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 reinvent the 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 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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50 posts tagged Holidays

Sales and The City - Write Offs

Episode 20 - By Sara Rotter, Halstead Property Executive Director of Sales Downtown

As independent contractors, Real Estate agents have many tax write offs that they can take advantage of- but there is one write off that most of us take advantage of every year…. Between Thanksgiving and New Years…..  Do you know which one that is?  Here’s a little story…..

So I went to my Mom’s for Thanksgiving a slender, disciplined soul- bless her heart, she served 23 dishes and 15 desserts ….for 15 people.  Four hours of munching, in addition to a weekend of vegging, I realized – wow, I am really off my game.  I just let it all go!  Then, I return to the office- to Thanksgiving leftovers, 8 wonder-full nights of Chanukah, holiday baskets, holiday parties, Christmas Eve, Christmas, and on and on…. And now, I leave for the beach with evidence of a season of eating, drinking and being merry!  Eeeks!  And after speaking to many of my colleagues and friends, they shared the same experience.   

I realized that when we are in our own homes, offices, and in a regular weekly routine, it is very easy to keep up with our respective disciples- be it at work, in health, social settings, in our religion/spiritual practices, isn’t it?  Well, mostly. ;)  However, the truest test is when we travel or step out of typical settings.  How do we do?  You might want to ask yourself.  Someone actually said to me that between Thanksgiving and New Years he may as well just write it off in diet and work and get started new in 2014.  I thought- that’s it?  Just throw in the towel on routine, work, and health?  December is a great month- it’s an (expensive and) social month but we can take advantage of the lull that many of us experience in our industries – to reach out to people and say hi, socialize, volunteer, and mostly start planning for the following year. 

So with 2014 upon us, why don’t we all make a resolution to never write time off – and make the most of each moment because those moment ARE your future.  We don’t need to seek out psychics to read our future- your future is NOW and TODAY, so let’s make the most of it!  Who is with me?  Happy New Year to All!!

Made in NYC

Shopping regionally and supporting the local economy is important anytime of the year. The holiday season is an especially opportune time to draw attention to the countless number of creative, talented and artistic entrepreneurs who design and make their goods in one of the five boroughs of New York City. Supporting all things Made in NYC helps generate revenue, promotes small business, and fosters a never ending talent pool; so why not treat yourself and graciously spend any green you received during the holidays on the best products made in Gotham City? From food to fashion, our well-heeled neighborhood expert agents list their favorite Made in NYC items: 

For the fashion mavens out there, you can get one (or a few…) original frocks from NYC based designer Emily Saunder, who’s eclectic clothing line called Saunder has been featured multiple times on the industry proclaimed Fashion Bible – WWD.com, and was even given a nod during Mercedes-Benz New York City Fashion Week. Noted for her commitment to supporting homegrown industry, her latest collection exudes edgy femininity with an eclectic twist.

Halstead pick: Emerald Geometric Dress -  setting a trend for the season with mixes of washed silk and metallic jacquard and modern lines. 

If you have an eye for design with an eco-friendly nod, you’ll adore Urban Green’s home furnishing products. The Brooklyn based company has been a go-to source for over 70 years for their Eco-friendly, sustainable wood furniture finished with low-VOC, toxin-free stains and paints to promote a healthier environment either in your home, the office, or the outdoors. All of their wood is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. The originality and delicacy of their products earned them a profile in the New York Post as a go-to spot for any non-Brooklyn resident seeking the borough’s signature look.  

Foodies and purveyors of anything homemade should head to Broadway Baker. Everything they churn out is baked from scratch and custom to order from their hand-crafted cookies (pictured above), brownies, cupcakes and granola. Best of all – it doesn’t get any more guilt free than their  proud commitment to donating a portion of all sales to multiple NYC charities including Alzheimer’s Association NYC Chapter, ASPCA and Broadway Cares/EFA. 

Discover more items from local designers and artists at MadeinNYC.org.  

(Image Courtesy: Broadway Baker)


Quintessential New York Gingerbread Competition

Making a gingerbread house is a favorite holiday pastime regardless of denomination and talent, and it presents the same challenge to most of us –which is to abstain from eating all of the candy and confectionery ingredients in the process. Luckily, those skilled in the culinary arts, namely pastry chefs, are able to demonstrate more self restraint for our benefit to put on a true Gingerbread Extravaganza. City Harvest showcases the annual lineup of holiday sweets made by some of the city’s most renowned chefs inside the iconic Le Parker Meridien Hotel. The competition boasts some of the most impressive sugary, edible homes you’ll see. The confectionery wonders will be on display until January 3rd  and visitors can cast their vote for their favorite entry for just $1 with proceeds benefiting City Harvest initiatives to help feed the homeless.

