Fotos On The Fly: Reflections of Independence Day – Old Glory in Mamaroneck NY

Old Glory - Mamaroneck NY

This was a photo that I took last year but never processed until this year.  It needed some retouching due to the angle that I took the picture and at first I rejected it in favor of another version that I posted a long time ago.   The other photo was easier to process, but this one had more character.

For those who don’t know, this flag flies over the town of Mamaroneck every year on Mamaroneck Ave.  I don’t know any other town in Westchester that flies the flag in quite this way, but I really enjoy the effect.  Its understated patriotism without the bells, whistles, and fireworks, yet it has high impact.

On a personal note, this is the 5th independence we are celebrating since the financial collapse of 2008.   Over the past five years I have watched the pitiful and often disingenuous attempts by our government to curtail the excesses of the “free-market cowboys” in the banking industry and on Wall Street.  Being part of the real estate industry, I have had a front row seat into the good, the bad, and the ugly of all the political posturing and the very real suffering of innocent bystanders.  What I have been left with is an emptiness and sadness in the realization that our country no longer functions for “We the People”.  This year, I decided it was time to be more active.  For that reason, I became a local district leader in the city I call home, White Plains, NY.   Its a small contribution, but if every citizen did the same we would perhaps be able to speak with a louder voice.

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For Sale in the Highlands – White Plains NY – 5BR/3BA Colonial – 152 Old Mamaroneck Rd.

Highlands - White Plains NYThe Bullet:

  • 5 Bedrooms
  • 3 Baths
  • 3147 sq. ft. 
  • 0.33 acres
  • Prewar charmer built in 1924
  • Location – the Highlands White Plains NY

The Cost:

  • Offered at $779,000
  • Taxes without STAR:  $15,794
  • Taxes with STAR – deduct $1524: 

Welcome home to a 4-story pre-war colonial, ideal for multigenerational living in White Plains NY.  This home offers old world charm with all the architectural details and unique touches that one expects from a pre-war home while offering plenty of elbow room to expand. In addition the grounds boast an oversized detached garage, two basements.  The property sits on 0.33 wonderful acres offering plenty of space for outdoor living.

Home in Highlands - White Plains NY


For a complete photo album – see my page on Google+ for 152 Old Mamaroneck Rd. 

Sitting on the edge of the famous Highlands neighborhood.  The location of the home offers all the convenience that downtown White Plains is famous for while being tucked away in  a suburban neighborhood.

Downtown White Plains offers all the convenience of city life.  Although the live-in population of White Plains hovers just under 60,000 residents, the city is host to over 250,000 commuters who are employed within the city borders.  Add to that the nightlife and shopping that has evolved around the downtown renaissance and you have a thriving city that really doesn’t sleep.  Although there is only one Manhattan, White Plains has been dubbed “mini-me Manhattan”.  This location gives you the benefit of  a wonderful residential suburban neighborhood with plenty of elbow room and privacy.

The Highlands sits in the buffer zone between the very suburban southern section of White Plains that comprises the southern tip of the city and the true downtown area to the north.  So residents of this neighborhood get the convenience and benefit that the downtown offers combined with the more tranquil and private lifestyle of a suburban neighborhood.  Known for its easy commute.   Its the best of both worlds.

White Plains is also a commuter’s paradise –  a mere 33 minutes from midtown Manhattan and is an express stop on the metro-north Harlem Line.

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

Market Update – Scarsdale Manor Cooperative of Garth Road – The Bull Market Returns….

Scarsdale ManorAfter years of bad news in the housing market, a corner has been turned.  The cooperative complex of Scarsdale Manor  on Garth Road in the Scarsdale PO is an example of such a turn around.   This popular pre-war cooperative complex suffered from the malaise with slow sales and decreasing prices.  Things are now leveling and we appear to be well on our way to healthy price increases.

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Pet Friendly 1BR Coop for Sale at Franklin Manor in Downtown White Plains – 1 Franklin Ave. #3A offered at $175,000

1 Franklin - Exterior1 - small*The Bullet:

  • Offered at $175,000
  • 80% Loan of $140,000
  • Monthly Payment at 4%  $668.00
  • Monthly Maintenance: $1025 – 50% tax deductible ($890 with STAR)
  • Gross Outlay per month: $1558.00
  • Net Outlay after tax deductions: $1300/month

Try finding a comparable unit to rent in downtown White Plains for  $1300 a month in gross outlay.  You can’t.

In addition, the seller is offering one year of FREE parking to the buyer. 

*  These numbers assume that the buyer pays list price and has a standard 20% to put down on the unit at a 4% interest rate.


Franklin Manor #3A - Collage

Franklin Manor Unit #3A:

This is a beautifully maintained complex with an amazing amount of ambiance and old-world charm.  Although no one lives in their lobby, I must say that this is one of the most beautiful lobbies in lower Westchester.   The unit is a LARGE  1 BR/1 BA unit – 875 sf LARGE!  Beautifully maintained and completely updated with a new granite eat-in kitchen, and a new bath. There are hardwood floors throughout cove ceilings a fireplace and an attention to detail that is the trademark of a beautiful pre-war building.  The kitchen is huge.  Marvelous for entertaining and cooks dream come true.

For a photo portfolio of 1 Franklin Ave #3A please click here.

For convenience and charm this unit has it all.


Listing courtesy of Carolyn Schoemer – Keller Williams NY Realty Mobile: 914-629-6572



© 2013 – – All rights reserved.

Yonkers in Blue – For Autism Awareness Day…

Yonkers City Hall in Blue-Color-600Yonkers took Autism Awareness very seriously this year.  This was a very visible display to increase awareness of what has become an epidemic.  Having spent a good part of my life in biomedical research, I have to say that awareness is the first step.  What is now needed is funding for laboratories conducting basic research.   So much of the private sector gains in biotechnology particularly in autoimmune and neurological disorders and cancer, have come on the shoulders of the public sector research that plants the seed corn in basic research.  The recent sequester has decimated the NIH budget – and this should be on everyone’s mind when the far -right clangs the deficit alarms and screams for more “austerity”.  How does squeezing basic research promote future growth?  It doesn’t.  It does the opposite because the private sector can not profitably engage in the type of high-risk basic that may lead down many blind alleys before it hits pay dirt.  So if we want R&D for disorders such as autism and the autism spectrum, we have to fund the labs to do the research.

Lighting up City Hall raises awareness.  But that’s the easy part.  Now as a nation, we have to put our money where our mouths (and gestures) are.

© 2013 – – All Rights reserved.

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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