Monday, February 11, 2013

Great Zumba event to benefit The Sunshine Kids!!

This is an evening event, in the give people that 'dancing in the club' atmosphere.  So come, feel comfortable, dance with the popular Marcello who brings a Latin, hip-hop edgy flavor to the class. Check him out!

The proceeds go directly to The Sunshine Kids, a charity to benefit children with cancer.  Come, enjoy and help those children!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Neighborhood Jewel: Harborview Market

Nestled on the corner of Harborview and Midland streets, in bhe Blackrock area of Bridgeport, sits a true neighborhood jewel:
Harborview Market
Close your eyes and picture this: people sitting, relaxing, eating and reading the paper on the
many tables outside, their dogs happily tethered with them. Inside, a mix of old and new: flat screen tvs with an early model washing machine. 

Inside, people gather to hear the live music, relax, have a nice meal, and meet new friends. Often you see seniors gathered around the portable fireplace, absorbed in a nice game of chess.   There is a small grocery store component with a few dry goods.  Also a salad bar with fresh ingredients. Several varieties of coffee are available, self-serve with all of the accoutrements, including the fancy syrups.  The counter serves up all types of hot and cold meals, served by friendly and attentive staff. But the one of the real draws, besides the wonderful neighborhood atmosphere, is the enticing smell of the fresh baked muffins, cookies, croissants ....coming right from the oven!!  There is a huge bakery in the back, serving up the freshest and most delicious baked goodies.

  Another thing I really like about
the Harborview Market is the community board, which contains flyers, ads and announcements about the many things happening in this vibrant community.  The market also features a gallery section which showcases the talents of local artists.
It is a great way for local artists to get exposure and many of the works are for sale.  The exhibits rotate so you never get tired of looking at the same artwork!

 There is a true community spirit here, not seen in other places or towns.  Here is an example of a holiday event hosted by the Harborview Market:

 How many local markets host a pot luck supper and sing-a-long?   

We live a few towns away from Harborview Market, but consider it a destination spot, one not to be missed.  Go and see for yourself.

Harborview market, 218 Harborview Avenue, Bridgeport, CT  06605

Friday, November 30, 2012

Local store, International following: Stew Leonard's!

Locals often take this unique store for granted, but Stew Leonard's is actually an international tourist attraction!

The store is actually made up of several different venues - 

The main portion is a grocery, with local seasonal items in front near the ice cream/smoothie station. Here you can find local produce from our local farms, fresh and bountiful.

  On the other side of the parking lot is an animal farm where children and adults of all ages enjoy watching goats, sheep, cows and chickens.

 When you walk into the main entrance, you run into their Mantra:
The Customer is Always Right!
 But the main attraction is inside: the multiple animated figures all throughout the store.  Each figure has its own little catchy tune which the locals can recite by heart.


Live "ducks" , "cows" or "chickens" wander through the store to greet customers

People are so entertained by the characters that they forget that the food is actually very good: breads, pies, cakes, biscuits, bagels and more, baked on the premises.  Fresh fruits and veggies, great meats and fish, dairy products from their local dairy farm - you can actually watch the cows on a live webcam!

Stews also supports many charities, including the Charity of the Month, always located near the door.
Don't miss this amazing store!  There is nothing like it.  I have only scratched the surface of what it has.  There is a haunted hay ride for Halloween, live music and outdoor grill in the warm months, garden center, christmas tree center, catering service, hot and cold buffets for takeout, flower shop, liquor shop, and more.  It is too big for one blog - you just have to go there.  Enjoy!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Wacky prices in the Westport Real Estate market

I have always told my clients that in good markets or bad, if a house is over-priced, it will languish.  The SELLER has to come down first, and when the price hits the sweet spot (i.e. offers value), buyers come out, and the house typically sells over 90% of LAST list price - give or take.

In good markets or bad, if houses are correctly priced, they can get multiple offers and sell at, or even over, asking price.

This has been borne out by data for years upon end.  Now, there are more blips and exceptions to this rule, which makes the real estate market even more tricky for those who don't track it daily. 

For example, in Westport in 2012 (as of early October 2012):  even in this market, plenty of houses sold at, or above asking price.  Some premiums were substantial:

130 Old Road, listed at $559,000 and sold for $620,000
5 Chapel Hill, listed at $459,000 and sold for $603,000 - over 31 % premium over asking price
34 Little Fox Lane, listed at $727,500? It sold for $861,000 - over 18 % premium
1 Brook Lane, listed for 784,900 and sold for $838,000
5D Gorham, listed at $1,325,900 and sold for $1,350,000
4 Wheeler Gate, listed at $1,675,000 and sold for $1,685,000
5 Pumpkin Hill, listed for $2,995,000 and sold for $3,068,000

But at the same time,  look at these low-balls - they used to be so rare!

