Pelham NY: A Community of Homes

Friday, July 28, 2006

Hillcrest Drive 10803

There are eight homes on Hillcrest Drive, which begins in Pelham Manor and continues into New Rochelle. Yesterday, we visited two of them.

One Hillcrest Drive
was built in 1926 by Guy Mariner for Francis H. Ludington, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Chase Bag Company.

This remarkable home is now owned by Kathy and Michael Corton, who graciously hosted a Cocktails and Conversation party last evening to support the re-election of State Assemblywoman Amy Paulin.

The Town Supervisor, Mayor of Pelham, Deputy Mayor of Pelham Manor and neighbors and supporters listened as Amy spoke about her recent accomplishments. Most notably, she wrote the law eliminating the statue of limitations for rape.

It was a memorable evening with delicious food and great bartending by the young men.

Related item regarding internet sexual predators from a young woman's point of view.

Earlier in the day, we were across the street at Two Hillcrest Drive, now available through any Realtor in Pelham.

The other six homes on Hillcrest aren't on the market. We'll let you know if any of them become available.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Row at Townsend

Pelham Community Rowing Association Hawaiian Family Luau Night at Woods' house in the Manor Wednesday evening.

Stopping by to say hello were local reps
Jim Maisano,
Amy Paulin, and
Jeff Klein, all looking good.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

NYTimes Photog Flees Pelham

Music for this Post

Tuesday a New York Times photographer ran into our
Boston Post Road
office. "I need a photo of a For Sale sign in front of a house!"

"We don't use For Sale signs in Pelham," explained Rosalie.

"But I need a photo of a house with a For Sale sign and I need it NOW!"

"Try Mount Vernon," we replied.

Whoosh...Slam...Photog runs out door -- Westward Ho.
New York Times Business piece today with

Scene in Magazine

June 2006

Known as "Westchester's Best-Kept Secret," the town of Pelham maintains a low profile in a county full of well-known destinations.

As local realtor Lester J. Kravitz of Kravitz Realtors, Ltd. notes, "When you think of Westchester, Pelham is not the name on the tip of your tongue."

After visiting this pleasant spot just north of the Bronx, it is easy to see why residents don't advertise its attractions. Peaceful and beautifully landscaped, the town fits two villages into its 2.2 square miles. With a 30-minute train ride into Manhattan on the New Haven line of MetroNorth, Pelham is effortlessly accessible from the city and yet worlds away from its bustle.

Imposing old trees rise from the rocky and hilly terrain here. The main street is lined on one side with small businesses and flanked on the other side by parkland. A sledding spot in the winter and a strolling area in warmer times, the town green reinforces Pelham's status as an oasis. Most residents work in Manhattan and raise their families in quiet Pelham. Nearly all the shops provide for the locals' needs.

Kravitz maintains that most people stay in Pelham for generations: "This is not the kind of place people can't wait to grow up and move away from."

The town's compact size and age—the land was bought from the Siwanoy Indians in 1654—means most homes are older, many grand. Restoration projects combine historical details with modern updates.

Photo by Anastassios Mentis

Westchester County

Town: 11,866

Copyright © 2003, 2006 Schein Media

Friday, July 21, 2006

Good Pelham Lovin

Ever hear of a Pelham band named the Stereos?

While attending Pelham Middle School and Pelham Memorial High School, a young man formed a band with his buddies. They rehearsed in Pelham Manor garages.

Later, he formed a new band.

This is how they sounded. He's singing lead.

Disarmed Tomahawk

BRONX — A disarmed Tomahawk missile that dislodged from a flatbed tractor-trailer truck after a rear-end collision today on I-95 was removed to a police firing range at 8 a.m., WCBS NewsRadio 880 reported.

The 23-foot-long, 5,000-pound test missile was not armed with a warhead and therefore not a danger to explode, authorities said.

But for two hours the cruise missile was treated with extreme caution.

Police closed I-95 south near Gun Hill Road and detoured traffic at Connor Street in the Bronx, near Co-Op City.

It reverberated to New Rochelle, where the southbound New England Thruway was closed at Exit 15.
The missile was removed at 8 a.m. and the Thruway was reopened shortly after 8:15 a.m.

