Daily Archives: November 6, 2012

While awaiting election results here’s a bit of real estate news

50 Londonderry

Two Contracts, 50 Londonderry, asking $1.795 and 19 Benjamin Street in Old Greenwich,  $1.975. Londonderry last sold in 2003 for $1.729, so that seems about right and Benjamin? I’ve almost given up making sense of Old Greenwich prices these days.

19 Benjamin Street

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Talk about a home owner being underwater

 

Kitchen waterfront?

20 East Point Lane, a rental listing on the way to Tod’s Point, has been taken off the market temporarily, presumably to give the pumps time to do their magic. I understand the losses suffered by homeowners down there and I feel for them, but this description seems ironically apt: “Fall asleep to the surf and under the stars…”. Ow.

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Speaking of Russian subs …

HMS Conqueror, off Falkland Islands

Earlier today I mentioned to Cos Cobber the story of the British sub HMS Conqueror’s snatching a top-secret listening device from its Soviet counterpart. I Googled around a bit and found the article that caught my eye. It’s a fascinating tale and well worth reading while awaiting election results and learning the fate of the world. Here’s a brief sample:

Cutting a towed-array cable and making it look like an accidental loss was no easy task. Before Conqueror was fitted with the television-guided pincers, her sister ship HMS Churchill had tried to steam through an array to sever it from the towing ship. She was damaged and depth-charged for her pains. Conqueror made two attempts to use the pincers, in the Barents Sea and the Mediterranean, before her final attempt in August.

“When crews heard about these pincers, everybody thought it was absolutely crazy,” says Prebble. “Their use demanded the most brilliant seamanship, coming up from below into the array’s blind spot and edging towards the cutting point only a few yards from the tow ship. The pincers were designed to gnaw rather than slice cleanly to give the impression that the array had snagged on an underwater obstacle and been torn off.”

There, then, was Wreford-Brown, staring though his periscope that August night. The TV cameras were useless until a few inches from the target, so black was the Arctic water. Wreford-Brown and his officers had to fall back on mental arithmetic to calculate their distance from the target.

“That was the genius of the exercise,” says Prebble. “There is a way of approaching the blind spot that involves going deep and then coming up at an angle, literally below the vessel.”

The trawler’s propeller was feet away from Conqueror’s hull. A momentary miscalculation and a collision was inevitable. But nerves held and a connection was made. The pincer blades gnawed, and in seconds that seemed like hours the array was freed. Clamps held on to the cable as Conqueror dropped away to a safe depth, trailing the array by her side.

“Everyone in the control room was tense,” says one of those present. “We were expecting at any time that we would be discovered and were ready to run, if necessary.”

None of the crewmen who spoke to Prebble was prepared to confirm Conqueror’s position but the suspicion is that the operation took place inside Soviet territorial waters, just three miles from the coast. If discovered, the sub would have faced attack from Russian air and naval units. Once Conqueror reached a safe distance, divers were sent out to secure the array. The submarine later surfaced so that they could swim out again to haul the device aboard and bundle it in the hull.

Did the crew of the AGI know what had happened? Even if they suspected foul play it would not have been in their interests to admit it to their superiors. A sojourn in the gulag might have followed.

Immediately after Conqueror reached her base on the Clyde, the array was put on to an aircraft and sent for analysis in the United States. It is said that the name Conqueror was whispered with a certain reverence in the Pentagon for some time afterwards.

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Put this judge on the Supreme Court

At least the Connecticut Supreme Court, where the need is so great.

Woman who drove on sidewalk to pass school bus ordered to wear “Idiot” sign around her neck. I’m aware that public humiliation in the stocks fell from fashion years ago, but why not bring it back? It’s cheaper than putting people in jail, just as, if not more effective, and must surely serve as a most excellent deterrent for others.

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Not every accepted offer goes on to fruition

 

Bed bugs?

26 North Street, asking $5.695 million and reported as having an accepted offer last month is back for sale and on today’s limited (3 houses, total – I’m not going out) open house tour. A FWIW reader said this had happened and blamed it on a failed building inspection but I don’t know that. But it is available again, for whatever reason.

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Heeeere’s Jaboozi!

True to his threat, King Shmir Jaboozi, last remnant of the once-feared Black Panther party, has reprised his 2008 intimidation act and is back at a Philadelphia polling place. Look for more of this as the day wears on, unless King boards that Russian sub and sails back to the motherland.

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AHA! Real estate transactions trickle in

25 Sherwood

Three sales of note, including 25 Sherwood Avenue which sold for $11 million. That sounds like a lot and it is, but it sold in 2009 for $18.9 million, so that must hurt.

And up in Conyers Farm, 25 Hurlingham Drive sold for $4.7 million. 13 acres and a house. Much of those 13 acres are woods and wetlands and readers here didn’t seem to care for the house but my oh my, $4.7 seems pretty cheap to me.

On a brighter note, at least for sellers, 108 Sheephill Road, a quarter acre in an area not usually considered as prestigious as Conyers Farm, sold in a bidding war for $585,000 on an asking price of $547,000. This scrap of land sat unwanted for 335 days and then two or more buyers seem to have shown up simultaneously. Buyers tend not to believe it when this happens but it does, and more frequently than you might think. Your agent’s not shucking you.

There were seven accepted offers reported while the lights were out but they ranged from $534,000 ask to $1.995 and none are of particular interest to me (the buyers’ opinion will differ), so they don’t make the cut. (I do know of one accepted offer in the $4 million range that’s gone to executed contract and is of interest, to me, but the listing broker hasn’t reported it yet – more on that later, maybe.)

29 Ridge: quick change artist?

29 Ridge Street, on the other hand, does catch my eye. Sellers paid $1.280 million for it less than a month ago and now have relisted it for $1.650 after, they say, a “renovation”. I haven’t seen the place yet and perhaps the plumbing’s been replaced with gold fixtures and a Maybach’s been deposited in the garage (if it has a garage), but just getting a building permit takes longer than 30 days, so I’m curious to see what’s been done here.

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