Daily Archives: September 17, 2013

♫ Back in the saddle, again

326 Cognewaugh326 Cognewaugh, $1.275 ask, was reported as having an accepted offer last week but is back on active status today. Deals go wrong for lots of reasons so I won’t speculate, but this is never good news for home owners.

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Filed under Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate, Contracts, Cos Cob

They don’t even pretend to tell the truth anymore

Daily News details all the evils of the AR-15 used in yesterdays’s Naval Yards shooting. Neglects to mention that the FBI says no such weapon was used. The point for these liars is to get the narrative out, nothing else. The Daily News thus joins MSNBC, the “Newtown Alliance” and hundreds of other professional prevaricators in sacrificing integrity for propaganda.



Filed under Right wing nut rantings

He’s punishing me for my politics, the bastard!

Happy Winner, Drew Marzullo

Happy (disguised)  Winner, Drew Marzullo

Captain Keno, my own business partner, has let an Old Greenwich resident win a $2 million scratch-and-sniff lotto card.  This is just sooo cruel.


Filed under Right wing nut rantings

First step in bailing out the blue states and their unfunded, unsupportable pension promises to public workers


See ya, suckers!

See ya, suckers!

ObamaCare will allow them to shift hundreds of billions of retiree health care benefits onto the rest of us (our children, in fact). 

That still leaves trillions of pension dollars that will have to be paid by those same children but like the pension promises themselves, this will provide temporary relief, and afford the current crop of politicians time to finish up their careers and get the hell out of Dodge.

States and localities have enormous liabilities in the form of health benefits they have promised to provide to retired workers. (Finance professionals call these benefits OPEB, or “other post-employment benefits.”) Most public sector retirees get health plans until they turn 65, and then supplemental coverage on top of Medicare after that.

In most cases, state and local governments haven’t prefunded these liabilities at all. As Americans age and health care costs rise, this is becoming a major drain on state and local finances, arguably more important than more-widely-discussed problems with public employee pensions.

But Obamacare will give states and cities a major out. Instead of providing health care to under-65 retirees, they can tell them to go buy health plans in the Obamacare exchanges. In many cases, those retirees will qualify for substantial subsidies to buy such plans. States and localities will often stand to save thousands of dollars per retiree per year, even if they provide a cash stipend to help each employee buy insurance in the exchange.

All told, state and local governments should be able to shift hundreds of billions of dollars in OPEB liabilities to the federal government. That will mean a major saving for those governments. But it will also drive costs upward at the federal level.


Filed under Right wing nut rantings

Sale reported, (limited) open house report


140 Indian Head (representative)

140 Indian Head (representative)

140 Indian Head, Riverside, has sold for $11.9 million, which I’m sure is the all-time record for non-waterfront property in Riverside. It’s a spectacular home, custom built for the sellers by Doran Sabag (Sound Beach Partners), I’m not really surprised by this price. But it’s a lot of money.

I didn’t get to that many broker open houses today – the ones I wanted to see were pretty spread out, but two I thought were of particular interest were 41 Baldwin Farms South and 363 North Street.

41 Baldwin Farms So.41 Baldwin Farms, $4.995 million, surprised me because I’m not a great fan of the French provincial (? Frenchy, anyway) look, but it’s a beautiful home, on great land that abuts the pond running along this road. Open the front door and step into the foyer and even a complete hermit like myself can see its potential for entertaining: the house just invites you in. High ceilings, easy flow, immaculate condition, everything is here. If one insisted on redoing the kitchen, which is in perfect shape, so why bother?, the layout’s there, so you could buy new cabinets and appliance if so inclined. Again, entirely unnecessary. If there’s an objection to the layout itself, it would be the location of the master bedroom on the first floor. For some buyers that’s a turnoff, for others a plus. Your call, but I’ll mention that there’s a newer (1999) addition above the three car garage that presently serves as an exercise room ; with its full bath and separate stair it would be a great nanny suite, and if she’s upstairs dealing with your future New Lebanon students you can be a floor away, happy and contented.