The Tomahawk is a long-range aircraft designed to be fired from a ship or submarine.

It was being transported by a contractor from Rhode Island to a Virginia naval installation.

The accident happened at 5:50 a.m. when the truck stalled and another tractor-trailer rammed into it.

The missile body spilled onto the road near the exit to the Hutchinson River Parkway.

No one was injured. No charges were filed.

The Associated Press and WCBS contributed information for this report.

No News . . .

. . . Is good news.

Watering roses at 8am (before Tstorm arrived in Pelham @ 9am) and flying 200 ft overhead was a white helicopter.

Figured it was the usual -- The Donald hightailing it to his golf course development or NYPD on aerial patrol over Pelham Bay Park.


Learned a military vehicle was in collision w a civilian vehicle on I-95 near Exit 15 ("The Pelhams") and because vehicle was military, only military could clear accident scene.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Garbage Wrap

Music for this post, with thanks to the Websphere Francophile

Suburban Carting Strike Ends
Trash Pickup to Restart
THE JOURNAL NEWS (Original publication: July 20, 2006)

Garbage collection resumes today for about 35,000 Westchester County residents affected by a strike at Suburban Carting Corp.

Residents in the towns of New Castle and North Castle and in the village of Pelham were holding their noses yesterday and hoping for a swift end to the strike that stalled rubbish removal by the company. Various businesses throughout the county also were affected if they used Suburban or were near the affected customers.

"It stinks," said Lester Kravitz, whose real estate firm Kravitz Ann DeSantis is below a three-story apartment building in Pelham.

"If I'm going to have bags of stinking garbage out on the street ... people aren't going to want to come in here, and they aren't going to want to buy a house here."

Fortunately for Kravitz and his neighbors, the refuse will be removed shortly.

The Suburban employees, represented by Teamsters Local 813, and the company's managers reached a settlement yesterday.

"We've reached consensus, and the Teamsters are back on the job in the morning, and service will resume as normal," said Andreas Gruson, chairman of Suburban, based in Briarcliff Manor, and its parent company, Regus Industries LLC of West Seneca. "We apologize for any inconvenience."

The one-day strike included about 60 workers, who picketed at transfer stations on North State Road in Briarcliff Manor, on Lexington Avenue in Mount Kisco and on Fenimore Road.

Employees have been working without a contract since Nov. 30, when their former agreement expired. Yesterday, the parties agreed to resume contract talks.

Union delegate Louis Romeo said yesterday afternoon that Regus officials were delaying the talks and not being forthcoming with employees. Romeo accused Regus of selling off routes without telling employees, causing them to have to change routes on short notice and lose their seniority and job security. He said workers would not pick up garbage until the company started negotiating fairly.

Gruson declined to comment on specific sticking points, saying instead: "These negotiations are always very complex issues, and I don't think it benefits anybody to negotiate in a public forum. I can assure you that we've reached consensus today, and I guess you could assume there would be no consensus if we didn't address any of the concerns that the labor had."

Regus has owned Suburban Carting since February, when it purchased the company from Allied Waste Systems Inc. of Phoenix

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Garbage UPDATE

Pelham Village now reporting that "it is possible" that normal garbage collection may resume tomorrow, but no further details available.

Best Bet: Revisit Pelspot for updates or call Village Hall 738-2015 Thursday Morning to find out if your garbage will be picked up.

Pelham Garbage Advisory

Emergency Garbage Advisory -- July 19, 2006

The Village of Pelham has issued the following Emergency Garbage Advisory:

"Please do not place any garbage or recycling at the curb until further notice.

"Please be advised that the Village of Pelham has been notified that our garbage contractor is experiencing a job action, and that garbage will not be picked up today, or possibly for the next few days.

"We are working with the garbage contractor to have garbage pickup resume as soon as possible and will keep you informed of new developments.

"We appreciate your cooperation in this difficult time.


Pelham Blogger added:

That stinks!

Dishing it Out

Pelham and Pelham Manor on National TV this weekend.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Costco Classy Action

Dear Costco Tax Department,

Thank you.

If you are following the Advisory Opinion, then you're doing it right.

Looks like New York State Tax said, "Tax your members at the rate in effect at the nearest brick-and-mortar store."

