Daily Archives: April 23, 2012

Tesi abandons Cos Cob


New digs for Greenwich's First Selectman, proving that crime does pay

Buys house at 4 Indian Pass, next to the pizza place. Well, Greenwich’s loss is Cos Cob’s gain, I suppose. Nice house, but it took a year to find a buyer.  Tesei paid $1.2540, $208,000 less than its sales price in 2005.


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Well they do buy in bulk

Woman’s torso accidentally delivered to Costco headquarters.


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Absolutely brilliant

Twit twits last Tweet

Commenting on my previous post about the Chicago dummy electrocuted while pissing on the subway’s third rail, Reader Mazma writes in with an observation and, better yet, what could be the best idea seen on these pages since Walt’s screenplay treatment.

I enjoyed the additional details on this incident as reported elsewhere:

“At the time of his death, McKee was working toward his undergraduate degree in political science and government at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne… (any guess on which side of the political spectrum this, statistically speaking, places him?) McKee’s Twitter page indicated that he was in Chicago for the weekend, and that he had attended a Cubs game at Wrigley Field and visited restaurants in Chinatown… Before his death, McKee tweeted, “There’s no stopping us right now.””

Thus a new genre of quotations is born: famous last tweets.



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Palisades Amusement Park, swings all day and after dark!

Today I accused Jeremy Kaye, Esq. of planning yet another vacation, this time to Palisades Amusement Park and of course the mere mention of the name immediately brought to mind that god-awful jingle of the 60’s that played on AM radio, all day (“and after dark!”) for years. Only the advent of FM radio spared my generation from, or at least mitigated, serious, permanent brain damage. I know you can’t have forgotten the lyrics but just in case early Alzheimer’s has struck …

Palisades has the rides…

Palisades has the fun…

Come On Over.

Shows and dancing are free…

so’s the parking, so gee…

Come On Over.

Palisades from coast to coast,

where a dime buys the most.

Palisades Amusement Park,

Swings all day and after dark

(bumm, baa, dumm, bumm, bummmm)

Ride the coaster… Get cool…

 In the waves in the pool.

You’ll have fun… so…

Come On Over.

 (dumm de dum da dum… dum)



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Waiting for buyers

Another day but not another dollar. Six accepted offers on single family homes reported today, ranging from $1.650 to $529,000.6 Price cuts, $2.595 to $599,000 (and don’t you wnder why, if the more expensive homes aren’t selling, they aren’t cutting their prices? They can’t all be friends of Barry Sternlicht).5 New listings, $1.695 highest, then dropping to $850,000 and finishing at $649,000.This keeps up and we’re going to start looking like the real estate market in Cleveland, NTTAWWT.


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(with apologies to InstaPundit) They told me that if I voted for McCain, tired old commie rats would be barred from the White House

Oh, Barry, you don't love me anymore!

And they were right! Susan Sarandon denied entry to White House. Hope, but no change.


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My money says he was

Speaking truth to power (line)

Man (Occupy Chicago leader?) electrocuted while peeing on subway tracks.

“It is not clear whether McKee was intoxicated at the time of his death.”

(H/T, Richard French)


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Every politician loves new, but there’s no photo-op for maintenance

No, they aren't celebrating a new bridge deck

Metro-North draw bridges, 100 years old, are failing. bad news for boaters who count on those bridges to rise and permit access to open water, worse news for rail riders when these things, inevitably, fail completely and fall down.

This reminds me of Social Security, whose trustees just announced today that we drew three years closer to bankruptcy in just the past year. Cutting benefits or raising FICA taxes is unpopular so kick the can down the road and hope you’re long gone (Medicare Disability runs out of money in 2016, Soc. Security, 2030 and dropping fast) when disaster arrives.

Private property owners don’t let their buildings lose their value: witness the refurbishment of the Empire State Building, the complete replacement of the HVAC system (tens of millions of dollars) in Boston’s John Hancock building. Not so with public roads, bridges and dams, where there’s no incentive for politicians to spend a dime keeping them going. Oh, that awful profit motive! If only we got rid of greedy capitalists we could have loving, caring politicians making sure we are safe.

Thirty percent of federal transportation funds dedicated to bridges goes toward new, 13% to repair and maintenance and of that, states are free to, and do, divert 50% to “other uses”.  Don your Swimmies before driving over the next bridge.


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No politics here, just wonderment at how sick some people are

Two morons build, set deadly booby traps on trail. Cops caught them by checking Face Book, naturally, an increasingly common phenomenon. Once when leaving the Stamford Criminal Court building I remarked to a colleague that our clients were frigging idiots. “If they weren’t so stupid”, he pointed out, “we’d be out of business.”  He had a point.


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Al Qaeda must be quaking in its counterfeit boots


Save the Republic, buy terror-proofed certified clothing only!

Capping off a 2 1/2 year investigation, Department of Homeland Security agents raid Baltimore flea market, seize knock-off football jerseys.

Was this really what Americans had in mind when we authorized spending billions of dollars to create and maintain the DHS?


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If this is the spring market, I can hardly wait for fall

It's not dead, it's just resting!

The past thirty days saw 175 price reductions and just 67 accepted offers. I think buyers should be concentrating on older listings whose owners have at least begun to get real, rather than new listings. Not always; there are exceptions, but most of the new listings coming on are priced as though it’s 2006.


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Where’s the outrage from the ACLU?

Pothead prepares to vote

California is now dispensing pot from vending machines but the racist Nazis are demanding personal ID from the users! Oh, the humanity!

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I just heard something similar from one of my own clients this weekend

But then who will pay those taxes?

