Monthly Archives: October 2014

The Haunted Histories of 13 Famous New York City Places | Katonah Real Estate


p01bcbtf.jpg[Ghosts are everywhere.]

New York City’s old townhouses and historic apartments hide plenty of dark, ghostly secrets, but many of the city’s most famous destinations have their own ghastly histories as well. Grand Central, the Empire State Building, Radio City Music Hall, even Central Park, all host their own otherworldly spirits, born from some gruesome part of history. Elise Gainer, the owner of Ghosts, Murders, and Mayhem Walking Tours, catalogued many of these horrific tales in her bookGhosts and Murders of Manhattan, and we mapped 13 of the most well-known sites for a historic, haunted Halloween tour.


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Best Farmers Markets | Bedford Hills Real Estate

Many of our Westchester towns now have weekly farmers’ markets where neighbors meet and delight in superb local produce, artisanal cheeses, fresh flowers, just-caught fish, homemade baked goods, and more from vendors who drive the long distances from their farms while most of us are still in bed. Thanks to them, we get to wake up to the best the season has to offer right in our own backyards. Here’s an idea: Try one thing you’ve never had before every time you go. Not sure how to cook it? Ask the vendor for ideas—and before long, you’ll have a whole new repertoire.

1) In the full spectrum of autumn colors, beautiful ears of Indian corn from J&A Farm at the Pleasantville farmers’ market are ready to decorate front doors or brighten Thanksgiving tables.

2) Visit Alex’s Tomato Farm from Carlisle, New York, at the New Rochelle farmers’ market where Kutik’s honey sits alongside lush vegetables, flowers, fruits, and of course, tomatoes.

3) Mead Orchards of Tivoli, New York, brings pumpkins of all shapes and sizes to the busy Pleasantville market—the wooden crates and stenciled name adds a touch of days gone by.

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Message from North Castle Town Hall | Armonk Real Estate

Dear Residents:

I continue to receive many questions from residents regarding our Town’s upcoming Special Election on THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2014 (not regular Election Day) regarding the Ward System. Please see below for additional answers to your questions in an effort to provide clarity on this election. Some of this information may be repetitive from my last email (click here), but worth repeating.





What is this Special Election for? Residents are asked to vote “yes” or “no” on two propositions, as below:


Proposition 1:

Shall the ward system be established for the election of Councilmen or Councilwomen in the Town of North Castle?

Proposition 2:

Shall the number of Councilmen or Councilwomen of the Town of North Castle be increased from four to six?

Why is the Town Board having this election? I get this question a lot. The answer is simple. This vote was not initiated by the Town Board. By town law, any resident who secures the requisite number of petition signatures can offer these propositions for a town-wide vote. In this case, North White Plains resident Tony Futia secured the requisite number of signatures and submitted to the Town Clerk for processing through the Board of Elections.


What is the main difference in the Ward system from our current system? This is probably the most commonly asked question. Currently we operate in an “at large” system, meaning that all residents have the right to vote for all Councilmen, currently 4. In the Ward system, residents are limited to voting for only 1 of the 4 (or 6) Councilmen. (Please note that in either system, all residents can vote for the Supervisor.)


What do I think? How do other Board members feel about the Ward system? You should contact myself and other Board members directly if you have questions as to our opinions on this system.


Does this Special Election cost the Town money? Good question and it does. I cannot provide an exact cost, but we are tracking all expenditures as they occur. Items like printing, postage, legal costs, and election inspectors are all examples of additional expenditures.



How can I get more details? By now, you should have received a large post card in the mail from the Town (click here). Our apologies if you received multiple copies. To insure that no resident was disenfranchised, we mailed to every registered voter and every household. Please note that the Town Clerk’s telephone number was listed incorrectly on the bottom of the card, the correct number is (914)273-3321.


What if I am not registered to vote?   We are having a special day of registration on Monday, November 3rd. Please refer to the postcard link above for locations on where to register to vote if you are not already registered.



What about our own Town Board election this year – is that part of the Special Election? This is a really good question as there has been some confusion on this. There answer is No. The election for the Councilman seat will be on the regular ballot on Nov. 4th. (This election is necessary because when I became Supervisor, my Councilman term had 2 years left on it. The first year of that span was filled by Jose Berra, but an election is required to fill out the rest of the term, namely the 4th year of that term.)

Thank you for your attention to this very important election. First of all, regardless of your position on this issue, I urge you to vote on Thursday, November 13. We live in a democracy and everyone should exercise their right to vote. (And don’t forget to vote on the regular Election Day, Tuesday November 4th too.) Second, if you have any other questions, please click on this link (click here) which will take you to the Town web page for all information that we have posted regarding this election.

