Daily Archives: August 12, 2008

We’re all going to die

So Give your money to the government. It’s stories like this that give global warming a bad name. That and OwlGore’s mansions, planes, houseboats and limousines, of course.

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WWTDD?

That means, of course, “what would The Donald do?”. I don’t believe Mr. trump has stepped foot in town since he abandoned the fair Ivana but even the master of bankruptcy might be stumped by the challenge of unloading certain land on Quaker Lane, way up off Riversville Road. This is a very nice parcel of land with a couple of old caretaker cottages but it’s been kicking around for quite awhile. (Mr.Andrew Kissel may have had eye on it but if so he permanently lost interest in further projects after his misadventure on Dairy Road – the new house built where Kissel’s body was discovered remains unsold, bye the bye, despite being marked down $10.750 to $8.950. Market conditions or psychological impact? I don’t know).

The land was listed for $1.995 Million in April of ’04 and sold for $1.650 in February of ’05. So far, so good, but it was returned to market in April ’07 for $2.495 and some of us, noticing that nothing much had been done to the buildings and that the land itself hadn’t expanded thought, “huh?”. The marketplace agreed and the price gradually kept dropping until, as the listing expired this past April, it could have been had for $1.995. Now it’s back with a new broker and the price has been edged back up a jot to $1.999 million. I guess the new broker thinks things have improved since April.

I repeat that this is very nice land and will make someone a great building site but I suspect that the 2005 sales price marked its high water mark, at least for the foreseeable future. Time will tell and apparently, the seller has lots of that.

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No taxes for NYC

Mortgage losses are so large that many Wall Street firms won’t be paying NY City income taxes for years according to the Bloomberg article linked above. That’s probably bad news for Connecticut, too.

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Oil Prices fall as demand drops

Don’t tell the Demmerkrats, but this is how the market place works. Too bad that the same underlying principle applies to real estate.

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Buck teeth? Not on Chinese television!

Good Lord, it turns out that a Chinese government official nixed the appearance on TV of a little girl who has buck teeth (picture and story above). Spring for some braces, comrade.

There are lots of reasons I haven’t watched a single minute of the Olympics and this just adds to them.

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Off to open houses

It’s Tuesday morning, so it’s time to spend some gas and see what’s new today (not much and, despite gasoline dropping to $4.19 a gallon in Cos Cob, it remains a commodity I am increasingly reluctant to consume, so I’m picky about what I see). One listing that caught my eye is five acres on Wooddale, off of Lake: 5 acres in a 2 acre zone, with a 1952 contemporary by Minoru Yamasaki. I understand that the guy designed the Twin Towers which, despite their tragic ending, remain one of my least favorite examples of modern architecture.

In fact, this fellow seems to sum up much of what I don’t like about the past century’s architecture. According to Wikipedia,

His first significant project was the Pruitt-Igoe housing project in St. Louis, Missouri, 1955. Despite his love of Japanese traditional design, this was a stark, modernist concrete structure. The housing project experienced so many problems that it was demolished in 1972, less than twenty years after its completion. Its destruction is considered by some to be the beginning of postmodern architecture.

I can’t say I’m any more enthusiastic about postmodernism (you suspected that from my politics, didn’t you?) but tearing down malfunctioning ugly buildings certainly has my support.

Update: Here’s more on the Pruitt-Igoe housing project.
And photos here.

Update: It’s actually a very nice modern house, 1950’s style. Lots of glass providing great views of the surrounding lawns and woods, a simple layout and a very quiet, understated place, all in all. Of course, it will never survive the wrecker’s ball, so I’m glad I had a chance to see it before it’s scraped into a dumpster.

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Code Pink Marches to Georgia!

Well they haven’t exactly announced anything like that but given their outrage of a few years ago (link above) I expect to see them off any day now.
More here

Or perhaps they’re off to Moscow hospitals?

Or Washington!

Update: Never mind – turns out, it’s all Bush’s fault.

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Tear down of the week


This house at 12 St. Claire Avenue in Old Greenwich sold in a bidding war this past April for $3 million and change. I was, and remain astonished, because I don’t think a builder could afford to pay so much for land and expect any kind of profit and a private homeowner will, I’d estimate, end up with a house costing somewhere around $5 million dollars. Will this street support that kind of value? The buyer obviously thinks so. In any event, another one is about to hit the dust.

Update: After inquiry, I learned that this 0.55 acres was held as two seperate lots, dating back to when Old Greenwich had much less restrictive zoning regulations. So, under the “grandfather rules” of zoning, the purchaser will be able to erect two houses where one now stands, even though he couldn’t do that today, were it one lot.

I still question the wisdom of paying $1,500,000 each for two 11,900 sq. ft. building lots on this street. One upside: the sight of two huge houses on two tiny lots should more than distract us from the loss of a nice old farmhouse.

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A surplus of phone books

Today’s dead tree edition of Greenwich Time has an AP story on the so-far-futile attempt by legislatures to permit homeowners to opt out of receiving 5000 phone books each year. The article isn’t avialable on line but while Googling for it I came across a similar article which I link to above. Most encouraging news” Bill Gates thinks the books will be obsolete in five years. Others aren’t as sanguine, because there’s lots of money generated by these things but for once, I’ll hope that Gates is right.

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Buying Foreclosed Homes in Bulk

Thanks to a reader I have a link to the story I mentioned yesterday. It’s found above.

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