Monday, November 30, 2009

Two Books, A Film, A Murderer

Charles Laughton’s cult hit The Night of the Hunter tells the frightening tale of Harry Powers (played by Robert Mitchum, left), who was hanged for the murders of two widows and three children. After the screening, author Jeffrey Couchman discusses his book The Night of the Hunter: A Biography of a Film, in which he examines the movie and the bestseller on which it was based. Tuesday, 7:30 pm. Jacob Burns Film Center 

Sunday Evening in the Park in Peekskill

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Post-Turkey Trot

The annual Bedford Turkey Trot is a great way to burn off the holiday fat—and tension. Run, walk, dash, or stagger through historic Bedford Village. Saturday, 9:00 am.

Wi-Fi and Coffee

Metromix recently did a round-up of the best free Wi-Fi spots in Westchester, and four of them are in our area. They are the BeanRunner Cafe in Peekskill, the Peekskill Coffee House, the Footnote Cafe in the Ossining Public Library (which is run by the folks from the Wobble Cafe), and The Black Cow in Croton. There are certainly loads of other WiFi spots around—but those are definitely some of the best if you want a coffee with your access.
Images: Metromix

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Home for the Holidays

Year Built: 1880
Square Feet: 2,644
Bedrooms: 5
Property: 0.11 of an acre
Location: Ossining, just west of S. Highland Avenue and close to everything
Best features: If you're looking for Victorian style and original details, this house might just do the trick. There's loads of woodwork, corner fireplaces, and a gorgeous porch. If you also want a renovated kitchen, this house has that, too—although it won't win any points for design (at least not from me). The price was just reduced from $524,222.
Downside: The exterior has vinyl siding. The house is pretty close to S. Highland Avenue (aka Route 9) and might be a bit noisy.
Taxes: $13,736
Asking Price: $494,222
Agency: Mark Seiden Real Estate
Maps: Google Map, bing Map

Monday, November 23, 2009

Famous Folks from the Past

Second and 3rd graders can get to know some amazing inventors, explorers, and adventurers and then do a related craft or science project. Tuesday, 4:15 pm, at the Katonah Village Library.

Waterfowl Watch

According to an informative post on Westmoreland Sanctuary's Nature Notes, from now until the end of December, our area will be visited by Hooded Mergansers (left),  Mallard, Great Blue Heron, Belted Kingfisher, Canada Geese, and Ring-billed Gulls. Keep your eyes peeled!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Weekend Picks

Activities and things to do this weekend in Northern Westchester:

The Creative Process Watch as mixed media artist Amy A. Crawley sculpts heads, armatures, and body structures. The artist will create figures from polymer clay and discuss her creative process. Friday, 5:00 to 9:00 pm. Tappan Z Gallery

Linda Eder Acclaimed vocalist and Broadway star Linda Eder presents her new concert "All of Me," an evening of Broadway classics and vocal standards. Friday, 8:00 pm. Paramount Center for the Arts 

Morning Farm Chores Join the farm staff as they feed, groom, and take care of the animals. Saturday 8:00 to 9:30 am. Muscoot Farm

Sylvan Glen Hike Join a naturalist and Club Fit hike leader on a geologic tour of one of Yorktown’s hidden gems, a 200-acre former rock quarry. Saturday, 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. Teatown Lake Reservation 

Seeing Stories: Animal Adventures Children and a parent can listen to and act out stories about all kinds of furry creatures! There will also be instruments to create sound effects and short animated movies to enrich the experience. Saturday, 10:00 to 11:30 am. Jacob Burns Film Center 

Turkey Time Come learn about wild turkeys and their habits and ecology. Saturday, 10:00 am. Teatown Lake Reservation 

Origami Holiday Ornaments Children will discover how to make a peace crane and other ornaments. Saturday, 1:00 to 3:00 pm. Hammond Museum and Japanese Stroll Garden 

