Halstead Property

Welcome to the official Halstead Tumblr Blog, where our local agents are your local experts. Halstead Property is the largest privately owned real estate firm in the New York Metropolitan Area and we strive to innovate and modernize your real estate experience. Through this blog, we aim to act as your neighborhood and real estate ambassador. We have daily contributors whose primary goal is to investigate and produce daily commentary and rich content that will give you a taste of the areas we service and you live in. If you have any feedback we invite you to contact us at social@halstead.com.

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YOUR EYE CANDY OF THE DAY: Old World Charm

From the stone façade to multiple paned windows and mahogany front door, this 1932 old world style home has undeniable character. Its location on over an entire acre of land above the Goodwives River in Darien, CT allows for lush, and beautiful vegetation and landscaping in addition to plenty of privacy. The home boasts 5 bedrooms and a master suite with an incredible stone fireplace that mirrors the equally as impressive fireplace in the lower level family room, and we can picture ourselves spending many lazy afternoons relaxing on the wraparound patio and deck.

Click here to learn more about this inviting Connecticut property.

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TEN HIDDEN SECRETS OF DARIEN

with David K. Hawes and Holly Saunders Hawes, Licensed in Connecticut in our Darien office and partners in the Hawes Team at Halstead Property Connecticut, LLC

As life-long Darien residents we fully embody the “live, work, play” motto. We each left Darien during our college years then returned, met, married and raised two sons. We started our careers in Fairfield County real estate in 1988 with Darien as our homebase. In our downtime we love boating and fishing on the Long Island Sound—a favorite community pastime. We scoped out some of the best spots in town to enjoy the idyllic waterfront as well as other family-friendly destinations and eateries.

Here are our top 10 best kept secrets of Darien:

1. The Darien Boat Club (135 Pear Tree Point Rd) is a hidden gem for Darien residents to enjoy the nautical lifestyle with the ability to have a boat slip, mooring or kayak rack. Members gain access to a private launch service. There are waterside picnic tables and outdoor grills allowing member to spend the entire day on the club’s grounds and on the water.

2.  Beach bums should spend a day on the sands (and more) at Weed Beach(155 Waterlane Rd). There is a new pavilion with a fantastic concession stand and shaded picnic areas. Plus, an amazing playground with water features, six tennis courts and five paddle tennis courts. The best kept secret of all: there are movie screenings for all ages every Friday night in the summer.

3. Palmer’s Market (264 Heights Rd) has an exceptional in-house butcher and bakery. Plus, the family-run market is our go-to for party planning—they carry everything from candles to party favors.

 4. For the best workout break a sweat at CST50 (9 Old Kings Highway North). Classes are 50 minutes, and focus on safely strengthening the core while getting in much-needed cardio. Visit CST 50’s (short for Cardio Strength Transform) website for a class schedule.

5. We enjoy the relaxed atmosphere, outdoor dining and no-frills menu at Jimmy’s Southside Tavern. The restaurant is located right across the street from the Noroton Heights Train Station at 340 Heights Road—the perfect spot to grab dinner after a day in NYC.

6. We love that Darien is approximately an hour-long train ride away from NYC. Essentially, we can appreciate the best of both worlds: the convenience of residing on the outskirts of the metropolitan area and the luxury of living (working and playing) on Connecticut’s picturesque “Gold Coast.” Darien is located on Metro-North’s New Haven Line. Go to the MTA website for more information on train service and fares.

7. The  Darien Nature Center (120 Brookside Rd) is a great destination for a fun family outing. Aside from trails and an animal exhibit, the Nature Center offers afterschool programs and seasonal events like the upcoming Chili Challenge, in which local chefs will vie for the “Best Chili Title.” Check out programs and events on the Nature Center’s website

8. Grove Street Plaza is a great place to meet with friends and family. Grab a coffee at NEAT (20 Grove St) or take the kids to Gofer Ice Cream (1020 Boston Post Rd). Free outdoor concerts are held at the Plaza every Friday night in the summer as part of the Darien Summer Nights series.