Personally, I don't agree.

I'm a member everywhere -- at all of your warehouses wherever they may be and in cyber space, too.

What's the tax rate for cyber space?

Never mind. Keep up the good work.

Pelham Blogger
cc: Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman LLP

Email from Issaquah

Dear Mr. Kravitz:

Our Call Center forwarded your email inquiring about the sales tax rate charged on the membership renewal you received in the mail. You were concerned that you were being charged sales tax on your membership at the rate in effect at your local warehouse (8.375%) as opposed to the rate in effect at your home address (7.375%).

Per New York Advisory Opinion TSB-A-94(10)S, the tax rate to be charged on your membership is the rate in effect at the store issuing the membership or, in the event no specific store is indicated, the rate in the nearest county to the point of sale in which a discount club store is located. As such, you were correctly charged 8.375% sales tax on your membership renewal, the rate in effect at the New Rochelle location which is the closest location to your home (membership) address. The full text of this opinion can be found at

After reviewing the opinion, if you agree that our practices are in accordance with that ruling, Costco would appreciate it if you would update your weblog at to reflect the correct information.

Thank you,

Operations/Buying Tax Department
Costco Wholesale | 999 Lake Drive | Issaquah | WA | 98027
PH: 425.313.8100 | FX: 425.313.8668 |

Pelham: Members Only

Pelham: Members Only

Monday, July 17, 2006

160 / 124

Not blood pressure.

Not a song by Chicago.

160 Real Estate Tax Protest Grievances were filed in The Town of Pelham in 2006.

124 were filed last year.



Sunday, July 16, 2006


"No one. Please don't put it in the paper," I replied, when Maggie asked, "So who reads it?"

What IS a blog, anyway?

Blog (not to be confused with blob) is an abbreviation for Weblog. A Weblog is a cyberspace diary that can be read by anyone with internet access.

What's the difference between a blog and a Web Site? A blog is a particular type of Web Site. Good blogs generally are updated daily, so people following them get new content every day.

When you read a blog, if you want to react to something, you may leave a comment for everyone else to read. Just click the "comment" button.

Blogs often contain links which you can (you should) click on to get more information. In my blog, there isn't too much on the surface. The good stuff often is in the links. Links are green in my blog. (That sounds like a golf thing, but it isn't.)

Did you click golf ? Aha!

Blogs can have video and audio. Click Cue Joni Mitchell and her song will play. Click the picture of the white-haired men and a video will play.

So what's the big deal with blogs?

There isn't any.

Just one more thing. People subscribe to blogs. There's this technical stuff about feeds and readers, but all you have to do is click the little button on the right in the sidebar and you'll get walked through it. For AOL, there's an AOL button. After you click it, if AOL asks you what blog you want to subscribe to, you may type in
and if AOL asks you to check a box for the type of feed you want,
select the "atom" feed.

Today's word, which will be on the next SAT, is "Paradigm."

Anyone drive stick?

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Empty Nester Heaven

Taxes $4,042

Friday, July 14, 2006

Members Only

We got our Costco membership bill here in Pelham NY.

Our membership dues are $100 per year since we're on the executive plan.

The total amount due on the bill was $108.38.

But we're in 10803, where the tax rate is 7.375%. So the bill should have been $107.38.

Hope Costco is doing the right thing with the extra dollar.

I figure there are hundreds of Costco members in Pelham. If each was mis-taxed by $1.00, that's hundreds of dollars. And if this has been Costco's practice for a decade, that's thousands of dollars.

If Pelham isn't the only Westchester town being mis-taxed, that could be tens of thousands of dollars. And if other counties are being mis-taxed, that's hundreds of thousands of dollars. If there is mis-taxation in other states, that's millions of dollars.

So if you get a chance, look at your Costco membership renewal when it comes in the mail, and let me know whether you were mis-taxed, too.

This would be a good time for Costco to make a contribution to The Danny Fund.

Separate but Unequal

In Pelham, New York, real estate is assessed at Full Market Value.

A few years back, the Town of Pelham took advantage of a New York State program to "freeze" the relative proportions of real estate taxes paid by residential property owners and commercial property owners.

Why freeze the relative proportions?