The theme surrounding this year’s spirited competition is “Quintessential New York”.  Because what says “I Love New York” more than a sugary replica of iconic Gotham landmarks. Featured models include the Chrysler Building by David Burke Townhouse, the Guggenheim Museum made by Il Ristorante Rosi, and there’s even a dynamic and intricate scene of Coney Island by Rolling Pin Productions with Aperitivo Restaurant. Prepare to feast your eyes on the sights and scents from NORMA’S bakery as you experience the carefully constructed Candy Commuter “Inspired by NYC Subway Cars,” or gasp at the remarkable Empire State Building by Brooklyn’s own home-grown bakery Liddabit Sweets. That’s not it, additional entries include the DUMBO and Manhattan Bridges, Katz Deli, and a row of Brownstones so picturesque it looks as if they were plucked right out of Greenwich Village.

It’s a multi-sensory event for the ages, even for those rare few people without a sweet tooth to curb. Ultimately what feels the most rewarding is knowing you’re contributing to a worthy cause like City Harvest who’s many programs help feed over 1 million New Yorker’s in need.

To learn more about the event and City Harvest, be sure to visit their website

Your Guide to Holiday Treats in NYC

Among the many reasons to be thankful during this time of year, the encouragement to over indulge in savory sweets is one of our favorites. The holiday season is a rare time of year where get-out-of-jail-free cards for ditching your diet are handed out on the daily, so why not make the most of it and try the best holiday desserts you can find in New York City. We rounded up our top 10 listed below, with so many more included in our Foursquare lists with hundreds of tips from our neighborhood expert agents.

Melt Bakery - You’ll say anything but ‘ba humbug’ to the Fezziwig - 2 of their famous sticky toffee “meltcakes” wrapped around hot buttered rum ice cream, so decadent and rich even Scrooge would be pleased.

 Treat House - You’d never guess these delicious confectionery pieces of heaven were created accidentally. Gourmet rice krispy treats sans holiday touch is great but the Sugar Cookie-Snowflake rendition is priceless.

Magnolia Bakery – They might be the reigning King of Desserts regardless of the season, but a holiday favorite is the sno-cap cupcake- devils food cake topped w/peaks of savory meringue icing dusted with coconut flakes.

Doughnut Plant – Give us a donut any time of the year and we’ll be happy, but our expectations were exceeded when we tasted the roasted chestnut cake holiday special. It was almost a welcomed sensory overload.

Three Tarts – We were pleading for s’ more of the savory spin on salty and sweet with a gourmet s’more oozing with rosemary marshmallow melted between 2 chocolate chip graham cookies.

My Sweet Brigadeiro -  You can thank us later for introducing you to a traditional Brazilian dessert, think of it as the lovechild from a piece of fudge and a chocolate truffle into a bite sized treat. With a base made from dark chocolate then smothered with crunchy toppings like coconut and pistachio, try eating just one of these. 

Spot Dessert Bar – When you crave an innovative and unique dessert, this place is like a tapas bar filled with innovative creations such as the Green tea lava cake. We’ve never seen an explosion of green tea like it, and we loved it.

Arlington Club – Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol comes to life with the best figgy pudding you can find stateside; rich, sticky date pudding is served warm with buttery-sweet toffee and ginger ice cream.

The Dutch – A true foodie is no stranger to the Dutch, and we’re happy to report we were pleased yet again. This time we opted for the mouthwatering Peanut butter ice box pie with salted caramel ice cream.

ABC Kitchen – Talk about dessert porn, a slice of the rich chocolate layer cake with malted chocolate ganache and toasted marshmallow icing to add texture is as heavenly as it sounds. It’s not at all overindulgent. 

