Daily Archives: March 14, 2016

Blockbusting, Yiddish style

Orthodox Jews swallowing Toms River, real estate agents go door-to-door, warning homeowners that they’ll soon be the only gentiles on the block.

They show up on doorsteps to tell owners that if they don’t sell, they’ll be the only non-Orthodox around. Strangers, sometimes several to a car, shoot photos and videos. When they started pulling over to ask children which house was theirs, parents put an end to street-hockey games.

“It’s like an invasion,” said Thomas Kelaher, Toms River’s three-term mayor, who’s fielded complaints from the North Dover section since mid-2015. “It’s the old throwback to the 1960s, when blockbusting happened in Philadelphia and Chicago with the African-American community — ‘I want to buy your house. You’ll be sorry if you don’t.’ It scares the hell out of people.”

“These people” [the ultra-Orthodox] would be as scary as their cousins in the Middle East, but unlike the Muslims, there aren’t so many of them. But when they alight on a town like locusts, that’s small consolation for the people who live there.



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If idiots like these had comprised the audience, Max Bialystok and Leo would be free men today

Westchester high school forbids the use of swastikas in student production of The Producers.

Administrators have ordered the removal of swastikas from a high school production of The Producers, the famous Mel Brooks film that makes fun of Nazism.

The New York school district that oversees Tappan Zee High School considers the inclusion of a swastika to be offensive and, possibly, a hate crime—regardless of the context.

“There is no context in a public high school where a swastika is appropriate,” South Orangetown Superintendent Bob Pritchard told the local CBS station.

In the impossible event that you, like Bob Pritchard, are unfamiliar with the play, Max and  the nebbish Leo oversell investment shares in a play so bad, so offensive a pro-Hitler musical that it will close immediately, thereby enabling them to keep all the money. Unfortunately the play’s a hit because the audience assumes it’s a satire and loves it, the fraud is revealed, and the producers end up in jail.

For the plot to work, it has to be about Hitler and that, perforce, includes Swastikas – sorry, Bob.

The really shocking part of this story? Bob is a graduate of both West Point and the U.S. Army Command and General Staff  College (the latter in 1998, when he was otherwise busy teaching  social studies, but still). If this is what’s happened to our military and our educationl system, weep for our nation.



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They may have this in their portfolio a while

73 cutler

73 Cutler Road

73 Cutler Road, now owned by People’s Bank via strict foreclosure, has hit the market at $1.995, with the notation that it “needs a little TLC”. Foreclosed homes always do.

The former owner paid $2.825 for the place in 2002, which is a complete puzzlement: Cutler Road was never worth that much, that I know of. Regardless, it can be yours for just $2 million now, but I wouldn’t feel that you have to hurry to take advantage of this opportunity. 


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$2 million for Bramble; it never hit the market

4 bramble

4 Bramble Lane

4 Bramble Lane was noised abut the real estate community in February, and sold immediately (closed today, but contracts sooner) for $2 million, $25,000 more than the suggested price.

It’s actually a very nice house and, corner of Hendrie or not, a good location. At this price, it’s got to be intended for an end user, not a builder. Or if it was bought by a builder, you bankruptcy lawyers out there may want to send him your card.


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No surprise here

17 ChieftansThe current owners of 17 Chieftains Road, over by the airport, bought it new in 2003 just one day after it hit the market, paying $3.3 million on an asking price of $3.390. They placed it back up for sale in 2015 at $3.195 and kept it at that price for one full year, finally dropping it today to $2.999. That’s a rounding error, and won’t, in my opinion, stir anyone who’s already viewed this house and rejected into action.

But a Westchester refugee might be attracted.


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Pending deals

80 birch Lane

80 Birch Lane

80 Birch Lane, asking $2.195 million. It tried for $3,295 at the bottom of the market in 2009, which was ridiculous, but at this price, even though the house is a ho-hummer, the street justifies $2, I think.

17 Tomac ave

17 Tomac Avenue

17 Tomac Avenue in Old Greenwich, that 3-house development Gary Flyer put half-way up before fleeing his creditors and moving to Europe, has a pending contract, asking price $2.495 million. Some years after Flyer flew, someone did finish these hoses, and to an exception degree of quality. This is a really nice house, says I, though the Colonial era graveyard in the rear put off many buyers. I think that’s stupid, personally, but there you have it: almost half the potential buyers who looked at it when my then-firm William Raveis had the listing rejected it because of old Lockwoods, Meads and Ferrises resting nearby.