Thank you again,


Michael J. Schiliro

Town Supervisor  

At Least Historic 22 Star’s Replacement Isn’t A White Box | Bedford Real Estate


The proposed replacement for the remains of the Mediterranean Revival yacht club at 22 Star Island Drive have surfaced, with a much larger structure than the current building, designed by DOMO Architecture + Design for Lennar CEO Stuart Miller. Although it could mean the loss of a prized architectural treasure, on the upside the proposed design is at least more subtle (and likely more pleasing), despite its size, than what will be erected at nearby 42 Star Island.


Based on renderings released by The Next Miami, the gently curving forms of the two-story “mansion” (definitely an understatement) offer a more organic translation of typical tropical modern architecture. The choice of materials – glass, polished concrete, and Brazilian “Ipe” wood – create an illusion of transparency through the site while still providing privacy, and a series of outdoor courts and roof gardens help the building blend into a new, more lush landscape. In general, the house reads more “zen retreat” than showy McMansion, but everyone needs a little glitz right? In addition to a nine-space underground parking garage, Miller’s new home will consist of one massive master suite, 4 additional bedrooms, 2 guest cottages, staff quarters, a home theater, and a ridiculously large leisure pool that hugs the curves of the house and eventually turns into a lap pool. How convenient, Mr. Miller is building himself a moat.


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Lovely and Petite Greenwich Village Apartment Asks $865,000 | Pound Ridge Real Estate

9 images

A very small but very well-appointed one-bedroom Greenwich Village apartment is on the market for $865,000. Although the home at 2 East 12 Street is small (is that a twin bed?), it’s been thoughtfully renovated and restored. The apartment first appeared on the market for $995,000 in 2012 and has tried to sell a few times since to no avail. Maybe the new listing pictures—compared with the old—will spur buyers on.


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Down to Earth Farmers Markets | Bedford Corners Real Estate


Wave Hill Breads Debuts Honey & Walnut Croissant
in Larchmont & Croton-on-Hudson;
Order Your Thanksgiving Turkey with Karl Family Farms in Rye;
Try Winter Flounder from American Pride Seafood + MORE

October 30th-November 5th, 2014
Apple Banner Photo
What’s New, In Season, and On Sale This Week
Apple Crisps
Wright’s Farm

Honey & Walnut Croissants
Wave Hill Breads

Kabocha Squash
Alex’s Tomato Farm

Macoun Apples
Alex’s Tomato Farm

Mutsu Apples

Alex’s Tomato Farm

Mead Orchards
Shizuka Apples
Alex’s Tomato Farm

Thanksgiving Turkeys
Place your order this weekend! 
Karl Family Farms

Winter Flounder
American Pride Seafood

Click on a Market to see all vendor and event details…                  




8:30 am-1:00 pm



8:30 am-1:00 pm

Through Dec. 13th


9:30 am-3:00 pm

Through Nov. 23rd


9:00 am-2:00 pm

Through Nov. 23rd


8:30 am-2:00 pm

NOW through Dec. 21st

Spring Valley

8:30 am-3:00 pm

Through Nov. 19th

Tarrytown/Sleepy Hollow

8:30 am-1:00 pm

Through Nov. 22nd

New Rochelle

8:30 am-2:30 pm

Through Nov. 21st

Headed to the city soon?

Visit a Down to Earth
Farmers Market in NYC!


In celebration of the effort to Bring Your Own Bag to the market – BYOBag – Mead Orchards is offering a FREE reusable bag with all purchases of $5 or more. Also, John D. Madura Farms is selling reusable bags for $3 each. These bags are great alternatives to one-time use plastic bags – thank you all for helping us eliminate plastic shopping bags at the market. Over 300 people have signed the pledge at the market to bring their reusable bags back every week. Keep ’em coming.

Fall Back

Just a reminder – this Sunday marks the end of Daylight Savings Time. Clocks turn back by one hour at 2 am on November 2nd. All our Sunday markets will open on the usual schedule – see you there! 

For additional events, visit our Down to Earth Markets Event Calendar.

Stay tuned to all market happenings via our Down to Earth Markets Facebook page
and follow us on Instagram and on Twitter @DowntoEarthMkts.

Corporate Food Companies Spend Over $30 Million to Defeat GMO Labeling Initiatives in Colorado and Oregon – Will They Win? 
OR label law propaganda
This just in … in the Oregon mail

On Tuesday, November 4th, eaters in Colorado and Oregon will vote on whether or not to label Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in foods sold in their states. For the record, these types of organisms are distinct from the age-old art of plant breeding and other agricultural refinements. GMOs occur when scientists manipulate plant DNA and are now found in many common foods.