Meet our agents to learn more about them, and their endless neighborhood Foursquare tips


It’s the most wonderful time of the year, right? Or at least it should be. What with holiday parties, shopping, and everything in between – we hold no judgment for those of you who have been meaning to put up that tree. And we’re not talking about the no-mess, no-scent, no-fun kind of tree that comes pre-made; we mean real trees that fill your home with a fragrance that many candles try to recreate, and ones that may leave just a little bit of mess as they shed their pine needles throughout the holiday season. With just over 1 week left to purchase, decorate, and even enjoy the season staple you might think you’ve missed out and have to wait until next year, but you’re in luck as we’ve asked our neighborhood expert agents to keep their eyes peeled for where to find the best last-minute Christmas Tree vendors in New York City:

SoHo Trees – The ultimate one stop shop for all things needed to deck your halls with holiday cheer. With a promise to “deliver Christmas magic to New York City”, they have their bases covered with 10 different locations around Manhattan and Brooklyn and including SoHo, TriBeCa, the Upper Eastside, Midtown East and Midtown West.

Tyler’s Trees -  Getting a hold of a Christmas Tree in a New York City minute is just a few clicks away with the city’s premier online tree delivery service. A traditional Fraser Fir straight from a North Carolina Christmas Tree farm in your size of choice is available at a few different price ranges, and not only do they deliver this holiday staple – they even install it so all you have to do is add the finishing touches. They were even profiled by the New York Post for an expected record breaking 2013 season.

Greenpoint Trees – While they also offer a reputable delivery service, (set-up and decorations included for varying price points), Brooklyn-ites in search of creating their own Griswald holiday can head to one of their two locations (Manhattan Ave. and Calyer St. in Greenpoint, or Berry St. at North 7th St. in Williamsburg) and pick one that meets their fancy.

H&H Kim Corp – The trusty ole’ bodega saves the day again. The tradition of getting a Christmas Tree from your local bodega is something only true New Yorkers will come to know, and H&H Kim’s is a mainstay in Little Italy and has been selling the goods for the last 20 years right on the corner of Thompson St. and Prince St.

SoHo Garden – Situated in Nolita on Prince and Mulberry Street, they’ve been a neighborhood mainstay for quite some time too, although sadly this might be this last year so make sure get em while they’re still on hand.

Botanica – situated on Atlantic Avenue in Boreum Hill, Brooklyn, this vendor might be sitting adjacent to retailer Lowes, but his loyal customers know if they want the best value to go here.

Greg’s Quality Christmas Trees – McCarren Park, Williamsburg/Greenpoint. Touted as selling the most beautiful trees in all the land, Greg Walsh returns year after year with his selection of hand-picked, fragrant and lush trees from Oregon. Guests will think you went straight to the woods and chopped down your own.

Be sure to let us know in comments if we missed any! Where do you get your tree?

Halstead Property Sponsors Darien’s Festival of Wreaths Benefit

Yesterday the Darien Nature Center held its 12th annual Festival of Wreaths benefit. Halstead Property and agent Eileen Hanford proudly partnered to sponsor this lively event.

Creativity abounds in the creation of these wreaths made by local artists and artisans ranging from the traditional greens with holiday ornaments to the more unique wreaths made with men’s ties, pencils, recycled items, seashells, flowers and any imaginable or often the unimaginable item.

The wreaths decked the halls of the Darien Nature Center at 120 Brookside Rd, Darien where they were sold in a silent auction format during a fun reception of beer tasting, wine, champagne, hors d’oeuvres and live music with caroling.  Popular wreaths garnered up to and over $1000!  Proceeds benefit the Darien Nature Center’s ongoing exhibits and programs.



It’s Friday and that means we turn to Jeanne Byers from Halstead Property’s Downtown Office to share with us another inspiring Instagram Snapshot. The photo above was taken with the holidays in New York City firmly on her mind. Here is Jeanne’s response:

The idea for my holiday card came to me upon a midnight clear.”

Jeanne’s Photo Hashtags:

#Holidays #SeasonsGreetings #Christmas #Building #ChryslerBuilding #halstead #realestate #Skyline #Skyscraper #Twilight


Jeanne is a past Executive Creative Director of Arnold/New York Advertising Agency and brings her trained eye and quality orientation to her social media marketing as well as to her exclusive property marketing.  Follow all of Jeanne’s amazing instagram visuals here.

Like and Comment on her photo here.