9.  Darien Town Hall (2 Renshaw Rd) is truly at the heart of our town and provides excellent resources for residents. The town runs the new Senior Center, which offers exercise classes, lectures, activities and more. 2 Renshaw Road is also home to the Darien Arts Center, a non-profit organization that hosts dance, visual arts, music and theatre programs. Go to Darienarts.org for information on performances, classes for all ages and audition announcements.

10. Of course every New England town boasts a go-to seafood restaurant. The raw bar at Ten Twenty Post (1020 Boston Post Rd) serves fresh oysters from both east and west coast waters. The oyster bar-bistro also cooks up classics like clam chowder and lobster rolls. 

To connect with David K. Hawes and Holly Saunders Hawes visit their agent websites and team website.

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Thoughts and opinions presented in this post are those of  David and Holly Hawes and do not reflect the official opinions or endorsements from Halstead Property, LLC. 

Tennis Anyone?

Your Guide to the Best Free (Or Low Cost) Outdoor Tennis Courts in New York

By Duncan Ashley Lonsdale, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson - West Side Office

Today’s beginning of the US Open may signal the end of the “Grand Slam” season for professional tennis, but there are still a few more good months weather-wise for the rest of us to pick up a racquet on the many free (or close to free) outdoor courts in Manhattan and elsewhere in the city.

Brian Watkins Tennis Center

East River Park at Houston St. under the Williamsburg Bridge (walk east over FDR Drive)

# of Courts/surface: 12 Hard Courts

Contact: (212) 529-7185

Comments: Free with a permit from Paragon Sports (867 Broadway between 17th and 18th Sts; 800-961-3030, paragonsports.com Applications can also be found at nycgovparks.org; a seasonal permit is $100; a day pass $7. Tranquil setting adjacent to the East River.

Central Park Tennis Center

93rd St. near West Drive

# of Courts/surface: 4 (Hard) & 26 (Fast Dry)

Contact: 212-316-0800 centralparktenniscenter.com

Hours:Daily 6:30am–8pm; free with permit. Reservations suggested. Permits available at nycgovparks.org season permit (good through late November) $200; single-play permit $15.

Comments: Because these are the most well known and offer the most amenities (bathrooms, lockers, showers, a snack bar, and pro shop), they are also the most difficult to secure at peak times. Lessons Offered.

Fort Washington Park

Located by the Hudson River at 170th St.

# of Courts/surface: 10 Hard Courts

Contact: (212) 304-2322

Comments: These courts may be Manhattan’s best-kept secret until they aren’t. They are relatively difficult to access, even for those who live in the neighborhood. Perhaps the most efficient way to access these courts is along the west side path – by bike (about 20-25 minutes each way from the upper west side). It’s a beautiful setting under the GWB and near the beloved Little Red Lighthouse.

Frederick Johnson Playground

Located at 151st St., east of Adam Clayton Powell Blvd.

# of Courts/surface: 4 Hard Courts & 4 Rubberized Courts

Contact: (212) 234-9609

Hours:7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily and until 8:30 p.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Comments: Affectionately known as “The Jungle” where Althea Gibson trained in her youth. Players must have either a permit or a single-play pass. “Easier to get court time here than many of the other outdoor courts in the city.” Lessons Offered.

Inwood Hill Park

Located at 207th St. and Seaman Ave.

# of Courts/surface: 9 Hard Courts

Contact: (212) 304-2381

Riverside Park

Riverside Drive and W. 96th St. (West of the highway and adjacent to the river)

# of Courts/surface: 10 Clay Courts

Contact: (212) 978-0277 rcta.info

Hours:Daily 7am–8pm April to November. Free with permit.

Comments: Very popular! Be prepared to wait (as long as 2 hours on weekends), but beautiful setting along the river. Avoid the lines by playing on weekday afternoons. Lessons Offered.

Sportime

Located at Randall’s Island Park 

# of Courts/surface:: 20 Hard (Indoor) Courts

Contact: (212) 427-6150 www.sportimeny.com/Tennis

Comments: 5 indoor hard courts, 5 indoor/outdoor hard courts, and 10 indoor/outdoor clay courts. 10 of the 20 courts are available to permit holders during the outdoor permit season (May through the day before Columbus Day). Adult and junior instructional, competitive, and recreational tennis programs offered.