Hands On in the Pasture Kids can lend a hand with a family-friendly farm chore, and help to collect fresh eggs. Saturday, 10:00 am. Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture

Art of Food The 3rd annual innovative and tasty exhibition event. Saturday, 6:00 pm. Rutheny's Brook Street Gallery

An Evening of Coltrane Jazz drummer Bob Meyer and the Youth Quartet will perform works by John Coltrane. Saturday, 7:30 pm. BeanRunner Cafe 

Animals With a Bad Rap Meet a few maligned native species and learn the truth behind the myth. Sunday, 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm. Teatown Lake Reservation 

Jasper String Quartet Inaugurating its residency, the Jasper String Quartet explores three quartets from Eastern Europe. Sunday at 4:00 pm. Caramoor Center for Music

Thursday, November 19, 2009

More Than 2 Years Later…

I recently took a look back at the houses I featured when I first started this blog. While a handful appear to have been taken off of the market, almost all of the first Hot Properties found buyers. This lovely house is the exception. I featured it back in July, 2007 and it has apparently been on the market ever since. Located in Somers (with a Katonah address and Somers schools), the 2,600 square foot former cow barn was built in the 1850's. The house has 4 bedrooms and lovely original features and is set on 9 acres. The taxes aren't bad at $15,493, and the asking price has been reduced from $1,195,000 to $999,000. Houlihan Lawrence
Google Map, bing Map

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Organic and Local

If you're looking for a turkey that is both organic and from nearby, check out Hemlock Hill Farm in Cortlandt Manor. The farm's store—which also sells fresh chickens, beef, pork, lamb, sausages, bacon, eggs, cheese, yogurt, milk, and honey—has turkeys for $4.29/lb.  I drove by the farm last weekend and saw the gobblers out on the pasture, along with the Black Angus cattle. The farm's turkeys can also be purchased through My Personal Farmers.

Art for Alzheimers Sufferers

People with Alzheimer's disease and their families or care partners are invited to this gallery tour. Specially trained docents will guide participants through the interactive program, followed by a social hour. Thursday, 2:00 pm. Neuberger Museum of Art

With a Banjo on his...

Often considered the premier banjo player in the world, Béla Fleck joins forces with the Grammy-winning Flecktones, who've been presenting their unique blend of bluegrass and jazz since 1988. Thursday, 8:00 pm. Paramount Center for the Arts

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Original Tunes

Singer/songwriter Mani Cregan takes the stage with his acoustic guitar to share his own songs such as "Happiness Descends" and "Careful What you Wish For." Wednesday, 8:00 pm. 12 Grapes Music and Wine Bar

Artist Show and Tell

Got art? Bring it to the Katonah Museum of Art to share and discuss with other artisits. Tuesday, 7:30 pm.

Crow Hill Fixer

Year Built: 1864
Square Feet: 3,052
Bedrooms: 4
Property: 7.4 acres
Location: Yorktown, on lovely Crow Hill Road (with a Mt. Kisco address and Yorktown schools)
Best features: The house has charm and details to spare, from the many fireplaces to the original floor boards to the sweet porch. The property is large and lovely, and there's also a separate cottage. The price seems very reasonable. (Zillow, which usually underestimates house values, has the "zestimate" at $1,024,500.)
Downside: The realtor says it needs a "bit of TLC," and that is clear from the photos. The house is very close to the road, which is a pretty busy route into Mt. Kisco. And there's the taxes...
Taxes: $26,017
Asking Price: $619,000
Agency: Houlihan Lawrence
Maps: Google Map, bing Map

Monday, November 16, 2009

Attack of the Young Artists

The exhibition “Megadeck” showcases works by 21 emerging artists from the Peekskill area. The works include sculpture, paintings, photographs, and thematic installations. Each piece has a unique skateboard deck mounted beside it, created specifically for the show, which explores the artist's point of view. Through December 7. Paramount Center for the Arts

Survey Says...

