Daily Archives: March 12, 2007

Mail Boxes
I received a number of emails from readers squawking about the Old Greenwich Postmaster’s dictate that his carriers will no longer deliver mail on foot and that every household without a mailbox must have one by March 1st if they wish to continue to receive their mail. Has the Postmaster had ever tried digging a posthole in the middle of a Connecticut winter? The ground’s frozen this time of year, sir. By the way, I suppose that the Post office’s new motto will be something along the lines of, “neither rain, nor sleet nor fear of snow will keep us from our jeep’s window”. Not quite as inspiring as the original.

Parkway School
Parkway’s predicted extinction is casting a long shadow over sales in that area. Parents with kids in public school seem determined not to send those children to Glenville or Western – a prejudice that I believe is completely unfounded – so listings in the Parkway district are lingering, at least among public school buyers/parents. That’s a huge area of town to hang in limbo, and I hope a resolution is coming soon. My preference, even as a taxpaying resident of Riverside, is for Parkway to stay open. My political sources tell me, however that the school is 40% underutilized, feeds almost no students to Western Middle School and is therefore doomed. What happens if it closes? Where will those elementary students be sent and what about houses in the Parkway/Central district? Will the Central kids be shipped to Western? If you own a house in the Parkway area, count on your buyers being limited to private school parents or on owning the property until the situation clarifies.

505 Cognewaugh
Here’s a nifty house, listed by Krissy Blake (Prudential/ Brad Hvolbeck). A 1927 farmhouse that’s been completely redone and expanded, on an acre of beautiful land. The owners utilized some of my favorite things in redoing this house, including miniaturized air conditioning (essential if you’re dealing with plaster walls) and a “slate” roof made from recycled tires, great stuff which lasts forever. A brand new, modern kitchen, all top appliances and the house itself has been beautifully finished. It didn’t work for my clients (when the 6’4” husband ducked his head entering the old, low-ceilinged living room I suspected as much) but for short guys like me, just perfect. The living room is the exception, by the way: most of the house will accommodate even Allan Houston of the Knicks.

Riverside tops out?
As a life-long Riverside resident I have always touted this section of town as the perfect place to grow up and to raise a family. But recently, while showing houses to a Riverside family, I was struck by the huge disparity between what a dollar buys in Riverside and what you’ll get in the Mid-Country. Riverside and Old Greenwich have always been priced, per square inch, at the highest level and you get something for that: kids can walk to school and their friend’s houses, there’s a real feeling of neighborhood and, assuming you belong to either Riverside Yacht Club or Innis Arden, your playground is just around the corner. All that said, I sense that we’re a bit out of whack here in the eastern part of town and either prices will level off for a spell or other areas are going to rise. Riverside has always been bomb-proof and I think that will continue but I wouldn’t count on soaring appreciation until other parts of town catch up. Just one man’s opinion, of course, and one from someone who’s often wrong.

Six Frigates
For history buffs, this new book by Ian Toll recounting the founding of the U.S. Navy is a great read. Mr. Toll is, I guess, an amateur historian (he once worked as an analyst for the Federal Reserve, which greatly increases my respect for that institution) but he’s collected all sorts of well and little-known facts into a compelling story of the navy. The bickering, back-stabbing and second-guessing that went on during this period of 1795-1815 will be strikingly familiar to anyone living now during our current war, and the descriptions of Decatur’s battles against the Barbary pirates and the Brits are well told. It’s not on U-Tube, yet, so you’ll have to actually read it, but there are pictures.

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