Washington Market Park

Greenwich St (between Chambers and Duane Sts)

# of Courts/surface: 1 Hard Court

Contact: chamberstreettennis.com

Hours:Daily 7am–midnight; free with permit.

Comments: Regulars typically arrive around 6:30am to get a good spot. Getting a spot is dicey since there is only one court. This single lighted court is open year-round.

Hudson River Park

Located at the river, between Canal and West Houston Street

# of Courts/surface: 3 Hard Courts

Contact: (212) 627-2020, hudsonriverpark.org

Hours:6 a.m. to midnight

Comments: Free! No permit required.1 hour limit if others are waiting. Beautifully situated along the Hudson and lights for evening play.

119th St. Tennis Association

Location is mid-promenade level of Riverside Park (above the path that runs by the river).

# of Courts/surface: 10 Hard Courts

Contact: www.119ta.net

Hours:8:00 a.m. until sundown

Comments: Annual membership dues: $40 per year. NYC Parks and Recreation Tennis Permits are required from Saturday, April 5 through Sunday, November 23, 2014. See the NYC Parks and Recreation website for further information and to renew online. Permits are sold at the Arsenal at 61st Street and 5th Avenue: Adults $200, Seniors $20, Juniors $10; Single Play passes $15 per person.

William H. Seward Park

Located at Essex and Hester Sts. in the lower east side.

# of Courts/surface: 3 hard courts

Comments: Not much information about these courts on the internet. Perhaps a well-kept secret?

Octagon Park Tennis Courts

Located on Roosevelt Island. Located at north end of Main Street, Roosevelt Island.

# of Courts/surface: 6 Plexicushion courts

Contact: (212) 832-4563, rioc.com.

Hours:6 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Comments: Prime-time hours are 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. weekdays and 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on weekends and holidays. There are usually plenty of open courts on weekend afternoons. The rubberized surface plays fast, but the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation is studying how to slow things down. The middle courts offer the best lighting at night. Bring water, as there’s no water fountain. A Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation permit is needed to get onto the courts.

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For additional tennis information in all five boroughs, visit the NYC Gov Parks Website.

To find a home with the fits all your niched demands and needs, contact Duncan today via email or his website.

EYE CANDY OF THE DAY: CHIC AND SECLUDED OASIS

Complete privacy abounds at this designer-owned 1950’s style cape house set on over 1.5 acres of lush, ivy-covered land in East Hampton. Style and character found inside the two-bedroom home can’t be denied, starting with striking floor to ceiling subway tiles in a custom eat-in kitchen that leads to a wood-burning fireplace in an inviting and open living area. Relax by the massive in-ground saltwater pool outback, and enjoy alfresco dining or sip on refreshing summer cocktails on the spacious, poolside cedar patio complete with an elegant outdoor seating area.

The best Hamptons attractions and amenities like pristine beaches in Amagansett are not far from this secluded paradise.

Click here to learn more about this East Hampton escape.

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Don’t miss our Snapshot of the Day for more stunning imagery, find us on Instagram @Halstead or visit our online gallery here

Jim Gricar taking the waterfall of ice and water on top of the 499 Park Avenue Building in Midtown Manhattan. Our CEO Diane Ramirez reaction after the water and ice drips down her back!

REACTION SHOTS FROM OUR #ICEBUCKETCHALLENGE AND MORE EXECUTIVES TAKE PART

We loved them so much, we just had to share these screenshots of our CEO Diane Ramirez and President Jim Gricar in the middle of their ice bucket challenge. 
We thank them again for their donation and for being such good sports! We are proud to announce for every agent, staffmember, and executive that takes the #IceBucketChallenge Halstead Property will donate $5 for each in the month of August.

To donate yourself, visit here.

To watch the video of Diane and Jim’s Ice Bucket Challenge, visit here.