From InstaPundit:

UPDATE:  A hedge-fund reader emails:  “Professional financial market activity is also way down these days. The drop in volumes is damning. The Fed’s financial repression – forcing market yields below inflation – is one reason. The tsunami of administration diktats is another. And the Chinese-style theft of customer account capital by John Corzine and JP Morgan is the last nail in the coffin. The economics of investing make little sense, and even if you can thread the needle of profitability, you risk having your property seized by regime buddies. Why do anything with your money but stash it under the mattress, or try to get it offshore?”

Dollar Bill and the Occupiers will be dancing in the street now, but maybe not so happy in a few years.

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So how’s he doing?

Back in 2009 I passed along a Bloomberg story that Greenwich resident, Starwood honcho Barry Sternlicht was “betting on a rebound in Greenwich real estate values and so raised the price of his Old Mill Road property $455,000, from $5495 to $5.995 million.

“We increased it because we felt like we were giving it away,” and there was interest in the property, Sternlicht’s broker, Jean Ruggiero of William Raveis Real Estate, said in an interview. “Just because people are lowering their price doesn’t mean it’s right, because he’s not a desperate seller.”

The listing expired in January 2010 and is, so far as I know, still empty, still unsold, and Mr. Sternlicht is still waiting for that rebound.


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You can’t take it with you but your heirs want it now

11 Flower Lane

11 Flower Lane, a dead end over by Upland, is a 1955 house on $1.5 acres and was originally listed in 2008 for the ridiculous price of $2.7 million. I hope the owner didn’t need the money because of course the place didn’t sell and the poor lady eventually died. There’s a new broker now and the estate has cut the price to $1.415 million. For this location, I’d think a young family looking for a decent house on some very nice land might find it a bargain. Maybe put $200, $300,000 into it and you’d be into an excellent neighborhood for not, by Greenwich standards, a whole lot of money.

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Condo living dreaming

Another unit at 20 Church Street is back, this one a three bedroom for $1.175 million. Owner paid $700,000 for it in 2003, renovated it and asked $1.790 for it in 2005. It didn’t sell then and I don’t think its new price will do the trick now. There are seven units for sale in this 1945 building, priced from $425,000 to $699,000, and then there’s this one, asking $400,000 more than the next most expensive.

Biggest problem afflicting this place and one that seems to be preventing it from capturing the value you’d think would attach to such a convenient location (just a couple of blocks from the Avenue) is the assessment. This unit’s listing is mum on the issue but the $699,000 apartment, just two bedrooms, pays $1,144 per month: $309 regular and $735 special). Presumably this three bedroom is assessed even more. Plus $80 per month for a garage space. Add all that up and potential buyers are obviously figuring out that there are better values in town, and one that isn’t across the street from Gabrielli’s, nee Luca’s Steak House which, to hear the residents of 20 Church on the subject at every Planning & Zoning hearing, is a pestilent presence that offers nothing but constant late-night noise, illegal parking and traffic.


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It may not be truly “affordable housing, but here’s a post-foreclosure price less than the original owner dreamed of

19 Licata

19 Licata Terrace was originally sold for $980,00 in 2006, the existing house torn down and a new one partially built before being lost to foreclosure in 2010.It’s back now, completed, asking $1.695, down considerably from the failed builder’s 2009 price of $2.395.

Those Greenwich residents familiar with Jimmy Licata, who was associated with this street (but not this house) will appreciate the irony of yet another builder going bust here.

UPDATE: Maybe it was a Licata project – I said as much back in 2009, when the story was still fresh in my mind.


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Housing bust lingers in Stamford – and green doesn’t sell at a premium

“Windemere on the Lake” , a planned-for 24-house “green” development on 75 acres  in north Stamford, is still struggling and its new owner has a date with the Stamford P&Z to discuss new plans. Only four of those homes were ever sold and their buyers doubtless regret their enthusiasm. The first developer went bust, foreclosure followed with a new developer stepping in and house prices, which  were originally in the high$2’s, low 3’s, fell  to $1.650 : there’s still room to drop.

Should [new owner] Rizzuto be granted the extension, he faces the challenge of building in a marketplace that has dramatically changed since Windermere was first approved.

In 2008, starting prices on the homes were listed at $3.2 million.

Of the four units that were sold between 2009 and 2011, three fetched $2 million or more.

A website for the development currently lists prices as beginning at $1.65 million.

Martin Nirschel, a real estate broker withWeichert Realtorsin Stamford, said the prospect of selling 20 homes at once is unlikely.

Although there have been signs of life in the high-end market, he said, “These things don’t sell like they used to.”

He added that nowadays the price for a 4,000 square foot house in North Stamford tops out at $1.5 million.

“That’s the new paradigm for new luxury homes,” he said.

I’m familiar with this project because I’d rented the original house one summer to a personal trainer and his entourage, come from California to assist a famous Knicks star try to rehabilitate his knee (didn’t work, the poor guy had to retire that fall). It was a truly beautiful place, although that “lake” is in fact a cute little pond, so when the first houses went up I drove to an open house there (191 Erskine Road) to see. Even back then at the height of the boom, I was astonished that the developer hoped to get such high prices in north Stamford. The marketing emphasis was all about how eco-friendly the project was – 50 acres of the 75 set aside for conservation/open space, cluster housing, bamboo floors, non-toxic paint and National Public Radio tote bags given out at closing (okay, I’m kidding about that last item) and while I was relatively new to this business, I’d yet to see a buyer pay a premium for such things. A decade later, I still haven’t.


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