363 North Street

363 North Street

I did expect to like 363 North Street, and I wasn’t disappointed. I mentioned this a day or so ago because it had just been returned to the market after an 18 month renovation and I was curious to see what the owners had done. Just about everything, it turns out, from new wiring, new crown moldings, walls moved, radiant heat installed in many rooms, new baths, new flooring, restored flooring, paint, custom panelling, new kitchen, and on and on and on. New price, too, $5.295 million instead of the old, unsuccessful, pre-renovation price of $3.495. I think the new price is closer to its current value now than the old one was then. Nice house.


Filed under Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate, Inventory, Mid Country, Neighborhoods, Riverside

Propane does that

305 Webbs Hill Road Before

305 Webbs Hill Road Before



House on 305 Webbs Hill Road (off of Long Ridge Road, in Stamford) goes up in smoke and flames. Propane’s great stuff but at least anecdotally, it seems to mysteriously blow up every now and then and when it does, the house it serves goes with it.

One bright note: 305 Webbs Hill is quite close to the Lakeside Diner, home of the best donuts in perhaps the entire tristate area, so the attending cops and firemen are in good hands.

STAMFORD — A major explosion in North Stamford has ignited several houses in the area of Webbs Hill Road.

The initial call came in at 305 Webbs Hill Road, but at least two other houses in the area have been reported on fire.

All volunteer firefighters have been called along with water tankers from New Canaan and Pound Ridge, N.Y.

Initial reports from the scene indicate that a propane tank may have exploded completely destroying the house at 305 Webbs Hill Road. A house at 233 Dogwood Lane has also been reported fully engulfed and collapsed.


Filed under current market conditions

New North Street School playground?

Hop Scotch


September 17, 2013 · 3:21 pm

So where is the legal opinion on racial redistricting that we paid for?

No, you can't see it

No, you can’t see it

On June 26th, 2013, our School Board retained a Stamford law firm to research and opine on the vulnerability of Hartford’s racial redistricting law to a constitutional challenge. That research was estimated to take no more than ten hours. Having once suffered the indignity of working as a law firm associate, I can practically guarantee that the associate assigned this task did not stuff it in a desk drawer while she decamped to the Vineyard for the summer, so the opinion is done.

Where is it? Given the BOE’s stated disinclination to challenge this law, it’s a fair assumption that, had the legal opinion advised against it, we’d have heard about it by now. My suspicion is that it’s Dr. McKersie who’s stashed it in his desk, in the hope that we’ll forget about it.

I haven’t. I asked where it was at a public BOE meeting last month and it’s probably time to do so again.


Filed under Racial Redistricting

Sealed bids (!)

6 Lita Drive

6 Lita Drive

6 Lita Drive, lower North Street, is an uninhabitable cottage on .3 of an acre in the R-20 zone, which means it is allowed a house no larger than 3,000 sq. ft. The tiny lot it sits on sucks. It came on the market at $1.395 million a few days ago and has received four, perhaps five bids, the highest of which is said to be around $1.3 million.

The buyer better hope this isn’t one of the addresses being reassigned to Parkway.


Filed under Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate, Mid Country, Neighborhoods, pricing, Racial Redistricting

$50 million price cut from Ogilvy

Stormy Weather ....

Stormy Weather ….

499 Indian Field Road, which made headlines around the world when it was listed a few months ago for $190 million has, as predicted here, taken the first of what will probably be many price cuts. Today, that same property can be yours for the bargain price of just $140 million. Also as predicted here, the same reporters who gave Ogilvy such great press originally will not be around to report on this or subsequent price cuts. Smart man, that Ogilvy and a master at garnering free publicity.

I’m still holding to my prediction of $45 million, tops.

Stormy Circle

Stormy Circle

Further down the price scale and across the street from the water, 7 Stormy Circle (I kid you not) reports an accepted offer. It asked $1.680 in 2004 and didn’t get it. Owner brought it back at $1.095 this year and found a buyer.


Filed under Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate, Byram, pricing, Waterfront

Fortress Singapore?

There’s a rather modest house on the corner of Marks Road and Riverside Avenue that recently sold. The new owners have been busy ever since laying down stone, everywhere and building what I think will prove to be the framework  for a stone wall. At least I think it will be a wall; it’s late in the season to grow climbing beans.

Hey, it’s their property and the can do what they like with it, but it does add a certain fortified look to the neighborhood.

FWIW Ace Cub Reporter/photographer Sarah Fountain has been on the scene.