A big thanks to everyone who completed the recent survey. The number of respondents was pleasing, and the responses were quite interesting. Based on the survey, the site's visitors are pretty evenly split between people who live in the area and those who are considering moving here. That's good, since the goal of the site has always been to appeal to both groups. Here are some highlights:

32% visit the site two or three times a week
32% visit the site once a week
18% visit the site daily
18% visit twice a month or now and then

52% live in Northern Westchester
18% live in Manhattan
18% live in Brooklyn
8% live in Queens
4% live elsewhere in the region

53% are currently looking to buy a house
33% are considering Northern Westchester
20% are actively looking in Northern Westchester

66% are interested in learning about houses for sale
61% are interested in learning about parks and places to hike
52% are interested in learning about restaurants
48% are interested in learning about exhibitions and music performances
48% are interested in learning about children's events
48% are interested in learning about the real estate market

73% said that the addition of more posts on weekday events was "good" or "great"
27% didn't care about or notice the addition of more posts on weekday events

An extra special thanks to those who added comments about the site. They were all positive and supportive, and a few were extremely touching. Comments like those should keep me blogging for awhile!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Weekend Picks

Activities and things to do this weekend in Northern Westchester

Beausoleil and Iris DeMent The Grammy-winning Cajun band Beausoleil avec Michael Doucet team up with country singer Iris DeMent. Friday, 8:00 pm. Tarrytown Music Hall 

Poets and Writers on War and Peace The fourth annual Veteran’s Day Reading features selections by award winning poet and human rights activist D. Nurkse and poet Frances Richey. Also included will be readings by selected community poets and writers. Friday, 7:30 pm. Hudson Valley Writer's Center

Dancing at Lughnasa Brian Friel's play Dancing at Lughnasa won the Tony Award for Best Play in 1992. Friday and Saturday, 8:00 pm; Sunday, 2:00 pm. Pound Ridge Theatre Company

Storybook Reading Author/Illustrator Ann Palm Reibel will read her book How Pearl Discovered Henry Hudson’s Shoe. Afterward, children can create miniature versions of Henry Hudson’s boat. Saturday, 10:30 am. Katonah Museum of Art

Fun with Pop-ups Kids in third grade and up can learn how to make clever pop-up creations. Saturday, 2:00 pm.  John C. Hart Memorial Library

Raptors Rule! Children 8 to 12 years old can learn about and get close to birds of prey. Saturday, 1:00 pm. Teatown Lake Reservation

Shelter on the Point Learn techniques of survival in the woods, including a survival activity and shelter building. Saturday, 1:00 pm. Croton Point Park Nature Center

The Wizard of Oz The family classic is back! Saturday, 7:00 pm; Sunday, 2:00 pm. Yorktown Stage

Owl Prowl Join a naturalist from the Connecticut Audubon Society as he presents a talk about owls. Then enjoy a walk through the woods in search of owls. Saturday 7:30 to 9:00 pm. Muscoot Farm

Gregg Allman Rock 'n Roll Hall of Famer, and founding member of the Allman Brothers Band, Gregg Allman performs. Saturday, 8:00 pm. Paramount Center for the Arts

Brahms Sonatas Four sets of renowned performers bring four of Brahms' masterful sonatas to life. Saturday, 8:00 pm. Caramoor Center for the Arts 

Taste of the Paramount Come and taste delicious bites and refreshments from local restaurants, while enjoying live performances by The Mighty Theater Company, The Chamber Players of Croton, The Straight Up Dirties, and more! Sunday, 12:00 to 3:00 pm. Paramount Center for the Arts

Bird Feeder Construction Learn all the basics of bird feeding and make a great bird feeder. Sunday, 2:00 pm. Westmoreland Sanctuary

Bike Design Join cutting-edge bicycle designers as they discuss their approach to new technologies in frame materials such as titanium, carbon fiber, bamboo, and aluminum. Sunday, 5:00 pm. Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum

