Fotos on the fly – The GW bridge in blue – autism awareness…

The GW Bridge from Yonkers - blue lights for autismApril 2, was Autism awareness day.  And the GW Bridge lights were lit up in blue to raise awareness.  Disorders in the Autism spectrum are on the rise.  As a former researcher, Autism and its spectrum of disorders has always held something of a special place in my mind and heart.  Although progress is being made, like most complex disorders with a wide spectrum  of symptoms, there are probably multiple causes, some of it genetic, some of it environmental all at play.    As much as we need awareness, we need research dollars.   Research  like this can not be left to the private sector as the the road will lead down a dozen blind alleys.  As is the case with most complex disorders, there is probably no one “cause”.  Let us turn our attention to the reckless budget cutting that is going on in Washington and realize that this is making the pathway that much harder to get at the answers and possible solutions.

original post – – 2013 – All rights reserved.

Fotos on the fly – Carlson’s Floral & Gift is ready for spring…

Flowers - Carlson's White Plains NYIts Passover and Holy Week and even though it is spring, it feels like winter still.  We were supposed to have snow on Monday, but thankfully we were spared. In any case, Carlson’s Floral & Gift is ready with flowers, arrangements and all sorts of wonderful arrangements for your home and garden.   Just a walk-through is enough to fill your mind with wonderful ideas for your home and garden….

And if you are thinking about selling your home, curb appeal is key and a few arrangements artfully placed can make all the difference in the world.  Its an inexpensive way to spruce up ho-hum landscaping.

Happy Spring – even though winter still appears to be with us!

Carlson’s is located on Dobbs Ferry Road on Route 100B near the ramp for the Sprain Brook Parkway.

© 2013 – Ruthmarie G. Hicks – – All rights reserved.

2 Family Home For Sale in Vernon Park – 130 Hillside Ave – Mount Vernon NY

130 Hillside Ave - Mount Vernon NYTHIS HOME IS CURRENTLY UNDER CONTRACT – Stay tuned for final sales data once title passes.

The Bullet:

  • 2 Family Home
  • The home: 2850 sf
  • The Lot: 4792 sf
  • Taxes: $15,254
  • Offered at: $439,999


The Details:
Mount Vernon real estate has been making a comeback.   Smart buyers are snapping up properties to call home or even and investments.

There a few Mount Vernon homes for sale with this type of “wow” factor.   A pre-war brick two family home that is fully updated and move-in ready.  You get the charm and substantial construction of the early 20th century while having all the modern conveniences of the 21st century.
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A picture is worth a thousand words – or at least between $1000 – $18,000…

This is a topic that I have brought up in the past.  In 2010 Redfin did a study that got a lot of people riled up.  It was about the impact of professional photography on home sales.  I think it riled up agents and brokers because at the height of the housing recession, the last thing they wanted to hear was that they needed to fork up precious marketing dollars for professional photography.

Real Estate Photography Matters!

However, let’s be honest here:  the study was pretty much stating the obvious.  It was something that I had intuitively known for several years and had been preparing for.  The internet changed everything.   Eye candy was ruling the day and fine photography  had become the centerpiece of any smart agent’s marketing plan.  That agents were slow to respond is understandable.  They had been doing Poleroid shots, followed by point-and-shoot for years.  What they were underestimating was how much buyers were letting their fingers do the walking online.  With thousands of listing photos online, buyers were eliminating inventory before even leaving the home or contacting an agent.

The Argument Over Data…..

Agents argued the validity of the data.  I personally have never been a big Redfin fan, but in this case they had really tried to find a way to measure something that was very difficult to quantify. The method was somewhat indirect.  They had to quantify the use of professional photography by the use of camera type.

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Photography and your listing…..

Back in the good old days…..

Back in a time, not so long ago, real estate agents had a thing called the MLS (Multiple Listing Service).  It was privately owned and no one could peek inside unless they were a licensed agent.  The listing books were stacked neatly arranged and updated in brokerage offices throughout Westchester – and throughout most of the country for that matter.

Back then, I wasn’t an agent.  So I can only recall  that time except  from the perspective of a home buyer in the late 90s.  But  I can tell you that photography was not very important back then.   In fact, I don’t recall seeing a single photo before viewing a home.  Agents seemed to take one polaroid shot of each home they liste and that was that.  The internet was around, but a clunky, awkward shadow of its present state.  Search engines weren’t that good at searching and internet speed was…well it was dialup! Loading photos?  I don’t think so….