In the past, the values of residential properties were increasing at a rate exceeding 10 per cent each year while commercial property values remained relatively flat.

Each year, there was a shift in values reflecting market conditions. By way of example, in Year One, overall relative values were 25% commercial; 75% residential. That is, when the value of all properties in Town were totaled and the results were analyzed, commercial property and apartment buildings made up 25% of the Town's total real estate values, and 75% of the total was from single-family and two-family homes.

Think of it as a portfolio of real estate holdings, where 25% of the portfolio is in commercial property and 75% is in houses.

But in Year Two, overall values shifted to 20% commercial; 80% residential because Pelham house values were booming.

By Year Three, overall values were approaching 15% commercial; 85% residential.

That meant that each year, when the Assessor spread the tax levy (the amount of $$$ needed by the schools and municipalities to meet their budgets) and set the tax rates for the Tax Receiver to prepare tax bills, residential owners were picking up an increasing share of the tax burden relative to commercial owners, simply because residential property values showed double-digit year-to-year increases and commercial property values remained flat or increased only marginally.

What to do?

The Town opted for a New York State program that would help homeowners. The program allowed residential properties and commercial properties to be taxed at two different tax rates. A lower tax rate would apply to residential properties, known as "Homestead" properties. A higher tax rate would apply to commercial properties, known as "Non-Homestead" properties.

[The amount of taxes any property owner pays is computed by multiplying the assessed value of the property by the tax rate. Tax rates usually are expressed in terms of dollars per thousand, called the "Mill" rate. So if a property was assessed at $1,000,000 and the Mill rate was $25.00 per thousand, then the tax bill would be computed by multiplying the $25 Mill rate by the value expressed in thousands. $1,000 x $25/thousand = a tax bill of $25,000.]

In order to qualify for the NY State program authorizing one tax rate for homes and a different tax rate for commercial property, the Town had to revalue every single parcel of real estate in town and establish a Full Market Value FMV assessment for each property. Every home, building and lot in Town was scrutinized, and the Assessor came up with FMVs for each parcel.

Once this was completed, the Town had authority to "freeze" the relative proportions of the two property classes. Now "Homestead" owners had relief from property tax increases caused by the commercial-class vs. residential-class value shifts.

Kinda like Rent Control in the 10803.

It's the government's way of trying to keep the tax burden of homeownership in check.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Prospect Victorian . . .

. . . in Pelham Manor that we sold today.

Congratulations to the new owners.

Take a Virtual Tour

Not in Kansas?

Tornado in Westchester County this evening.


11 Agent Open House tours in Pelham Thursday, ranging in price from $500s to $1,832,000.

No, that's not a typo - someone is pricing a Pelham house at $1,832,000.

(Please remind me to find out why the price isn't $1,831,000 or $1,833,000.)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Clip Closing

Tomorrow, a man will close on a house. He didn't pay for it - he traded things for it, starting with one red paper clip.

Friday, we will woot a Pelham Manor house, for real.

Sounds of Sex

Heard Tuesday morning in Pelham, first time this summer.

2 Pirates for $4

Banned in China or not banned in China,
Pirates 2 is at The Pelham Picture House for $4.00 tonight.

One of the cool secrets about Pelham is that the local cinema, supposedly the last remaining single-screen movie theater in Westchester County, has a $4.00 Manager's Special every Tuesday night.

That's right -- we locals get to see first-run films for 4 bucks!

Ooops -- now that we've posted this, they're most def raising the price.

But 4 now, the biggest bargain in cinema is Pelham on Tuesdays at 7.

Let's hope it stays that way.

Monday, July 10, 2006

More than One

Concert on the Town Lawn at The Gazebo tonight. Lovely music floating in Pelham.

The box with the two old men to the right is about music, technology and what to do on a summer evening. Watch the video to the very end when you have time . . .

Article about Pelham I found today on the Internet

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Gravel to Grass

For decades, Parking in Pelham has been the Town's top topic.

The current concern is parking near the High School.

Several citizen committes and three different boards (Board of Education, Pelham Village Board of Trustees and Pelham Manor Village Board) have been studying parking.

Planners, engineers and professional consultants have been paid enough taxpayer-dollars to buy an Enzo.