Cheese Tasting Lisa Schwartz, resident cheese maker and herdswoman of Rainbeau Ridge Farm, celebrates her new book, Over the Rainbeau, with tastings of her award-winning goat cheese. Sunday, 1:00 to 3:00 pm. Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture

An Evening With Walt Novelist Benjamin Cheever will be joined by friends as they read and explore the words of Walt Whitman. Readers include author and Katonah resident Judy Blundell, 2008 National Book Award winner. Sunday, 5:30 pm. Katonah Museum of Art

Thursday, November 12, 2009

War Heroes

The directorial debut from screenwriter Oren Moverman, The Messenger tells the tale of a war hero whose new assignment is to inform parents that their children were killed in action. The movie stars Ben Foster and Woody Harrelson. After the showing, the writer/director will be interviewed by New York Times critic Janet Maslin. Thursday, 7:15 pm. Jacob Burns Film Center

Lofts—for Under 17K

Located in the center of the Artist District, the Peekskill Arts Lofts was built in 2002 as part of the city's efforts to encourage a new wave of artist residents. Those efforts have been pretty successful and the downtown area has experienced a burst of new restaurants, amenities, a museum, and events in the last few years. Now two live/work lofts are available in the 28 unit complex for people who meet the city's Artist Certification Requirement as well as income eligibility rules. Both units are listed with River Towns Real Estate and both are one bedrooms with just over 1,200 square feet and monthly fees of $1,148. One is asking $16,500 and the other $16,800. And, no, I didn't forget an "0."
Google Map, bing Map

Learning on the Farm

The 2009 Farm-Based Education Conference is designed for teachers, farmers, and community organizers. Hosted by the Farm-Based Education Association and Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, the conference runs from Thursday through Saturday. Workshops include "Experiential Education and its Role on the Farm," "Urban Agriculture/Food Systems and Public Schools," and "Fiber Arts for Children and Adults." There will also be field trips to area farm education centers including Green Chimneys, Hilltop Hanover Farm and Muscoot Farm.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The History of “Farmerettes”

Elaine F. Weiss, the author of Fruits of Victory: the Woman’s Land Army of America in the Great War, will discuss the “farmerettes,” a local women's group which became a nationwide movement during World War I. Thursday, 9:30 am. John Jay Homestead
Image: Elaine Weiss

Frederick the Great's Favorite Tunes

The Bedford Chamber Concerts performs works from the court of Frederick the Great, including Bach's flute trio sonatas. Soloists will include Eugenia Zuckerman on the flute and Renee Jolles on the violin. Wednesday, 8:00 pm. St. Mathew's Episcopal Church

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

"Country Noir"

Singer-songwriter Neko Case delivers her own "country noir" songs with her trademark power vocals. Her latest album, Middle Cyclone, debuted at #3 on the Billboard charts. Wednesday, 8:00 pm. Tarrytown Music Hall

On the Lake

Year Built: 1981
Square Feet: 2,879
Bedrooms: 2
Property: 2.7 acres
Location: Cortlandt Manor, on a private lake in a lovely part of the town.
Best features: This one's all about the land and location. Set on one of the Twin Lakes, the post-modern house is designed to make the most of the lakeside location. The recently renovated and expanded house boasts walls of windows which afford lovely views of the water. The rooms are bright and airy, the house has a pleasing mix of country and contemporary. There's a separate studio.
Downside: Most buyers at this price range don't want a big 2 bedroom house. There's no garage.
Taxes: $14,792
Asking Price: $1,200,000
Agency: Houlihan Lawrence
Maps: Google Map, bing Map

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Fresh Look at Pre-Columbian Art

Enrique Chagoya—a painter,  print maker, and art historian at Stanford University—discusses the "Enlightened Savage" in pre-Columbian art. Monday, 4:00 pm. Neuberger Museum of Art