NYC MUST DO: 2013 Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting

No holiday season is complete until Rockefeller Plaza in Midtown Manhattan is illuminated by thousands of brightly shining holiday lights. The Rockefeller Center Tree is a universal symbol for the holiday season, in both New York City and across the nation. Celebrating 81 years of tradition, this year’s Norway Spruce is as impressive as always and stands at an amazing 76 feet tall, 47 feet wide and weighs in at more than 12 tons of holiday delight. If you’re wondering how long it take for a tree to reach such epic proportions –the answer is 75 years, that means the tree has been growing for over 7 decades. It’s been standing bare on the plaza for the month of November but that’s all about to change as NBC Today hosts Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie, Al Roker and Natalie Morales usher the official 2013 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting on Wednesday, December 4th where over 45,000 multi-colored LED lights and a glistening 9 ½ ft wide Swarvoski crystal star will be lit up just before  The nationally televised event kicks off at 8pm for an hour of holiday-extravaganza with performances by Leona Lewis, Mariah Carey, the Goo Goo Dolls, and last but not least –The Rockettes.

Happy Holidays from everyone at Halstead Property!

Feast your eyes on City Harvest’s Gingerbread Extravaganza

Making (and then eating) gingerbread houses is one of the most festive activities of the holiday season. While we can’t all brag about said house-building skills, each year the City Harvest’s Gingerbread Extravaganza inside New York’s iconic Le Parker Meridien hotel boasts some of the most impressive sugary, edible homes you’ll see. The theme to this year’s competition is “Landmarks Around the World.” For just $1, you can marvel at the creations by some of New York’s most celebrated and acclaimed restaurants. Participating restaurants include Norma’s which is located inside the hotel, and their gingerbread creation (pictured above) is a replica of the infamous crane dangling from an under construction midtown high rise this fall. There’s even a bustling street scene of cabs, fire trucks, street signs and people constructed entirely out of gingerbread and other edible deliciousness at the base of the building.  Other unique structures this year include a Great Sphinx by Rolling Pin Productions and a Scottish castle by Tribeca’s North End Grill. The confectionary wonders will be on display until January 3rd  and visitors can cast their vote for their favorite entry. Proceeds from the $1 voting tickets are donated to City Harvest to help feed the homeless. 

Le Parker Meridien is located on 119 West 56th Street between 6th and 7th Aves, New York


Whether you are eight or eighty-eight, people of all ages can enjoy the Lego wonderland Bill Probert created at the Stamford Museum & Nature Center. Probert and ten of his close friends join forces to create this masterpiece each holiday. Be prepared to be amazed and take a trip down memory lane if you are an adult, who use to play with Legos for hours, or if you are a young one- stare in awe and gain inspiration for your Lego building skills as our next great architect in waiting.

Probert and his ten friends spent fourteen hours a day for seven days straight to create this masterpiece. This year you will see a recreation of old-time New York City, a scene from Star Wars, a battle from Lord of the Rings, a peaceful hobbit farm, the headquarters of the X-Men, ships from “Pirates of the Carribbean,” pet shops, high rises, fire stations, mansions, and so much more!

All Aboard with Bill Probert and Friends will be at the museum until January 27th and is free for members. If you aren’t a member of the museum, don’t worry because you can get in with a general admission ticket.

Address: 39 Scofieldtown Road in Stamford, CT / More info: 203-322-1646

Fun Fact: Probert’s home is filled with over one million Lego pieces! We are sure his two children ages 13 and 19 don’t mind.


What is dubbed as New York City’s second largest parade only behind Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the 6th annual East Meets West Christmas parade will be held this Saturday, December 22nd. Little Italy and Chinatown are two of New York City’s  most famous and vibrant neighborhoods, and they’ve been joining forces for the past 6 years for this annual holiday fusion.  The procession simultaneously celebrates the neighboring communities’ rich Italian and Asian culture with a parade of 8 floats, 3 marching bands, street dancers, live Italian and Asian singing performers, antique cars, and much more. Where else but New York can you witness the best kind of spectacle that features Santa walking alongside a larger-than life Chinese Dragon?

The event kicks off at 2 p.m. on Mulberry & Canal Streets, then proceeds North along Mulberry to Prince St and South on Mott St. from Prince to Worth to end at Chatham Square. If you’re watching the parade with little ones, restaurants in Little Italy are offering half-priced kids menus throughout the entire weekend so be sure to take advantage of the great deals.

