Daily Archives: July 2, 2012

As it is written

Muslim cop fired by supervisor who predicted that he’d file “a towelhead terrorist lawsuit”, files lawsuit. There’s no way to tell from the allegations in a legal complaint who is telling the truth but if this cop’s tale is even close to accurate then I hope he wins big damages. But it does remind me of the law suit (true story) of a NYC lawyer who was rejected as a tenant because the landlord told her he didn’t rent to lawyers, they were too litigious. She promptly proved him right by suing him.

She lost her case – a judge ruled that lawyers were not a special class deserving protection under New York’s fair housing law, but unfortunately and not unexpectedly, the lawyers who comprise the NY assembly responded by adding lawyers to the protected class. Bah humbug.

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Say goodbye to all that

New Jersey Tudor

Island Surveyor confirms that 17 Meadowcroft is slated for demolition. He’s troubled by that, I’m not, and here’s why:

The house sat on the market for 508 days and no one wanted it. How long should a property owner be expected to pay taxes on and maintain a house so that neighbors can drive by and enjoy its architecture? I think 500 days is enough; if someone wanted to save this 1929 structure, he had plenty of time to do so.

On a related note, between its 2005 and 2010 renovations, this mock Tudor was completely modernized: the kitchen was brought up to date, and the bathrooms and the mechanicals, so if anyone wanted to live here, its condition was not an issue. But Tudors are lousy houses to live in – the craze for building them in America was just another unfortunate diversion in American architectural style that has now passed, and I won’t miss it. Small leaded windows, dark, narrow hallways, undersized rooms, poor layout; all the hallmarks of a Tudor, all unwanted now.

Meadowcroft Lane, once one of the prettiest streets in Greenwich, lost all its charm when Mark Mariani arrived with his bulldozers and his super-sized “Westchester-gauche” building design, a design that has now been stamped out and repeated all over town. If this Tudor is to be replaced by something resembling a Mariani well, at least Meadowcroft will have a uniform mediocrity now, instead of a few reminders of what it once was.

To my eye, the only new house that has dramatically improved our streetscape is that stunning contemporary perched on the rocks at 332 (? Somewhere up there) Stanwich Road. The rest of what’s gone up has either replaced 1960’s – 1980’s POS or older homes built in mock-euro styles for the newly arrived rich at the turn of the last century. A new crowd, a new style, but nothing’s really changed, and won’t.

So fire up that dozer and have at it.

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When something can’t keep on, it won’t

 

Grown up Wall Street Occupier

Slackers collecting federal disability payments at a record high – at 8 million plus, they’re a larger pool of people than the entire population of New York City or the state of New Jersey. The self-employed among us are paying 1.8% of our income to support this fraud while salaried workers see half their “contribution” buried as lowered wages.

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No, not from running the country, he hasn’t done that in years

 

In Kenya we say, “if you don’t want to see a problem, don’t look!”

Obama takes the week off from fund raising. “If they want to see me, Streisand and Clooney can damn well get in their jets and come here to Camp David! – well okay, if they’re gonna be on the Vineyard I might go, but otherwise ….”

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All you need is a couple of millionaires told they can’t have what they want

17 Meadowcroft Lane, a 1929 mid-country mansion with just 3.97 acres of its original land remaining, sold for $8.7 million in 2009, was extensively remodeled and redone and put back up for sale in 2010 at $10.795. Not a buyer in sight, it finally lowered its price to $8.5 million and struck gold in the form of two people who wanted the same thing. It went to contract in April and sold today for $9.391 million. Even at that, the sellers may well have lost a bit of money on this deal, but not much. Gotta love a bidding war.

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Blame tax cutting for wildfire damage

That’s the new meme, first espoused on these pages by Dollar Bill and now on Bloomberg. Because of “Tea Party” demands, Colorado Springs has fewer firefighters and policemen these days and because of that, damages from fire and crimes by looters increased.

So what did this draconian tax cut demand? That government spending increase no more than inflation and population growth. Excuse me? The alternative, as practiced by Stockton, California and Chicago, Illinois and most other cities around the country, is to keep increasing spending with no intention of paying for it.

[Mayor] Bach said the city is on the path toward financial implosion anyway because of overly generous pensions and too many parks.

“Forget the fire,” said the mayor, whose office has an easel with a chart depicting Colorado Springs’s financial status, after a briefing on the blaze June 30. “At our current cost curve, we’ll be insolvent in eight years.”

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Riverside is still selling

 

NYT photo

18 Spring Street listed at $1.695 has an accepted offer after just 5 days. That’s quick in any market, any time of year, but especially encouraging (for Riverside homeowners) now, during the dog days.

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Well this sucks

NOAA forced to declare that mermaids don’t exist. Elvis and Generalissimo Franco are still dead, the Easter Bunny was poisoned by Farmer MacGregor years ago and Obama’s not going to pay your mortgage.

Anderson Cooper, on the other hand, is as queer as the three-dollar-bill we knew him to be. Bottoms up!