Lastly, to watch our latest executives Gerry Makowski, Gus Perry and Susan Goldy take the plunge, visit here.

Nine Things You Need to Know About Hudson Square

By Janet WeinerLicensed Associate Real Estate Broker - Village Office

This unique micro neighborhood is bounded by the Hudson River (on the west), Morton Street (on the north), Canal Street (on the south) and Avenue of the Americas (on the east), Hudson Square is also known as West SoHo, the South Village, and occasionally, North Tribeca. However, this area I affectionately call Hudson Square as well as my home. Here are 9 Things You Must Know About Hudson Square for you to enjoy:

1. Classic Car Club

250 Hudson Street - New York, NY 10013 

A premier car club where members enjoy access to an array of classic, vintage and luxurious cars. Members also enjoy access to their exclusive clubhouse (open 24/7), which holds special events, scotch tastings, exhibitions for car enthusiasts and more. Should you become a member, I recommend a drive in a vintage automobile upstate to see the beautiful changing of the leafs for the perfect weekend getaway.

2. Miller’s Oath 

510 Greenwich Street - New York, NY 10013 

This new boutique custom men’s clothing store in the heart of Hudson Square is great for both casual everyday wear and dress clothing. This classy boutique features clothing tailored in the United States with cloth from the local area, France, Italy and England. Their professional stylists and tailors will truly customize the perfect outfit for any occasion using their unique embroidered gusset and shiny pearl buttons.

3. Hotel Hugo (and Il Principe Restaurant) 

525 Greenwich Street - New York, NY 10013

The Hotel Hugo is a boutique new luxurious hotel in the heart of Hudson Square, and just steps from SoHo. The hotel features a glass-enclosed rooftop bar with beautiful views of the city, and chic Italian/Mediterranean restaurant called Il Principe by renown chef Carlo Bigi. Accommodations range from double rooms for two, through their gorgeous loft-style suites.

4. Rick Owens

250 Hudson Street - New York, NY 10013

A high-end European boutique featuring both men and women’s clothing, as well as unique home furniture. Products and clothing primarily come from London, Brussels and other parts of Europe.

5. SoHo Play House/Huron Club

15 Vandam Street - New York, NY 10013 

The SoHo Play House is a historic off-Broadway venue serving the local community since 1920. Prominent regulars have included “Battery” Dan Finn and Jimmy “Beau James” Walker, also known as “The night Mayor”. The playhouse also includes the Huron Club, an intimate 55-seat cabaret and historic bar. The theater and box office are open every day except Tuesdays.

6. Dahesh Museum of Art

145 Sixth Avenue - New York, NY 10013

An art museum containing a collection of American and European academic artists. The museum hosts a number of exhibitions, as well as events for adults and free movies nights with popcorns and refreshments. 

7. City Winery 

155 Varick Street - New York, NY 10013

Described by founder Michael Dorf as a unique facility featuring a fully functioning winery, free concerts to the public, fine cuisine, private events and wine tastings. City Winery combines elegant cuisine with fine wines to create a truly unique dining experience. Although there’s never a bad time to check out City Winery, my family and I enjoy getting together here for their amazing Sunday brunches.

8. Children’s Museum 

103 Charlton St - New York, NY 10013

A true gem for local families, the Children’s Museum is a perfect Saturday afternoon activity for your little ones! The museum features exhibitions, art classes, music activities, after school programs and summer camps for children. They have space available for birthday parties and private functions, as well as events for parents of the local area.

9. NYC Fire Museum 

278 Spring Street - New York, NY 10013

An old firehouse converted into a museum with exhibitions on the FDNY, fire safety education, NYC history and a gift shop! Great for families and adults alike.

To learn more about this area or about finding a home here, feel free to connect with Janet on her webpage or via email.

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Thoughts and opinions presented in this post are those of Janet Weiner and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Halstead Property, LLC.