The Times Does Croton

Praising it's "ahh-inspiring views" and waterfront parks, Sunday's New York Times' "Living In" feature took a look at Croton. The article missed a lot about the town and what makes it special, but nonetheless did a good job of creating a simple snapshot. One thing the reporter got right is the fact that the real estate market is in a "slump." The article notes that the median sales price of a single-family home fell to $486,500 in October, down from $529,000 in October 2008. What bothered me about the article was the description of Maria Elena DiBella's winter activities as going to the malls in White Plains or Rockland County. Ms. DiBella is quoted as saying that she would "like to see a little more activity in town.” While Croton is a bit sleepy—and perhaps far too much so for a young single person like Ms. DiBella—there is actually a fair amount going on in it. And there's certianly lots to do in the immediate area all year round without setting foot in a mall. Perhaps if Ms. DiBella read this blog, she'd be a bit happier.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Weekend Picks

Activities and things to do this weekend in Northern Westchester
Geoff Hartwell Singer/songwriter Geoff Hartwell performs original tunes from his second album, "Hate To See You Go." Friday, 9:30 pm. 12 Grapes Music and Wine Bar

Keb` Mo` Band Singer-songwriter and guitarist Keb` Mo`s music draws heavily on country blues, with touches of soul and folksy storytelling. Friday, 8:00 pm. The Tarrytown Music Hall

Choices for Sustainable Living Expo The Expo will feature "green" exhibits, informative workshops, local house tours, and events for all ages. Co-hosted by the Hudson Highlands Land Trust and Teatown Lake Reservation. Saturday, 9:00 am to 2:00 pm. The Garrison

Wormania Discover the secret, underground life of worms. Make a worm bin to take home stocked with red worms for home composting. Saturday, 11:00 am. Teatown Lake Reservation

Sand Candles Collect sand and create candles to take home. Saturday 1:00 pm. Croton Point Park Nature Center

Pinot Noir Exposed Enjoy a tasting of pinot noir from California, Burgundy, Oregon, New Zealand and more. Saturday, From 12:00 to 5:00 pm. Suburban Wines & Spirits 

The Red Balloon Catch the wonderful tale of a boy and a balloon that mysteriously follows him through the streets of Paris. Showing with "White Mane," a magical fable by the same filmmaker. Saturday and Sunday, 12:00 pm. Jacob Burns Fim Center 

Who Are You? Kids can learn the science of fingerprinting and how to can solve a C.S.I. mystery using chocolate and a paintbrush! Saturday, 11:00 a.m. Croton Free Library

Rising Stars Concerts Young artists perform works by Brahms, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Dvorak and Brahms. Both concerts are appropriate for families. Saturday, 8:00 pm; Sunday, 4:00 pm. Caramoor Center for the Arts

In Search of Animals' Signs Hike along the farm roads in search of animal signs and tracks. Sunday, 1:00 to 3:00 pm. Muscoot Farm

The Public Tile Project The opening of the Tile Project, which features over 2,000 tiles created by students from across the Hudson Valley. From 1:00 to 2.30 pm there will by activities including making Dutch ware and Dutch flags, straw weaving, creating kaleidoscopes, and decorative paper cutting. At 2:30 pm you can walk the 1½ mile Tile Path from the museum to the Peekskill Waterfront. Sunday 1:00 to 3:30 pm. Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art 

Caring for the Indoor Garden Learn about the light requirements, watering and fertilizing needs of plants grown indoors. Sunday, 2:00 pm. Lasdon Park, Arboretum & Veterans Memorial

Kicking and Screaming: The Musical! Emmy Award-winning actress Jennifer Jiles performs her 1 woman show about her years at Radio City. Sunday, 3:00 pm. Paramount Center for the Arts

Reading: Parenting Issues Readings by Susan Gregory Thomas, the author of Buy, Buy Baby: How Consumer Culture Manipulates Parents and Harms Young Minds, and Allison Gilbert, author of Always Too Soon: Voices of Support for Those Who Have Lost Both Parents. Sunday, 4:30 pm. Hudson Valley Writers' Center