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Club Road antique goes up for sale

Road show

Well 1924 hardly merits the term “antique”, but in any event 50 Club Road was listed today for $3.895. Trulia has it all wrong of course, including an estimate of $2.8 value and a last sale date of 1999, missing its 2005 sale, after a complete renovation, for $3.150. It sold in just 10 days back then; I’ll be curious to see if it repeats. Great piece of land, but I always thought the house itself was just an elongated noodle. But it sells.

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Ethics at the GAR

It’s not worth naming names here because her actions certainly don’t change my opinion of her, but last Friday I tried to make n appointment to show a property listed on the MLS and was informed that the tenant in the unit refused to let it be shown. Today it’s reported as having an accepted offer. Either the tenant had a change of heart Sunday or there was an offer pending on Friday but the agent, not wanting to disclose that, chose instead to blame a third-party tenant for the property’s inaccessibility. Defame an innocent party to preserve secrecy? That’s not nice.

Former President of the GAR and almost certainly, were I to bother to check, recipient at some point of the “GAR Realtor of the Year” award.

Figures.

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Another accepted offer, this one in Riverside

The San Francisco look

27 Leeward Lane, asking $4.3 million. Back in January I expressed doubt about its original price of $4.875 million and it seems home buyers shared that skepticism.

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Eco-terrorism

I blame Bush!

No doubt encouraged and enraged by the New York Time’s call for the elimination of air conditioning, misguided fool does something about it and holds air conditioning repairman at gunpoint.

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Sale price reported

Prudential

33 White Birch Lane (off top of Cat Rock), asked $1.089 million and got $870,000, which seems like a fair price to me. I have no way of knowing, of course, but I wonder sometimes whether a homeowner’s loud, public opposition to a project next door – in this case, the Stanwich School expansion, doesn’t come back to bite him when he goes to sell his home. If you’ve been quoted saying that a project is going to flood and ruin your property, the project goes forward and you then put your house up for sale, do prospective home buyers remember?

Just asking.

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Nothing like a fresh start

Welcome to the wrecker’s ball

Hamptons house built too far back to allow backyard and pool, so (after a call to the builder’s error and omissions carrier, no doubt), they declare  it a Mulligan.

Someone buy that foreman a tape measure.

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Accepted offer

Shoe box

12 Hendrie Avenue, Old Greenwich, asking $1.3 million. It’s on 0.12 of an acre in the R-12 zone so by my math its 2,000 sq.feet already exceeds the maximum FAR allowance of 1,600. It will be grandfathered so nothing need be taken away but there will be nothing to add here, either. But a nice street, decent house.

300 Taconic Road, two acres in the 4 acre zone, is back on the market at $2.150 million. It last sold in 2000 for $2.4 million, asked but didn’t get $2.6 in 2009 and has been on and off the market ever since.

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Don’t do it!

The Law school bubble:

WALTER RUSSELL MEAD: Student Loan Program Pumps Legal Ed Bubble: For Now.

From the admirably thorough if sometimes forbidding info that Hastings provides, a few facts jump out. The first is the staggering rise in the cost of law school tuition over the last decade, even as total applications to the school fell by nearly a third, and as employment opportunities for newly-minted JDs collapsed during the same period. As the report highlights, Hastings’ tuition revenue nearly doubled from 2003 to 2011, while in-state tuition at the institution more than doubled, from $21,000 to $47,000 from 2004 to 2012.

But the story gets bleaker. For those readers just starting college this fall but considering law school (i.e. starting in the 2016-2017) academic year or who have kids in this position, total non-resident tuition and fees at Hastings by then is projected to rise to nearly $59,000 per year. Taking into account living expenses, that means that the average graduate of Hastings – who, the school’s administration freely admits, face difficulty getting jobs in a Bay Area market where Stanford and Berkeley graduates dominate – will face nearly $200,000 in non-dischargeable student loan debt. That’s the kind of number that we at Via Meadia are referring to when we talk about a War on the Young.

It would be one thing if all of these naïve liberal arts graduates were paying for the privilege of a Hastings education with money from the family vaults. But they’re not. Close to 100 percent of the tuition that students paid was financed by federal loans, like the Stafford, Perkins, and GRADPLUS programs. The student loan system is effectively allowing Hastings to raise its tuition beyond any reasonable or sustainable point and it is encouraging students to make bad investments — in much the same way federal debt programs encouraged the housing bubble of the last decade.

(Law) Professor Reynolds adds, “I’m not saying don’t go to law school. I’m saying don’t borrow money to go to law school.” I’d go him one better and say what he won’t: don’t go to law school.

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From the air conditioned headquarters of the New York Times, a question:

Fan delivery in India – back to the future!

Should air conditioning in the third world be “rationed away”? Those pesky Chinese and Indians are beginning to be able to afford air conditioning and the Church of The Holy Gaia doesn’t like it.

But doing without power in this country doesn’t seem so popular, with many elected officials in the D.C. area quite steamed at the prospect of doing without it for the next seven days.

As the author of the original linked-to post comments, “Al Gore’s mansion could not be reached for comment”.

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