As told by Vanity Fair in 2008, this kind of manipulation wasn’t legal in the United States until 1980. Before then, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office “had refused to grant patents on seeds, viewing them as life-forms with too many variables to be patented.” This changed, however, in 1980 when the U.S. Supreme Court voted 5 to 4 that patent law could cover “a live human-made microorganism.” 

The following year, a team of Monsanto scientists became the first ever to “genetically modify a plant cell.” Thus, in 1981, genetically modified organisms were invented. Along with the invention came the patent — for the first time in human history, seeds carried a patent. Seeds were no longer solely part of the shared human heritage. 

Fast forward to thirty years later, in Colorado last August, where the group, Colorado Right to Know, submitted 167,950 signatures – far exceeding the 86,105 needed – to bring the GMO label vote to the ballot box. Yet in the months since then, groups opposing the measure, including Monsanto, PepsiCo, Kraft Foods, and others, have raised over $12 million for the campaign against Proposition 105. In contrast, the pro-labeling groups have raised over $600,000. Not surprisingly, the poll numbers reflect the David vs. Goliath scenario in fundraising: As of two weeks ago, 49% of 500 Colorado voters polled said that they oppose the GMO labeling bill. 29% support it and 21% said they are undecided.

The poll numbers in Oregon, however, are much closer. According to Bloomberg Politics, as of early October, “an Oregon Public Broadcasting/Fox 12 poll found that 49 percent of voters supported Measure 92, while 44 percent opposed it. Seven percent were undecided.”

In the weeks since the poll, the chemical giant, Dupont Pioneer, has given over $4 million dollars to oppose Proposition 92. Now as of this week, a new poll came in listing the numbers as 48% opposing GMO labeling and 42% supporting it, with 7% undecided.

All told, corporations that oppose GMO labeling have spent over $30 million to defeat the measures in Oregon and Colorado, and the vote is still days away. It is notable that the Oregon-based chain of food stores, New Seasons, has launched a campaign in support of labeling. Whole Foods has voiced their support for these labeling initiatives, too.

One of the arguments by food corporations against GMO labeling is that it would be too costly, both for them and for consumers. Yet – 1) They change their labels all the time, such as “new and improved” and 2) they already export foods with GMO labels to countries around the world that have GMO label laws. There are 64 countries currently require labels, including the European Union, Russia, China, and Japan. 3) It’s unlikely that GMO labeling will deeply impact consumer prices.

At Down to Earth Markets, as stated on our website, it is our vision “to build a strong regional food system, built by independent farms and food businesses, that provides everyone with an alternative to industrial food.” We don’t know the environmental or health risks of GMO crops at this point. Perhaps they are fine; perhaps they are not. The impact of these crops will be revealed with time.

What we do know now is that we do not want corporations to have exclusive rights to our food. Yes, the GMO labeling debate is about the right to know what is in our food. We also strongly believe that it is about the right to say NO to corporate ownership of our food.

To support GMO labeling efforts in Colorado and Oregon, you can donate to the work of Food Democracy Now! and the Center for Food Safety. To support non-GMO foods in our area, shop at Down to Earth Farmers Markets. All of our farms are independent, small businesses that grow non-GMO crops. Thank you for coming out to buy from them this weekend.

Mortgage Rates at 3.98% | Chappaqua Real Estate

Fred Mac today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing average fixed mortgage rates moving higher across the board this week and rebounding from the lowest rates of the year.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.98 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending October 30, 2014, up from last week when it averaged 3.92 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.10 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.13 percent with an average 0.5 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.08 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.20 percent.
  • 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.43 percent this week with an average 0.4 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.41 percent. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 2.51 percent.

Average commitment rates should be reported along with average fees and points to reflect the total upfront cost of obtaining the mortgage. Visit the following links for theRegional and National Mortgage Rate Details and Definitions. Borrowers may still pay closing costs which are not included in the survey.

Attributed to Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist, Freddie Mac.

“Mortgage rates grew across the board this week, rebounding from the lowest rates of the year. New home sales grew at an annual rate of 467,000 sales in September, the fastest rate observed during the recovery. Meanwhile, the National S&P Case-Shiller House Price Index grew at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 0.4 percent in August.

Tankless Water Heaters | Armonk Homes

Several months after my husband and I and our two kids moved from the US to a space-efficient flat in London, I dragged our contractor into the back of one of our bathrooms to show him a strange, small silver box mounted on the wall and asked if he could remove it. “Not a good idea,” he said. “It’s your water heater.”

