Daily Archives: May 9, 2013

Multi-millionaire can’t visit the troops on Mother’s day because of sequestration

You expect ME to pay for that flight?

You expect ME to pay for that flight?

Yes, that would be poor little Nancy Pelosi, who claims to have cancelled her overseas trip to buck up the troops when she learned she’d have to pay for it out of her own pocket. “Troop morale is so important”, she explained, “and the boys and girls would suffer such emotional pain if they knew I was spending my husband’s money, that I just had to … I had to… sniff ….”

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How about sex with burros – is that still okay?

We won't tell the dean of students, eh, mi amigo?

We won’t tell the dean of students, eh, mi amigo?

Northwestern University’s warning to students against offending Mexicans on campus offends the Mexicans on campus. 

Northwestern University continued to stumble over diversity issues this week as Mexican students voiced disagreement with a campus wide letter that advised students not to celebrate Cinco de Mayo by engaging in racially-offensive activities, such as eating tacos and drinking tequila.

The letter was sent to students via e-mail, and published in The Daily Northwestern last week. [Non-Mexican] leaders of Alianza, a Latino student group, and the Associated Student Government called on students to remember that Cinco de Mayo commemorates Mexico’s victory over France in the Battle of Puebla. It is not a day to throw a sombrero-themed party, they said.

“Some of our peers choose to throw ‘Mexican-themed’ parties that are culturally insensitive, offensive, and detrimental to the Northwestern community,” said the letter, which noted that this was a problem year after year. “Drinking tequila shots, eating tacos, and wearing sombreros do not commemorate Mexican culture; on the contrary, that offends, marginalizes, and isolates many of our friends, classmates, and community members, and casts our entire community in poor light.”

Their recommendations were quite a shock to Northwestern students who actually came from Mexico. Several of them fired back recently.

“I’d like to say that I proudly embrace my tacos, tequila and sombreros,” wrote Ruben Antonio Marcos Bours, a Northwestern student, in a statement. “To me, they are a key part of my childhood, growing up in Monterrey, Mexico.”

Realizing that the letter was poorly received, representatives for Alianza and ASG confirmed that they are drafting a new letter that will better explain their position on Cinco de Mayo sensitivity.

“We’re not trying to pass judgement on the role tequila or tacos have in the Mexican culture,” said ASG president Ani Ajith.

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Sale prices reported, one more accepted offer

36 Dawn Harbor, 50 Sound View Drive (condo).

Hansel and Gretel meet Pinocchio?

Hansel and Gretel meet Pinocchio?

36 Dawn Harbor is a big custom job with a decent yard, for Riverside 2013. It came on at $7.350 million, which seemed a stretch, but has sold for $6.2. Not $7.350, but not cheap, either.

I don’t usually write about condominiums but the unsuccessful project on Sound View Drive (steepest hill in Greenwich?) intrigues me – who would buy into a half-finished, mostly empty complex? But one more is reported sold today by the broker to her own client, for $2.2 million. A steep discount from its 2007 price of $3.595, but cheap? I wouldn’t use that term: risky seems more apt.

26 Richmond Hill

26 Richmond Hill

On the land side, 26 Richmond Hill has an accepted offer, asking $1.695 million. I doubt it will sell for that much, unless the buyer’s from Bedford, but we know for sure that it didn’t sell when it was priced at $3.3 million in 2006. Seven years seems like a long time to conduct a market research trial, doesn’t it?

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A sizzling spring market in the lower range

Three more sales, three more accepted offers reported.

26 Daffodil

26 Daffodil

26 Daffodil Lane, Cos Cob, asked $2.175 million, sold for $1.9

19 Norton Lane

19 Norton Lane

19 Norton Lane, Hillcrest Park, asked $1.295, sold in a bidding war for $1.315. The prices of many of the properties sold this spring have baffled me, and none more so than this.

 

 

19 Connecticut Avenue, $1.625 million.

Among the accepted offers reported,

22 Stanwich Lane

22 Stanwich Lane

22 Stanwich Lane, $1.425, found a buyer instantly, as did

11 Bayside Terrace

11 Bayside Terrace

11 Bayside Terrace, $2.095, which I wrote about just last Thursday, and

16 Split Timber

16 Split Timber

11 Split Timber, NOPO, $1.395, which also came on last week. A perfectly decent, plain vanilla builder home from the 70s, on a slab. Zowie.

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A road apple doesn’t fall far from the tree

Do you love me now?

Do you love me now? Peter Brant, center, with unidentified models

One of the British princes is coming to Greenwich to play a bit of polo and the resident population of Anglo wannabees is losing its collective mind. Even Buddy Hackett Brant and Stephanie are excited. As the NYT observes, “[f]or many, it is a rare opportunity to glimpse a royal in a town whose richest residents have enough money to rival a monarch’s, yet lack the regal pedigree.”