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When Nor’ Easter Nemo kicked me – Snow Away came to the rescue….

Ok!  I will be the first to admit it!  I have one of the worst driveways in White Plains….It might even be an award winner county-wide.  It is pictured in part in the iPhone photo on the right…. To begin with, it is long and curved.  Its fine for most cars and SUV’s,  but for a plow, it can be difficult.  To add insult to injury, the driveway is in dire need of repaving.  But the length of the driveway means mucho $$$ for re-paving  and although according to the government the “recession has been over” for almost 3 years, most of us here on the ground still feel as though we are deep in a recession….including yours truly.

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The Broadlawn of White Plains – Sales Update for 2012 is Upbeat…

The Broadlawn - 20 N Broadway - White Plains NY 10601
Often when buyers start looking for White Plains NY condos for sale, they find themselves drawn to older complexes with old-world charm.  Westchester coops comprise the largest share of pre-war buildings and many high-end Westchester coops end up being on the short list of buyers for White Plains NY condos.  The Broadlawn of White Plains is just such a complex.

Note:  This site is currently featuring a new listing for the Broadlawn!  A totally renovated 2BR duplex with a granite kitchen an brand new bath.  To learn more about The Broadlawn L-156 – Click Here!

The Broadlawn Complex:

The complex consists of  garden style units surrounded by formal  gardens that including  Pergola and  barbecue area.  Built in 1928, the Broadlawn is know for its Old-World charm and architectural details.  Most of the units at the Broadlawn have  two bedrooms.  Many include such wonderful amenities as fireplaces and  balconies overlooking the formal gardens.  Ground floor units often have private patios.   Many units are duplexes.  The ground floor units tend to be simplexes with patios while the upper floor units are generally duplexes. The Broadlawn was able to forgo raising its maintenance fees last year – which speaks well to its financial stability.  The interior hallways have just been given a facelift and they are also in the process of creating a fitness room on the premises.  All of these are positive steps for the owners and are signs of a thriving community.

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Announcing a photography show…featuring photography tour of Westchester NY




Its been a while since I’ve posted a blog, because  with so many things happening in both real estate – which is starting to pick up big time – and for Fotos On The Fly.  I’ve found myself busier than usual.

First – for the basics.  The show is opening on Friday Feb 1, 5-7 PM  at The Water Cooler in Tarrytown NY.  The exact address is 21 North Broadway on Route 9.  The location is less than a block north of Main St. Here is a link to the event.  You can RSVP as attending or as a “maybe”.    All are welcome!  Please come…I’d love to meet you!

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Happy New Year!! From Renaissance Square in White Plains NY

Over the past several years, White Plains NY has created a new New Years Eve tradition.  Dubbed “mini-me” Manhattan during the building boom  (aka real estate bubble) of the early 200o’s, the city started its own version of the Times Square ball drop followed by fireworks.  I rather enjoy the event although I firmly believe that White Plains needs to stop pretending to be NYC.  There is only ONE Times Square and we need to create our own unique tradition.  Also,  fair warning for those who enjoy a quiet New Years Eve by the fire – this is not that type of gig.  There is a tremendous party atmosphere.  Personally, I’m more of a “by the fire” type myself, but I really do like fireworks displays too….

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Fotos On The Fly – Whimsies of Tarrytown – Great Place to shop local….

Whimsies - Tarrytown NYIn a Walmart dominated world,  holiday shopping has become homogenized.  The unexpected becomes the a thing of the past and the big predictable brand predominates.  But every once in a while you run across something very unique. For anyone reading  this, it is probably too late for me to making suggestions as to where to buy that last minute gift for Christmas Day.  But you may have some people that you still have to shop for after the holidays.   If you live in Westchester NY, and have a yen to find something truly unique…try Whimsies in Tarrytown on Broadway.  You can tell by their window display that they are not your same-old, same-old.  I took this picture on the 22nd.  Its a great store with a character all its own.  It also has something for just about anyone.  And while you are there, if there is  a four-footed friend on your list, try Bark and Meow. Its just a couple of stores down towards Main St. from Whimsies and it has everything a cat or dog could wish for and then some.

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