Filed under Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate, Byram, Waterfront

Folklore on katydids may be closer to the mark than I thought last week

Forestalling winter

Forestalling winter

Temperature in the mid-to high 30s tonight, with patches of frost in the northern counties. Just last Thursday I was complaining that the folklore that called for frost six weeks after hearing the fist katydid was a bust: that day should have arrived Saturday, the 13th, when temperatures never dipped below 59 degrees.

But, even acknowledging that the 17th of September is not the 13th, and upper Fairfield county is not Greenwich, the little buggers may not have been so far off after all.

(off to open houses – back in a few hours)


Filed under Right wing nut rantings

Mission creep

The Newtown Action Alliance, an amalgamation of anti-gun activists named after the Sandy Hook massacre, is off to Washington to protest Florida’s “stand your ground” law and the latest shooting in Washington.

The entire country was horrified and sickened by the murders in Newtown last year, but like so many tragedies – or even illnesses: see, “The March of Dimes”, founded to eliminate polio – the organization formed in its aftermath is now stuck looking for something new to justify its existence. A street quarrel in Florida between two men is not Sandy Hook (nor did it have anything to do with that state’s “stand-your-ground” law, which was never even raised as a defense), and a navy reservist stealing a rifle from a gun safe in Navy headquarters, a guarded, “secure” location, is even farther removed from what happened in Newtown that day.

By politicizing yesterday’s shootings and exploiting the names of those dead children to fund their anti-gun lobbying, the people behind the “Newtown” Alliance forfeit any transfer of sympathy that might otherwise flow from the grieving parents of Sandy Hook children to national advocates using their pain.


Filed under Right wing nut rantings

No. Next question.

ObamaKare requires doctors to inquire about your sexual activity and report it to the central data base.

‘Are you sexually active? If so, with one partner, multiple partners or same-sex partners?”

Be ready to answer those questions and more the next time you go to the doctor, whether it’s the dermatologist or the cardiologist and no matter if the questions are unrelated to why you’re seeking medical help. And you can thank the Obama health law.

“This is nasty business,” says New York cardiologist Dr. Adam Budzikowski. He called the sex questions “insensitive, stupid and very intrusive.” He couldn’t think of an occasion when a cardiologist would need such information — but he knows he’ll be pushed to ask for it.

And if you wonder who’s still fighting for individual liberty in this brave new world, there’s this:

There’s one question they can’t ask: Thanks to the NRA, Section 2716 of the ObamaCare law bars the federal government from compelling doctors and hospitals to ask you if you own a firearm.

Gun owners understand that when the government succeeds at stripping away one constitutional right, it will continue on to take others. Like our right to privacy. Griswold vs. State of Connecticut, anyone? Oops! That just disappeared.


Filed under Right wing nut rantings

Well this should boost private school enrollment


¡Se habla español!

¡Se habla español!

Republican BOE member Steve Anderson suggests moving  half of  North Street’s 400 students to Parkway to make room for poor kids bused in from the nether region  

Anderson favors moving about 200 North Street pupils who reside in the northern half of their school’s attendance area to Parkway. The available 200 seats would then be filled by about 100 magnet students from western Greenwich elementary attendance areas, with a “preponderance” coming from the school district’s two racially unbalanced schools, Hamilton Avenue and New Lebanon. The other 100 magnet pupils would arrive from more eastern Greenwich attendance areas such as Cos Cob, Riverside and North Mianus.

Western Greenwich students who qualify for free and reduced-price lunches would receive preference for enrolling in a North Street magnet.

Gee, and just when mid country prices were reviving, too.


Filed under Right wing nut rantings

The Republican old guard panics: reminds me of Greenwich’s own set of clowns


That's just not done!

Deer in the headlights

David Brooks goes ballistic on Cruz, including “birther” charges. 

“What’s going on in theHouse and a bit in the Senate, too, is what you might call the rise of Ted Cruz-ism,” Brooks said. “And Ted Cruz, the senator from Canada through Texas, is basically not a legislator in the normal sense, doesn’t have an idea that he’s going to Congress to create coalitions, make alliances, and he is going to pass a lot of legislation. He’s going in more as a media-protest person. And a lot of the House Republicans are in the same mode. They’re not normal members of Congress. They’re not legislators. They want to stop things. And so they’re just being — they just want to obstruct.”

Can’t we all just go along?


Filed under Right wing nut rantings