Be still my fluttering hooves.

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Here’s a nasty bit of business

592 North Street is a bank owned property that’s been listed on the Connecticut MLS but not the Greenwich MLS for the past week or so. Why would a Greenwich property not be listed on the Greenwich MLS, where buyers and their agents would be most likely to see it? Perhaps because the broker agent doesn’t want people to see it? A broker persuades a bank to give him a listing for one of their foreclosed properties, then hides it from likely buyers while he finds his own buyer and doubles his commission. The bank, unaware of the existence of two separate listing services, is under the impression that its property is being fully marketed while of course, it is not. If the broker couples this subterfuge with a refusal to answer texts or voicemails requesting a showing, you can see how the system works.

Yesterday Raul Villacis, owner and agent of Advantage Real Estate, finally did list 592 North Street on the GMLS, showing it as an executed contract, with “0 days on market.” Congratulations, Raul, you’ve done it again.

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Taking a break from the debt crisis, Hartford Democrats turn to really important matters

Solving the state's problems, one drop at a time

Solving the state’s problems, one drop at a time

New legislation will allow more than four bottles at a time to be opened at wine tastings. Someone – not a Democrat – might have used the occasion of revisiting this urgent issue to ask why the government thought it was any of its business to count open wine bottles in the first place. This is not that government.

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Say, here’s a surprise: Harbor Point neighbors don’t want a large house to be built

Harbor Point petitions the P&Z

Harbor Point petitions the P&Z

The residents of Harbor Point, that very nice waterside community down at the end of Riverside’s Indian Head Road, are famously litigious, suing each other over driveway basketball poles, roof lines, any new construction at all if it will affect someone’s view and often, just for fun.

So it’s hardly news that the neighborhood turned out with pitchforks and torches at Tuesday night’s P&Z hearing to oppose William and Fran Deutsch’s plan to build a 10,000 sq. ft. maxi-pad on the very tip of the peninsula, screaming for blood. Even hardened land use lawyer Tom Heagney, representing the Deutsches, was taken aback. Addressing commission member Frankly Ernest, Heagney said:

“Frankly when they met with some of the neighbors 10 days ago they were appalled by some of those neighbors’ behavior,” Heagney said. “It gave them great pause as to whether, frankly, if they want to live there.”

For once, I have a certain sympathy for the Harbor Point residents in their opposition to change, because the Deutsch’s proposed mansion will replace an unobtrusive, single-story contemporary that has occupied the point in quiet obscurity since the 1960s. The Deutsch house will tower over the area: picture John Paul Tudor Jones’s house casting the Belle Haven clubhouse into shadow, and you get the affect. But perhaps the association should have bought that property itself and preserved the view long ago: no one who pays $13 million for a piece of land as the Deutsches did is likely to want to live in a modest piece of modern architectural history, so this development should have been expected. “Buy your view” is always good advice.

On the other hand, there is a certain schadenfreude in all this: the Deutsches bought this property directly from the seller without the benefit of a blood sucking real estate agent. Nothing improper about that, of course, but had they used an agent with some local knowledge they would have learned of Harbor Point’s long history of blocking new houses and the animosity that would be spewed onto anyone daring to try it. I know of one would be buyer who walked from a substantial deposit years ago after months of fighting and being blackballed at the Riverside Yacht Club  because, he said ” I don’t want to live where everyone hates me”. And at least two potential buyers for this property passed on it for the same reason. The (doctor) who lost his deposit was taken by surprise by the antipathy because he was new to town – the others, life-long Riverside residents, were fully aware of Harbor Point’s attitude and didn’t take the risk.

There’s also the bonus feature of this particular spot, one that I mentioned last summer, when news of its purchase was first reported: the peninsula the present house sits on offers the best underwater rock structure and thus the most attractive waters for striped bass along the entire Greenwich shoreline. The rocks draw fish and the fish draw fishermen, who on most summer nights, depending on the tides, anchor 25 yards offshore from midnight to dawn and fish. The soft lights from their craft, the quiet murmuring of radios, the occasional calls out to each other with progress reports and excited yelling when there’s a fish on provide a wonderful ambience to the pescatorial set; for the unhappy owner of a $25 million mansion 75-feet away, perhaps not so much.

I’d have told the Deutsches all this, but they never asked.

26 Pilot Rock

26 Pilot Rock

UPDATE: Hey, they weren’t kidding about selling the place. Listed today, at $16.9 million.  I’m not sure why they should get $3.6 million above what they paid for it, just for finding out that the place is surrounded by unpleasant people, but perhaps the price is negotiable.

UPDATE II: saw it at today’s open house and was reminded, again, that this is the most spectacular piece of waterfront in Greenwich, with views stretching from the NYC skyline to the southwest to way, way up Long Island Sound to the east. Well worth sharing with a few fishermen.

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