42 Bayberry Lane, listed for $825,000 and sold for $680,000  - almost an 18% discount
6 River Lane, listed for $1,050,000 and sold for $840,000 - a 20% discount
3 Crestwood, listed for $1,400,000 and sold for $1,200,000 - a 15% discount
7 Indian Point Lane, listed for $1,499,000 and sold for $1,200,000 - a 20% discount
153 Easton Road, listed for $1,500,000 and sold for 800,000 - a whopping 47% discount!!
3 Meeker Road, listed for $1,595,000 and sold for $1,350,000 - a 15% discount
24 Narrow Rocks, listed for $1,599,000 and sold for $1,250,000 - a 22% discount
22 Wakeman, listed for $1,600,000 and sold for $1,100,000 - a 32% discount
32 Bermuda Road, listed for $2,350,000 and sold for $2,000,000 - a 15% discount

SO IN THE SAME PRICE POINTS, you have MUCH bigger swings in prices, from a 47% discount off latest list price to a 31% premium over list price.

In the old days, over-priced houses would sit on the market until sellers lowered the price.  Buyers wouldn't bite.  Sellers wouldn't entertain an offer with a 20% discount - they would be insulted.  Many still are!  But look at these 2012 sales which closed well below the last asking price...and we are still only in October!

It means that in this market, each seller has a different tolerance for those "low-balls", and you need an agent who knows the market and recognizes the difference!  Someone who knows when to throw that low ball, and when to pay full price.  Because you have BOTH scenarios going on !  Interesting times.

My data was pulled directly from the Greater Fairfield County Multiple Listing Service. See the link for the listings:

Saturday, November 19, 2011

New CT law that affects land listings

Something just came to my attention regarding a land listing I have in Westport, CT:

 In 2007, my owner went to considerable time and expense to get approvals to build a single family home on an undeveloped piece of land in Westport.  Because it was on the Saugatuck River and Taylor Salt Marsh (owned by the Aspetuck Land Trust), we had to go through Conservation Commission in addition to the other Town offices.  Also because the land was on a State Road, we also had to get the curb cut and sewer approvals from the Connecticut Department of Transportation. As it turns out, we did not build a house, and asked the Town of Westport Planning & Zoning for extensions on the permits.

It has come to my attention that the in May of 2011, the CT State Senate approved Public Act 11-5 which extends the site plan approvals (which are the costly and time-consuming ones) for 9 years.

This means that while local zoning boards might require a new application if the current permits expire, the costly site plans are still good for 9 years.  That is good news for owners and builders alike,  who need more time because of the current economic situation in the real estate market.  As with everything, some restrictions apply, so if you think you are affected by this, check the actual wording of Public Act 11-5!

The link to Public Act 11-5 from the Connecticut State Senate is:

This does not cover every permit we have received, but it does go a long way to provide relief!

By the way, if you want more details about this amazing property for sale, let me know.  It is very rare to have a waterfront property which is also walking distance to downtown.  There is a sidewalk that takes you from the property site right to Main Street in less than 1/2 mile!  Contact me at or cell 917-579-0631 for more information!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Strategic Alliance for Healthy Living

A powerful pair has emerged in Fairfield County: Huge New FitnessEdge facilities within 1/2 mile of Whole Foods markets! 
If getting in a healthy habit appeals to you, this is a winning combination.  FitnessEdge did not allow me to photograph anything inside, but the outside of the Norwalk facility looks like this (see above) and the web addresss is Feel free to check it out, either on line or in person.  "The Edge" has a full sampling of the latest exercise equipment (with tvs so you can multi-task), personal trainers, locker rooms, sauna, showers, etc. PLUS a large menu of classes ranging from cardio, like Cycling, Kettleball bootcamp, kickboxing, Zumba and more; weight training (edge flex) and others, like yoga, power yoga, and Pilates.   I love the classes!

After a nice workout,
what is better than something healthy to eat?

Whether by accident or design, if you work
out at a Fitness Edge in Fairfield County, you
will probably find a Whole Foods Market
very close by!  While some people think Whole Foods is pricey, don't be fooled!  The salad bar
and breakfast bar are very reasonable and full
of really good quality, tasty food!

Here is an example: 

This sample meal from the breakfast bar has scrambled
eggs, turkey sausage (at least 3 links), home fries, french toast topped with real maple syrup, fresh rasberries, blueberries and strawberries.  Add to it a 16 oz cup of EXCELLENT quality
coffee. (This is considered a medium size - others serve 8oz)

The food portion of this order was $3.69
The 16 oz coffee was $1.85

The total for this entire meal was $5.64 and it is a lot of food -
good food, not just buns, buscuits, and fillers.

Like bacon?  They have apple smoked bacon and turkey bacon.
When is the last time your breakfast included fresh rasberries?

The salad bar is 3 times as large as the breakfast bar, with plenty of meat, fish, grains, salads, fruits, yoghurts, you name it.  I like to eat, and as you can see from that breakfast plate, I don't eat just "bird food". The salad bar has plenty of variety - something for every appetite.

So take advantage of the winning combination of convenient exercise with great food, reasonably priced. If it seems like this blog is skewed toward the food aspect, it is only because I couldn't photograph any specifics about the FitnessEdge, but try it - it is great!  My favorites are Zumba (fun, cardio with lots of dance steps) combined with Edge Flex (weights and strength training).  Other friends like the machines and go through the circuits that cover each muscle group.  Plenty for everyone!  Get strong - get healthy!