Poetry Reading The Katonah Poetry Series and the library present Mark Doty, winner of the 2008 National Book Award for Poetry. Sunday, 4:00 pm. Katonah Village Library

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Year Built: 1925
Square Feet: 1,934
Bedrooms: 3
Property: 0.28 of an acre
Location: Croton, in the center of town and close to all.
Best features: The classic colonial has nice rooms and good bones. It has been nicely renovated and boasts a kitchen that should appeal to most buyers. There's even a pool in the very landscaped yard. The price seems quite reasonable.
Downside: Some of the interior design may be too "taste-specific," as they say. In truth, while there's absolutely nothing wrong with it, the house—and setting—just don't do that much for me.
Taxes: $12,354
Asking Price: $599,000
Agency: Julia B. Fee 
Maps: Google Map, bing Map

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Author Talk: The Metropolitan Museum's Money

Michael Gross, author of "Rogues' Gallery: The Secret History of the Moguls and the Money that Made the Metropolitan Museum," reads from and discusses his book and the stories behind one of New York's most storied institutions. Thursday, 7:30 pm. Bedford Free Library

Talking About Hawks

Calling all Ornithologisits. The coordinator of Franklin Mountain, a premier hawk watch located in Oneonta, will discuss the mountain's hawk population and the results of last year's hawk count. Wednesday, 7:00 pm. Westmoreland Sanctuary

Discussing Chinese Antiques

The Homestead's curator discusses the Chinese export art in the museum's collection. The topic will include the history of China's trade with America—and participants will get to view some seldom-seen antiques. Wednesday, 7:00 pm. John Jay Homestead 

Something Suspicious

The Paramount's Hitchock series continues with Rear Window, the classic tale of urban anxiety and the importance of a neighborhood watch. Wednesday, 7:30 pm. Paramount Center for the Arts

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

October Sales and Deals

October was a lot like September, with little change in the number of houses going to contract in the area this blog covers. As for previously-featured Hot Properties, only two found suitors and only two tied the knot.

Contracts signed on single-family homes 

September: 71
October: 74

Hot Properties that went to contract

Location:  Peekskill
Featured:  September 15, 2009
Asking Price When Featured: $299,900
Last Asking Price: $299,900

Location:  Katonah
Featured: July 29, 2009
Asking Price When Featured: $1,199,999
Last Asking Price: $999,999

Hot Properties That Closed

Location: Ossining
Featured: June 23, 2009
Asking Price When Featured: $439,222 
Last Asking Price: $439,222
Sold for: $420,500

Location: Mt. Kisco 
Featured: March 31, 2009
Asking Price When Featured: $639,000
Last Asking Price: $599,000
Sold for: $565,000

Monday, November 2, 2009

Finding Food and Restaurant Posts

According to the recent survey, most of you like posts on local restaurants and food venues (surprise). To make it easier to find those posts already on the blog, I've created a new label. Click on Food Buzz to find all of the past posts on restaurants and food stores. There are already 32 posts—and more to come. Including...

A "Neighborhood Joint"

The Tavern at Croton Landing
41 North Riverside Avenue, Croton

The New York Times calls the Taverns' burgers "tasty," but the reviewer really raves about the wings, which are made with real wings and come with sauces and dips made from scratch. The wings—"spicy and true" Buffalo, Thai, and Jack Daniel’s—are just 35 cents each on Thursdays and Sundays. Metromix calls it a "great place for a freshly ground half pound burger or a slice of signature thin-crust pizza." It was named the Best Tavern of 2008 by Westchester Magazine, which praised the "amazing country artichoke dip, and freshly ground, belly-filling half-pound burgers." Posters on Chowhound call the burgers and pizza "excellent." The Hungry Travels blog says the Tavern has "the musty, pubby feel of a well-patronized neighborhood joint" and is "refreshingly unpretentious." The food is "surprisingly good." The Tavern also has over 100 "fans" on Facebook.
Image: Hungry Travels