Almost every week, the local paper publishes one or more letters to the editor submitted by citizens.

What the crux?

When construction of our new Middle School began a few years ago, a temporary teacher parking lot was built on greenspace on a portion of an athletic field. Goodbye grass. Hello gravel. Cue Joni Mitchell.

Our teriffic two-tone Middle School now has opened, but the temporary lot remains. When the temporary lot closes, where will the teachers park?

Some citizens say "on the street." Many add, "but not in front of my house."

Village Boards say "we'll help by parking teachers' cars on our streets." But they're thinking, "Park the teachers' cars on School Board property; the Board of Education has a parking lot two blocks from the High School."

The Board of Education says

Pelham Blogger is happy to report that the parking issue finally has been resolved.


Simple: I asked my myspace-gen and facebook-gen kids.


Here is all we have to do.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Fairy Tale

Once upon a time in a tiny village a little girl had a doll house.

She loved her doll house and painted the inside her favorite colors, silver and gold.

One day she grew tired of her doll house so she asked her friends, "Would you like to buy my doll house?"

But none of her friends wanted it. Most of them had their own doll houses.

So she went to see the doll house fairy and asked her, "Can you sell my doll house?"

The doll house fairy said, "Yes" and asked her, "How much money do you want for your doll house?"

The little girl answered, "$2.50."

The doll house fairy replied, "Your house isn't worth $2.50 but I will try to sell it for $2.50 because I am your friend."

The doll house fairy waived her magic wand and suddenly everyone in the world knew that they could buy the doll house for $2.50.

The doll house fairy waived her magic wand again and suddenly everyone in town came to see the inside of the doll house. The fairy had made it the main attraction of the charity doll house tour.

But no one wanted to buy the doll house so the little girl asked the fairy, "Why doesn't anyone want my doll house?"

And the fairy told her, "Not everyone likes doll houses painted silver and gold. Your doll house has too many toys stuffed inside it and it's priced too high."

A few months later, the little girl decided the fairy might be right. So the little girl packed away some of the toys from inside the doll house and took them away. She told the fairy, "Reduce the price to $2.27 and sell it."

The fairy told her, "Your doll house still is priced too high. The doll house assessor fairy says its fair market value is only $1.35."

But the little girl said she wanted to try to get $2.27 for the doll house and she asked the doll house fairy to have a public open house.

So the doll house fairy waived her magic wand again and invited everyone to the open house.

When people came, they said, "We don't like the silver and gold inside this doll house and the price is too much."

The little girl was growing impatient and asked the fairy, "Tell me who said that. Give me their names."

So the doll house fairy gave her the names of everyone who came to the open house.

Then the little girl fired the doll house fairy and hired a new fairy from a far away village to help her sell the doll house for $1.95.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Push 1 to Buy House

Working on wap. Our buyers get photos
and details of new homes
fed to their cell phones
as they come on the market.



Two Too-dark Tudors.

KaBoom and KaNews

. . . and now it's back to work.

Newsletter now published.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

1910, 2005 or 2006?

July 4th Parade in Pelham.
July 4, 1910.

Some of the nicest people here in Pelham. Last night, had French dinner with Pelham and new Stamford friends. Joe, what was the name of that band again?

New homes hitting market Thursday. This one's coming on for $1.6M. Door now painted red.
Is it still 2005?

Westchester County Market Report for July 4, 2006.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Back in the USA

Rain finally came down at 4:45pm. New listing -- Thanks, Angela -- Beautiful Brick Center Hall Colonial for Rent in Pelham Manor. Check back for pix and details.

Another relocation family walked in today -- arrived from Europe yesterday.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

___ Marks the Spot

Showed houses all day. Took buyers to lunch at Travers Island.

In real estate, "X" means eXpired = no sale. Three homes listed and marketed by the REALTOR® on the white horse just expired.

Not Bubbling

Party time on ANN's lawn at the Grand Reopening celebration.

Here's another $2+MM home.
Yes, we're selling it for full price.

Vincent and Max are coming up today.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Summer Breeze

Surprisingly busy at the offices. Lots of market activity. 32 closings in first half of year. In past year 3 homes sold at $2MM or above. Here's one we sold.