Long favored in Japan and Europe where square footage is at a premium, tankless water heaters provide hot water on demand when you need it. According to the EPA, residential electric water heaters are the second highest energy users in American households: “The energy consumed by your refrigerator, dishwasher, clothes washer, and dryer combined use less energy than your current standard water heater.” Tankless water heaters offer big savings in energy use and space. The question is: Can these little units cater to the water heating needs of larger homes? Read our primer to find out if a tankless water heater should be on your house remodeling or tank replacement short list.

Michaelis Boyd Architects Bathroom, Remodelista

Michaelis Boyd Architects Bathroom, Remodelista

Above: A London bathroom by Michaelis Boyd Architects.

With the help of a demure tankless water heater that barely took up any space in our London flat, four of us bathed, showered, washed clothes, and otherwise ran hot water without ever experiencing shortages or wars over water pressure.

What is a tankless water heater and how does is work?

Unlike standard water heaters that keep water hot and ready for use at all times in insulated 20- to 80-gallon tanks, tankless models don’t store hot water, they heat on demand. When a hot water tap is turned on, cold water runs through a pipe into the unit where a flow sensor turns on a gas burner or an electric element to heat the water to the desired temperature. When the hot water tap is closed, the flow sensor turns off the burner.

Tankless Water Heater Diagram, Remodelista

Tankless Water Heater Diagram, Remodelista

Above: The inner workings of a gas-powered tankless water heater. Image via Better Water Heaters.

How are tankless water heaters powered?

Tankless water heaters can be fueled by gas (natural or propane) or electricity. Gas-powered units require venting (just like standard tank heaters). Most gas models also have electronic controls, so an electric outlet is needed. Full electric tankless heaters don’t need venting but have minimum voltage and AMP requirements—consult a professional to be sure your power is adequate.

Steibel Tempra Plus Electric Tankless Water Heater, Remodelista

Steibel Tempra Plus Electric Tankless Water Heater, Remodelista

Above: The Steibel Tempra Plus Whole-House Electric Tankless Water Heater doesn’t require venting, which allows for location flexibility.

Are there different types of tankless water heaters?

Two types of heaters are generally offered: whole house and point of use. Whole-house systems are powerful enough to generate hot water at flow rates to serve a household. Point-of-use units have low flow rates and are designed to supply hot water for a single appliance or location. These compact contraptions are typically installed directly adjacent to wherever they’re needed, such as under a sink; they’re most often used to augment a system when instant or additional hot water is needed.

How much hot water can a tankless heater generate?

Unlike standard water heaters, which draw on reserves, tankless water heaters provide a continuous supply of hot water. Sound too good to be true? Well, sort of. While the stream of hot water is unlimited, tankless models can only heat and deliver water at a certain flow rate. That output, or capacity, is measured in gallons per minute (gpm). So, while a tankless water heater won’t “run out” of hot water like a storage tank can, there may be an issue of not being able to pump out enough hot water for multiple uses at the same time. 

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Haunted Houses in New Orleans | Mt Kisco Homes

8 Haunted Houses in New Orleans That Will Scare Your Pants Off


The Hermann-Grima House in New Orleans’s French Quarter is said to be alive with pleasant, friendly Southern ghosts. They’ve been known to scatter scented rose and lavender around the rooms and light the fireplaces to make it cozy. Built in 1831 for prosperous Creoles, it’s now a museum and one of the most significant residences in New Orleans.

Source: Flickr user wallyg

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Rate on New Home Loans Stays Just Above 4 Percent | North Salem Real Estate

Earlier today, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) reported that mortgage interest rates declined in September.  That was true as well for the subset of mortgages used to purchase newly built homes, but the changes were very small.  On conventional mortgages for new homes, the average contract interest rate edged down by just 2 basis points, to 4.11 percent.

Contr Rate Sep14Meanwhile, the average initial fee on mortgages used to purchase newly built homes dropped from 1.15 to 1.09 percent—the lowest it’s been since August of 2013.

Fees Sep14However, the decline in the average fee was not enough to drive the average effective interest rate (which amortizes the initial fee over the estimated life of the loan) down by more than 2 basis points, to 4.23 percent.  Except for these minor fluctuations, the average terms on conventional new home mortgages have been stable for the past four months.

Eff Rate Sep14Also in September, the average price of a new home purchased with a convention loan, and the average amount of the loan, both increased. The average loan amount went from $314,200 to $319,800, while the average new home purchase price went from $411,800 to $422,300.  Each has been hovering within a relatively narrow band since March.



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