BARAK’S THOUGHTS ON A PICTURE’S WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS 

In the 7th installment of regular Halstead Blog series from Halstead Property’s Barak Dunayer, we bring you Webisode 7 “Pricing to Win –A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words” 

When selling your home the best strategy is to think like a buyer, Barak says. Practice by taking photos of a room followed by pointing out distractions and devising a list of needed changes. Share the photos with others (especially your broker) because they may spot distractions that you did not catch at first glance. If changes are too complicated, then your broker can access Halstead’s Virtual Staging marketing tool, in which the marketing team digitally remodels or furnishes a space. 

“We transform properties for our clients both physically and virtually every single day. Because our years of experience taught us that getting the highest price begins with great presentation.”

Click here to watch the most recent Webisode 6 – “It’s Not Personal, It’s Business” and for the entire collection of videos from Barak’s Thoughts series, click here.

Share your thoughts and connect with Barak on Twitter or over email, and visit his agent website to learn more and for all of your real estate needs.

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Thoughts and opinions presented in this video series are those of Barak Dunayer and do not reflect the official opinions of Halstead Property, LLC.

YOUR EYE CANDY OF THE DAY: HISTORIC FARMHOUSE 

Welcome to the historic George and Mary Smith House in Norwalk, Connecticut. Built in 1840, this three-bedroom, two-bath home is one of the first on Keeler Avenue.  The robin’s egg blue facade, wooden window shutters and inviting wraparound porch enhance the farmhouse’s vintage charm. The .59 acre property includes carnation, rose and vegetable gardens as well as original stone walls. Step inside to beautifully remodeled interiors complete with casual, country-inspired décor. A rear porch and stone patio are located off of the eat-in kitchen proving that 11 Keeler Avenue offers ample space to relax outdoors.

Click here to discover more of this historic property.

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YOUR EYE CANDY OF THE DAY: PRETTY IN PARK SLOPE

Acquaint yourself with the perfect blend of contemporary and classic at this 2 bedroom condominium in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Designer touches can be found throughout starting in the kitchen built with a beautiful porcelain tile backsplash, and a stainless steel sink with a Nottingham faucet to hardwood floors and double-paned windows that offer a constant stream of natural light. Private outdoor space can be found just beyond the living area for even more sunlight, in addition to a private storage unit. Last but not least, the location cannot be beat with iconic landmarks such as Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Museum located just blocks away. 

Click here to learn more about this fine Brooklyn home.

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Don’t miss our Snapshot of the Day for more stunning imagery, find us on Instagram @Halstead or visit our online gallery here

THIS SUMMER MAY BE ENDING, BUT FiDi IS SIZZLING!

By: Jenet Levy, Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker, SoHo Office. 

As a native New Yorker, I have seen many neighborhoods change, develop and transform in all sorts of ways over the years. I have to say, though, that the metamorphosis of the Financial District over the last 10 years has truly been formidable. 

After 9/11, the government was afraid New York City would become a ghost-town, particularly the area immediately surrounding the World Trade Center. They gave incentives to builders to produce residential developments. There was considerable inventory of obsolete office buildings in the Financial District. Builders took advantage of these tax abatements and renovated many of these structures, creating condos.  The new developments have modern, elegant finishes and are replete with a variety of upscale amenities. Many of these buildings opened in 2006 and 2007 and were well-received. The sponsors often sold most of the units pre-construction and before the buildings were finished. With each new wave of apartments released, the prices would escalate.

Then, in September of 2008, Lehman Brothers crashed and this progress came to a screeching halt. The buildings that sold well stayed afloat.  Some that were “late to the party” turned rental.  Prices plunged.  There was a standstill for some time, and then the uptrend returned. As our residential real estate market picked up, the Financial District saw the completion of the new World Trade Center and the notable Gehry building on Spruce Street, which became the tallest residential tower in NYC. A much-anticipate and well-rated school opened.  New parks were added. The new Fulton Center subway hub linking 11 subway lines in one location, and hosting retail, is being referred to as “a Downtown Grand Central” and is scheduled to open soon. More new condo, rental and hotel developments are breaking ground and starting construction. FiDi has truly become a destination of choice as a place to work, live, play, eat and shop. 

“Shop?” you say? 