NYC MUST DO: Holiday Train Show at NY Botanical Gardens

Fun for all ages; come marvel at the beautiful trains and New York land mark replicas this year at the New York Botanical Gardens. Soon after arrival you will notice these are not your typical steam engines. Paul Busse’s creative team at Applied Imagination use plants and other organic materials like fruits, twigs and bark to create these trains.

 Called “One of New York City’s best holiday gifts to itself,” and a chance to “see the city anew,” by the New York Times, the Holiday Train Show truly brings Christmas to life with hundreds of twinkling lights and smiling faces everywhere you look.

While you are checking out all of the unique trains make sure to visit the artist’s studio to see how these creative structures are built. From the basic framing to the plant details such as radish seed marquee lights- you will have the chance to see it all.

This year don’t miss the replica of Macy’s flagship location (aka: The Miracle on 34th Street.) You will notice this amazing replica as you enter the Haupt Conservatory.

If you work up an appetite, jump down to Harlem to one of the area’s best restaurants or get your shopping on with some very fun and unique shops.

The show is open until January 9th and is open each week day from 10:00 am- 6:00 pm and weekends from 10:00 am - 7:00 pm.


Shopping locally and supporting the local economy is important any time of year. However, during this particular 2012 Holiday season, many local businesses and manufacturers are still feeling the effects of Hurricane Sandy and may face underwhelming sales as a result. We can help by supporting all things Made in NYC, a project by the Pratt Center for Community Development to  draw attention to the countless number of creative, talented and artistic entrepreneurs who design and make their goods in one of the five boroughs of New York City.

Their online Holiday pop-up shop features more than a few noteworthy items, here are our top picks:

For the fashion maven in your life, you can get one (or a few…) original frocks from NYC based designer Lauren Moffatt who’s clothing and accessories have been featured in every glossy mag a designer could dream of. Noted as one to watch in 2012 by fashion bible Vogue and trend-watcher WWD, her swimwear has garnered a lot of buzz, so a swoon-worthy bathing suit to take on that upcoming winter getaway is the perfect gift to give this holiday season. 

Dog lovers can spoil their pooch with uber cool clothing from Cool Blue Dog, produced exclusively in Manhattan’s Garment District. They cater especially to hard to fit breeds like English and French Bulldogs and Pugs who are broad-chested –yet still deserve to be dressed as stylishly as their miniature canine peers. Their “Mellow-Yellow Raincoat” is an ideal gift for the wintertime.

The interior decorator on your gift list will adore Ortolan Organic products for the home. Based in NYC, the two sisters behind the brand produce luxurious, eco-friendly and organic products that are inspired largely by the classic nautical trend, and relics of small, country towns. Featured in magazines like House & Garden, Food and Wine Magazine and Marie Claire, we recommend mixing and matching a few of their items like their signature anchor and whale pillows.

Foodies and purveyors of anything just plain delicious will appreciate something from NYC based chocolatier, Roni-Sue’s Chocolate Shoppe. On any day you can find one of the famous homemade creations at their shop in the historic Essex Street Market on the Lower East Side in Manhattan.  Acclaimed for their chocolate covered bacon, (if at first you wince at the sound of this, one taste of their rendition and you’ll be a devout fan) their “Pig-Candy” (pictured above) will make anyone smile upon unwrapping the sweet and salty gift.

Discover more items from local designers and artists at the Made in NYC online holiday pop-up store

CT MUST DO: The Holiday Gift Show

The time has finally come for the annual Holiday Gift Show in the charming Rowayton Arts Center house. The RAC Center is located right along the scenic banks of the five mile river in Rowayton, Connecticut providing a cozy holiday feeling from the minute you walk into the building.

The Rowayton arts center has been around for 50 years now and is a place where people of all ages can meet, interact and create different forms of art together.  

If you are looking for unique and handmade holiday gifts or decorations made by artists and crafters for all ages- you have come to the right place! This year you will see handmade stars, holiday ornaments, wooden star santas, jewelry, pottery and more- all made by some of Fairfield’s most talented artists.

If you are a serious shopper you may work up an appetite, so check out one of Rowaytons best restaurants afterwards to finish off the night right.

Expanded Gallery hours for all Saturdays are 10:00am -5:00 pm. Tuesday through Friday and Sunday hours are 12:00 pm-5:00 pm. The show will even be open from 10:00 am-2:00 pm on Christmas Eve for those last minute shoppers.

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