October 7, 2005
Not On My Property, You Don’t!

I see in Greenwich Time that the residents of Deluca Drive, a private road somewhere in Cos Cob, mounted “fierce opposition” to successfully block a plan which would have diverted school children pedestrians from traffic-ridden Cognewaugh and shortened the walk to school by ten minutes (I didn’t realize children still walked to school, but that’s another matter). You can easily see the danger here: the North Mianus kids who would have used the street range from Kindergarten all the way up to Fifth Grade, an age group known to carry drugs, knives and weapons of mass destruction. One genius had the foresight to envision an even greater risk to her safety: “what if,” she wondered, “the next person who comes through has a double stroller?” One shudders at the prospect. So congratulations, Deluca Drive. Keep those kids dodging cars and protect your right to private property!

Another Constituency to Offend

Now that I’ve eliminated any possibility of gaining a listing on Deluca Drive, have you noticed that as gasoline prices spiral ever-higher the drives of Hummers are looking inscreasingly stupid? It’s like observing some dumb fat kid in school sporting a “kick me” sticker on his back. By the time gas hits $5 a gallon, these guys are going to look like complete, drooling idiots.

And Then There Are The Lawyers

As God’s chosen people, we lawyers tend to have large egos (surprise!). Most (some) of us manage to subsume ego gratification in order to get a deal done but I am surprised at the number of lawyers in town who treat real estate agents like dirt. They won’t come to the phone, refuse to return calls and don’t think there’s any purpose in keeping an agent appraised of the status of contract negotiations. This surprises me because it is we agents who send lawyers clients and not the other way around. We pick our referrals on the basis of competence, ability to keep the ego under control and we very much like lawyers who keep us in the loop. Hard as it is for lawyers to believe, we can often hold deals together, even when they’re doing their best to screw things up.

Green (Quarter) Acres

A reader wrote me recently expressing wonderment that anyone would want to live on a tiny lot in Riverside or Old Greenwich when, for the same money, she could enjoy a two acre parcel in the mid-country. A fair question and one that I sometimes ask myself but, because I grew up in Riverside and raised my own kids there, I can (and do) defend the place. It’s true that, priced by the square inch, the two neighborhoods offer probably the most expensive real estate in town, but with those small lots come benefits. Anyone who has spent her day (or, more likely, her nanny’s day) chauffeuring kids from the Back Country to play dates, school, sleepovers and the like might well appreciate the ability to shoosh her kids out the door and let them swarm through the neighborhood with their friends (but not, one hopes, on Deluca Drive). Kids can walk or ride bikes to school- although these days, they all seem to be accompanied by their Mommies, which makes me wonder is wrong with this country-stroll into Old Greenwich or go to the beach, all without parental supervision or bother. So yes, this area of town can seem a bit claustrophobic at times, but for families with children, it’s a pretty nice place to live.

Mansion Fatigue?

Judging from comments of many of my fellow agents, I think many Realtors are fed up with the big, boring houses builders insist on erecting. We aren’t buyers, though, so it’s possible there is still a demand for these things. Certainly, well built large homes like Jay Haverson’s new construction on Dublin Hill are selling, and quickly, but I wonder if potential buyers aren’t beginning to contemplate the huge effort required to maintain a 12,000 sq.ft. house. The furnace rooms alone in these houses look like (I imagine) the command center of a nuclear submarine. Then you have three hundred rooms to clean, five acres of yard to oversee, pools and pumps to break down and fix, etc. When I wondered in print what would happen to all these mansions once their owners grew tired of them one reader replied that, among her age group the joke was they had no fear of a future shortage of nursing homes in town. Heh. Six new houses priced at $7,500000 have sold this year, while 20 remain unsold. I think I’d sleep a lot better if I were building a $3,000,000 – $3,500,000 house in Riverside or Old Greenwich rather than a $9,000,000 house in the Back Country.

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