Oh, yes – the retail renaissance will be discussed in my next post, so please come back and keep following my posts about FiDi’s finest!

Connect with me over email and visit my agent website to learn more, and for all of your New York City real estate needs. 

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Thoughts and opinions presented in this post are those of Jenet Levy and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Halstead Property, LLC.

YOUR EYE CANDY OF THE DAY: ISLAND ESCAPE

Who hasn’t dreamed of living on a private island? With a serene sandy beach, dock and deep water channel - this crown jewel Victorian home is situated on almost 2 acres of land on Pot Island, Connecticut and is considered the “Queen of the Thimble Islands.” The entire residence offers breathtaking views from its unrivaled location atop a picturesque bluff with rolling green hills all the way down the lawn straight to the water’s edge, and a total of 11 bedrooms and 5 1/2 baths spread throughout 6,300 square feet of interior living space offers maximum comfort for any, and all of your guests. A dreamy chef’s kitchen with cathedral ceilings and a dining hall with a separate breakfast and sunset porch combine to complete this incredible home.

Click here to discover more of this stunning Connecticut property.

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TEN HIDDEN SECRETS OF NEW CANAAN 

with Susan O’Rourke and Bettina Hegel, Licensed in Connecticut in our New Canaan office

Susan: The first time I drove into the Town of New Canaan over 28 years ago it just seemed too beautiful and perfect to be real. But, after living and working here since my mid-twenties and raising two (now grown) sons, I have learned that it is as real as it gets. What attracted me to New Canaan was both the history and beauty of the downtown area as well as its natural surroundings, but what has kept me here are the people. It is a town of very sophisticated people who enjoy culture yet are grounded and have that true New England sense of community. 

Bettina: I also fell in love with New Canaan the first time I visited. I was taken by the town’s charm and quaintness. I would have to agree with Susan that there is a great sense of community and pride in New Canaan. Above all, New Canaan is very family-orientated, which is important to me in raising my three children.

Here are our top 10 best kept secrets of New Canaan:

1. We both love to walk or run the trails through beautiful Waveny Town Park (677 South Avenue), which is set on 250 acres of woods and open fields. There are baseball and soccer fields, a dog park and a town pool. Some of our favorite memories and events include sledding down the hillside in wintertime and attending Wednesday night concerts at Waveny House (a stately 1912 Tudor home located in the park) in the summertime.

2. Susan: You can also enjoy natural wonders and hiking trails at The New Canaan Nature Center (144 Oenoke Ridge). My boys went to many birthday parties here and learned about endangered native animals and plants. They even petted their first and only bald eagle here! NCNC also hosts a Harvest Festival every October and other autumn community events like Cider Saturday and a Fall Fair.

3. Bettina: In warmer months, downtown transforms into the weekend New Canaan Pop Up Park  with umbrella topped tables, potted plants and a portable fountain to create a relaxing, open public space. There is always an array of fun activities for the kids ranging from mini golf to badminton.

4. We agree that there is a wonderful selection of restaurants in New Canaan. For the best breakfast in town head to Rosie at 27 Elm Street. Rosie bakes the absolute best muffins—it seems as though they put nearly a pint of blueberries in each one! Al fresco dining along Forest Street is very reminiscent of Paris. Cava Wine Bar & Restaurant (2 Forest Street) is perfect for meeting up with friends, while long-standing Gates Restaurant & Bar(10 Forest Street)is best for family gatherings.

5. Tonight is the fourth annual Taste of The Town Stroll, in which restaurants in downtown New Canaan will open their doors to treat locals to light bites, drinks and music. A number of stores usually stay open later and offer special discounts. This is always a fun, social event. For more details visit the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce website.

6. The Phillip Johnson Glass House stands out among the bevy of colonial and Victorian New England-style homes. You can tour, visit art exhibitions and host private parties on the grounds of this impressive, modern home (199 Elm Street). The renowned architect lived in the house from 1949 until he died in 2005. Not so long ago fellow New Canaan residents could catch Mr. Johnson in his signature black-rimmed glasses walking along Elm Street.