These owners ignored the ghosts and bought it, in 2006, for $2.770 million, a decision that seems to have come back to haunt them.


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Contracts reported

26 Valleywood

26 Valleywood Rd

26 Valleywood Road, Cos Cob, asking $1.299 million. The couldn’t get $1.225 for it back in 2009-2010, but the market was in the tank then. Plus, the owners really did a nice job sprucing this up, with brighter paint colors, refinished floors, and all that. Listing says they installed new windows. If so, that’s a big bonus for the buyers, but probably didn’t add a cent to the ultimate price – buyers tend not to pay extra for such an obvious feature, and I’m not sure why.

Nice house, at this price.

24 Field Road

24 Field Road

24 Field Road, née Colonial Lane, in Riverside, was purchased new for just about full price: $5.350 million on a $5.4 ask, and now has a contract at its lowered price of $4.795. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn, when the ultimate sale price is reported, that the owners lost $750,000 or so because of their irrational exuberance.


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God, I hope Tesei and the Junior League don’t read the Daily Mail


Well this would be okay, but it’s probably not what we’d get

Town council wants to spend £2,500 on boules court “to bring a bit of French life to the town”

A row has erupted over plans to spend £2,500 on a boules court in a Sussex town after a councillor and former mayor said he’d never met anyone who had wanted to play the traditional French game.

The Labour-run Crawley Borough Council had announced plans to spend £2,500 on a petanque court – a form of boules – in the town’s Memorial Gardens.

Backers of the proposal said it would bring a bit of ‘French life’ to Crawley, West Sussex, but it has been branded a ‘waste of money’ as no one wants to play the game.

It could (easily) happen here.


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You can’t fight Darwin

dead squirrel

If the squirrel gene pool can be reduced to those who dash straight across the road instead of zig-zagging, surely little porkers can learn to stop, look and listen. Or else.

Study: Fat kids more likely to get hit while crossing the street 

Obese children are more likely to be hit by cars, scientists have found.

It seems that children with higher body mass indexes are more impatient and impulsive than their slimmer peers.

Researchers found that obese children waited for a shorter period before crossing, and allowed less time and distance between themselves and approaching traffic.

They were also involved in more colllisions in experimental simulations of crossing the road, according to a paper published in the journal Accident Analysis & Prevention.

Elizabeth O’Neal, lead author of the study and a graduate student in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Iowa, said extra weight influences how obese children choose to cross the street.

O’ Neal also claims that this is not because they provide a bigger target, or that they cannot get out of the way fast enough, or a result of them being too slow at crossing the road.

That last bit of PC, let’s not hurt anyone’s feelings is probably directly related to the psychologist student’s unsurprising conclusion:

“She said more research is needed on obesity as a risk factor for childhood pedestrian injury.”


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Maybe this should happen more often

Timothy Paulie

NOW I’m sorry

The fact that it’s newsworthy is evidence that it doesn’t.

Triple murderer asks to be released early after 35 years in prison, parole board decides that the sentencing was too lenient and adds an extra twenty years.

A convicted triple murderer who asked for early release will now spend more than 20 additional years in prison after a board reviewed his sentence.

Timothy Pauley, 57, received three life sentences after killing three people with an accomplice at a tavern near Seatac, in Washington State, in 1980.

He asked to be set free earlier than planned last year after 35 years in prison, as state legislation allow inmates who committed crimes before 1984 to request parole.

But instead of reducing Pauley’s sentence, the Department of Corrections’ Indeterminate Sentencing Review Board found he should spend at least two additional decades behind bars, the Seattle Times reported.

Members of the review board said Pauley’s role in the murder was ‘egregious’ and that his original sentence didn’t meet current standards for similar crimes.

Pauley said earlier this year during a hearing that he panicked as he and another man, Scott Smith, attempted to rob the Barn Door Tavern near Seatac, King5 reported at the time.

He and Smith killed Loran Dowell, the tavern’s night manager, Robert Pierre, the bartender, and Linda Burford, a former waitress and Pierre’s girlfriend, the Seattle Times wrote.

Dowell and Pierre were shot in the head while they were tied up in a walk-in cooler and Burford was found raped and hanging from a railing by her neck.



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