Not content with holding Mel Gibson’s 75 acre, $39,000,000 listing, Joe Barbieri (Sotheby’s), just in time for Christmas, has listed a New York/Stamford property of some 264 acres for $95,000,000. The main house has a disappointingly small number of bedrooms (8) and baths (10.4) but the “dependencies” include 5 guest/staff residences, so I suppose there’s enough room to put up guests during the holidays. Until now, I thought dependencies were those kids of mine in college – who knew? I was unable to reach Joe for confirmation but rumor has it that this was the former estate of Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, owner of the New York Times and, of course, champion of the little people. It must be nice to be so rich and have such compassion for the poor.
6 Stanwich Lane
Tracy Vaccari (Round Hill Partners) recently listed this house for $2,350,000, which seems like a good price to me. Stanwich Lane is a quiet little road that loops off of and returns to lower Stanwich, very close to town. This is a nicely renovated 1929 Colonial with a decent yard and there are comparable sales up and down the street to support its price. The owner has, perhaps unwisely, filled the place with beautiful antiques that must have fit in wonderfully in their previous home on Round Hill Road but serve here mainly to make the house appear smaller than it is. Forget that: the antiques will leave with their owner and you’ll have a very nicely sized home, with lots of room, at what passes in Greenwich as an affordable price. Go see it.
If you weren’t one of the 10,000 swells invited to the beach party at Bali, cheer up – there’s plenty of opportunity to stay right here in the USA, preserving your carbon footprint, and make your own inane statements about our changing climate. I just heard some fool in Iowa, for instance, opine to NPR that Iowa had never had an ice storm before (in the history of the world, presumably) and that global warming was therefore to blame for her recent discomfort. For all I know, there may be some grain of truth in this global warming stuff (although it’s snowing outside my window as I write); blaming every single weather event on the supposed phenomenon, however, isn’t going to convince me.
I’ve split and stacked wood since I was a young lad and made a specialty of it when I lived in Maine, where I bought 20’ logs, bucked them into stove-wood lengths, and stacked them in all sorts of exotic shapes (ask me about the beehive pile, perfectly designed to let air flow through the drying logs). I learned through the decades what a cord of wood – 4’X 8’X 4’ looks like, so I’ve disappointed since returning to town in 1983 by the short-changing that goes on here by our local dealers. They charge for full cords and deliver “face cords” which are, at best, 4’X 8’X 2. When wood was relatively cheap I just sighed, changed dealers and went on with life. But I just paid $200 a cord to have wood delivered to my pal Nancy and my mother and I’m mad as Hell to see that, even at that price, the dealer won’t deliver what he promised. They say that firewood burns you twice: once when you split it and again when it burns. I’m no longer splitting wood but I’m definitely doing a slow burn when I look at these pitiful piles of “cordwood”. I’ve called the dealer and, at this writing, am waiting to see whether he’ll accept my invitation to meet him at the scene of the crime with a tape measure (he tells me that his men delivered 236 pieces at each house-I told him I didn’t order pieces, I ordered cords). If that doesn’t work out, he’ll learn why he shouldn’t short-change a lawyer with time on his hands and a background in wood stacking. The lesson in all this, if there is one, is to watch out for the seeming ubiquitous practice around here of selling face cords at full cord prices. It’s too much to hope that you’ll get cured wood – they cut this stuff six months before, which doesn’t do the trick – but you should at least get the volume you paid for.