7. Susan: The New Canaan YMCA is a community all on its own, and boasts a newly renovated gym. I met my first friend here at the prenatal swim class over 28 years ago.  My children attended many programs here throughout the years including the summer camp and an incredible youth basketball league, which they played on from kindergarten through 12th grade!

8. The Silvermine area outside of downtown is rich in history and art. This quaint neighborhood along the Silvermine River includes the Silvermine Art Center (1037 Silvermine Road) and the off-the-beaten-path Silvermine Market (1032 Silvermine Road). The market is like a neighborhood clubhouse that also holds a well-kept secret: on Friday and Saturday nights it transforms into a candlelit restaurant serving Italian-American and American cuisine.

9. Bettina: Mead Memorial Park (241 Park Street) is always bustling with activity with its large playground, baseball fields, tennis courts and a fantastic concession stand. The Apple Cart Food Company serves up fresh salads, wraps, great sandwiches and lots of delicious healthy fare. As the mother of two young baseball players, I share many fun experiences here!

10. Newcomers don’t always know about the highly intellectual New Canaan Library Speakers and Lecture Series (151 Main Street). Guests include world-renowned and prize-winning authors including upcoming speaker Vijay Seshadri—winner of the Pulitzer Prize in poetry for 2014. Go to the library’s website for further information.

To connect with Susan and Bettina visit their agent websites.

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Thoughts and opinions presented in this post are those of Susan O’Rourke and Bettina Hegel and do not reflect the official opinions or endorsements from Halstead Property, LLC. 

DO YOU KNOW THIS BUILDING? 

By: Deborah Zavon, Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker, Park Avenue Office. 

Tortoise and the Hare at 1040 Park Avenue and 86th Street, Upper Eastside, Manhattan.

I have shared my enjoyment of the rats climbing the Graybar building, and here is other architectural fauna that I glance at whenever I pass, more appealing in theme, though not less frenetic.

Above the third floor windows at 1040 Park Avenue and 86th Street on Manhattan’s Upper Eastside, the tortoise and the hare have been chasing each other around the building’s façade for almost a century.

Design legends Delano & Aldrich are architects known for building upper-class town houses and clubs, were employed by developer Joseph L. B. Mayer in 1923 to design this residential building at a time when apartment development above 86th Street on Park avenue was just taking off. The architects gave it a chaste limestone base of three floors and they happily included some whimsy in the design with an amusing third-story frieze of tortoise-and-hare figures.

In 1991, former New York City Parks Commissioner Henry J. Stern founded the American Association for the Advancement and Appreciation of Animals in Art & Architecture which conducts safaris to view the most beautiful local examples of animal sculpture in architecture, and have adopted the well-known frieze as their official logo.

There are many surprising architectural finds in the city that are intriguing and interesting to come across. Share your own “Do You Know This Building?” photo with me in the comments below, or over email.

Visit my agent website to learn more and for all of your New York City real estate needs. 

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Thoughts and opinions presented in this post are those of Deborah Zavon and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Halstead Property, LLC.

TOP HALSTEAD PROPERTY EXECUTIVES TAKE THE #ICEBUCKETCHALLENGE

Two of Halstead Property’s Top Executives, CEO Diane Ramirez and President Jim Gricar, yesterday proudly accepted the nomination by Director of Web Marketing and Social Media Matthew Leone to take the ALS #IceBucketChallenge. Both stood atop Halstead’s Park Avenue Flagship Office Building rooftop flanked by their Executive Team who had front row seats to the ice filled plunge. 

WATCH THE VIDEO HERE

Ramirez and Gricar agreed to also join other Halstead agents and executives and donate to the ALS Association to do their part to help #StrikeOutALS. The success of the #IceBucketChallenge social phenomenon has been staggering over the course of the last two weeks with $14M being raised for ALS Association coffers, compared with $1.7 million during the same period last year. To donate to an incredible cause or to become better educated on ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease, we invite you to click here. 

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Special thanks to the Oxford Café for providing the large amounts of ice as well as the 499 Park Security Detail and Property Management Team for their help in the event.

