 Ton Jack. Saturday, 9:30. 12 Grapes Music and Wine Bar

Old Fashioned Valentine's Day Kids can make heartfelt cards and crafts. Sunday, 1:00 to 3:00. Muscot Farm

Ladysmith Black Mambazo Twenty year's after being featured by Paul Simon, Ladysmith Black Mambazo is still performing their soulful tunes. Sunday, 3:00. Paramount Center for the Arts

Two Children's Plays "The Lorax and Moneybags" is inspired by the Dr. Seuss classic and tells the tale of a villain bewitched by the beauty of the Truffula Trees. "Queen Kunka Bunka and Her Royal Rotten Rascals" is an original musical in rap. Sunday, 1:00. The Children's Theater Company of Peekskill

Bloody Murder The play by M&M Productions offers a comedic take on the classic Agatha Christie murder mystery. Sunday, 2:00. Yorktown Library

Landscape Lighting Design Internationally known landscape lighting designer Janet Lennox Moyer shows how light can reconnect us to our gardens after the sun goes down. Sunday, 4:00. Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum

The Trio Con Brio Classical musicians The Trio Con Brio performs works by Martinu, Taffanel, Kabalevsky and Mendelssohn. Sunday, 2:00. Croton Free Library

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Country Chic

I'm smitten. Something about this listing really gets me. It could be the fact that the picture-perfect 1790 colonial is loaded with original charm and details like wide-board floors and paneling. Or perhaps it's how seamlessly the 2,600 square foot, 4 bedroom home blends rustic charm with modern details like the crisp kitchen and the swanky shower. The tastefully understated decor—while slightly drab—is certainly working for me, too. There's also the fact that the home is set on an astounding 18 acres of rolling farmland and comes with a two bedroom cottage and an artist studio. The location, on one of Katonah's charming back roads not far from the village, is certainly a plus, too. Fortunately, the asking price and tax bill—$35,107—is so far beyond my reach that all I can do is dream. $2,495,000
Ginnel Real Estate, Google Map, Live Search Map