 

TEN HIDDEN SECRETS OF THE WEST VILLAGE

with Brian Lewis, Licensed Associate R.E. Broker in our Westside Office 

My first place in Manhattan was on a sofa in someone’s apartment on Bank Street in the West Village. It was 1991, and I was on a straight-out-of-college budget. Eventually, I found a roommate and moved into an apartment on Horatio Street where my initial portion of rent was only $500 a month! The Horatio Street apartment was a true gem. It overlooked the High Line (where I would often hang out), which at the time was full of weeds prior to its current incarnation as a beautiful park. My last apartment in the West Village was on Charlton Street off of 6th Avenue. In 1998 I moved to the Upper West Side for more space, and have stayed ever since. However, my heart and soul remains in the West Village. Over the years I have done a lot of business in my old stomping ground, and I like to think that I sell with a little more love when my exclusives are located there. Here are my top 10 best kept secrets of the West Village:

1. The gardens at The Church of Saint Luke in the Fields (487 Hudson St.) are my own secret getaway in the West Village. In fact, whenever I’m there I feel as though I’m back home in the South specifically in Williamsburg, Virginia.  The verdant, public gardens are home to a rare array of berries and American flora. Stop by the South Lawn in April to see the cherry trees in-bloom, or wander the pathways through lawns and gardens year-round.

2. Inside The Center (short for The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center at 208 West 13th St.) is the fascinating Keith Haring Bathroom—a former men’s restroom whose walls are filled with a mural of black and white graffiti by the late artist. Haring completed “Once Upon a Time” in 1989 as part of an on-site art program.The mural was restored in 2012, and today the space is used as a conference room.

3. Hands down the best bar in the neighborhood is at an Italian restaurant called I Sodi(105 Christopher St.). As someone who judges a good Manhattan by the cherry, I Sodi’s Rye Manhattan is ridiculous. Aside from their cocktails, the restaurant makes an excellent cacio e pepe (cheese and black pepper) pasta dish.

4. Speaking of pasta, you’ll find classic dishes like spaghetti pomodoro and rigatoni Bolognese at an unlikely spot: a coffeehouse. Café Minerva (302 West 4th St.) has the vibe of an old-school luncheonette with its welcoming countertop service and bistro tables. Swing by in the morning for an espresso, or zone-in with your laptop and stay for lunch, dinner and a glass of wine.

5. HB Studio at 120 Bank St. is near and dear to my heart. I trained at the acting studio in my 20’s by the invitation of the late and great, Uta Hagen. For information on workshops and performances, go to HB Studio’s website.

6. I love the quirky barbed wire collection at West Village stalwart, Cowgirl(519 Hudson St.) The kitschy, Wild West restaurant was inspired by the Cowgirl Hall of Fame Museum in Hereford, Texas.

7.  The neighborhood has strong ties to the American Revolution and the early days of the Federal government. The Charlton-King-Vandam Historic Districtwas once the location of Richmond Hill—a colonial estate that George Washington used as his headquarters and later became the Vice President’s official home. The historic district boasts structures in the Federal, Queen Anne and Greek Revival styles within a four-block radius.

8. Whenever I’m at the White Horse Tavern (567 Hudson St.) I like to raise a pint to my fellow Welshman, Dylan Thomas, who was a regular (his portrait is also on display here). The famous tavern was a usual haunt for writers and sailors.

9. McNulty’s Tea & Coffee Co.at 109 Christopher St. has been brewing blends since 1895. They often sell a coffee blend called the William & Mary, which contrary to my initial thought it was named after two people who worked there, not my alma mater. Don’t expect to leave with a piping hot cup of joe—McNaulty’s only sells bags of tea leaves and coffee beans.

10. Abingdon Square Parkat West 12th and Hudson Streets is reminiscent of the tiny, tranquil parks in Paris that I would frequent when I lived in there as an exchange student. 

To connect with Brian, visit his website or follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

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Thoughts and opinions presented in this post are those of  Brian Lewis and do not reflect the official opinions or endorsements from Halstead Property, LLC.

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