Commuting To NYC

New Listing: The Perfect Commuter Home - Bloomfield, NJ

What does it take to make a perfect commuter home?

o New York bus one block away! o 21-minute commute to midtown! o High end cook's kitchen! o Central air conditioning and outdoor hot tub! o Big bright family room! o Cozy fireplace! o Basement Rec Room! o Quiet neighborhood! o Easy highway access!

kitchen fam room hot tub

10 Bolton Place was just listed for $399,000 and will not last long on the market.

With ample room for relaxation and entertaining, this sweet home is perfectly placed for you to take advantage of quick, easy access to NY Port Authority. Whether your family is growing out of an apartment into a house, or downsizing into a simpler lifestyle, you have everything to gain in this 3-bedroom gem.

If you'd like to see this or any other homes, please call or text: 973.809.5277

My "Walkable" New Year's Resolutions

New-Year-Greeting-PicturesI've gone through years of outlandish resolutions (lose 25 pounds by February, finish all the half-read books on my nightstand, eat kale at every meal), and I've greeted the New Year with no resolutions at all. But this year, I've thought about how I can take better advantage of this amazing community I live in -- and also how I can give back. Many of my resolutions this year are "walkable" in nature, and they feel absolutely right. It's a list that captures the things that are really important to me -- the perfect recipe for a Happy New Year!

o  If I'm buying only one bag of groceries, I will ride my bike to Acme     rather than take the car.

o  If it's not raining (or snowing!) I will walk to the train station for my trips into New York City.

o  Rather than drive to the YMCA for my usual 45 minutes on the treadmill, I will walk the 3-mile loop from Edgemont Park, up through Yogi Berra Way, across Highland and down through Anderson Park.

o  If it's above 20 degrees, my daughter will walk home from the high school rather than me picking her up. (However,   if she's annoying me, it will only have to be above 15 degrees!)

o  I will grow half the veggies my family consumes between the months of July and October.

o  Every month, I will give away or sell at least one un- or underused item from my garage attic or basement. (My favorite way to do this is on the Montclair Swap Meet Facebook page.)

o  Each month, I will make a donation of either time, food or supplies to the Montclair Animal Shelter.

If one of your resolutions is to move yourself or your family up, out or over and a walkable suburb seems like it might fit with what's important to you, too, please don't hesitate to call me. I'd love to show you all this area has to offer! 973.809.5277

Just Listed: 44 Rector Place - Bloomfield

rector 3

This expanded Cape offers the best of so many worlds! With four good-sized bedrooms, 44 Rector Place in Bloomfield is more house than it appears at first. Freshly painted, refinished hardwood floors and a breakfast nook that overlooks the golf course, this home is in ready for its next owner.

Other great features include: central air, back deck, nice flat lot, over-sized garage with plenty of additional storage, partially finished basement and an unbeatable price.

I love this quiet section of Bloomfield, just slightly off the beaten path so it feels private, but also mere blocks away from bustling Broad Street, with some favorite eateries -- like Brookside Thai and Holsten's (where the ending scene of the Soprano's finale was filmed!) -- and all manner of shopping. This home is also minutes away from the Garden State Parkway and an easy walk to the New York City bus and local parks.

Listed at $289,000, this home will not last.

If you're planning a move to the area, I have many wonderful things to show you in Bloomfield! This is a great time to buy! Call me: 973.809.5277

Surgeon General Calls - Montclair Answers

walking-web-buttonI just came upon one of those cute 2-minute videos where a narrator explains some broad concept while a high-speed hand renders an animated line drawing to illustrate the point - in this particular case, the point being:

We All Need To Walk More!

The walking information should come as no surprise to anyone - the health benefits of walking have been written about abundantly. What was surprising (and gratifying) to me was that Step It Up! - the campaign that the Surgeon General launched last week - involves not only a call to action for people to increase the amount of time they spend walking, but also for communities to become safer, more hospitable places to walk.

This means adding sidewalks, taking care of green space, and generally creating a vibe throughout the community that makes walking pleasant and appealing. For me, that often means having interesting destinations - coffee shops, boutiques, bookstores - that I can get to on foot. The good news is, Montclair already does all of that!

This video even included things that are already part of my life - like walking to the train or the bus if I'm going into the city, or structuring some of my social time around walking (I have as many walking dates as I do lunch dates to catch up with friends).

Do I feel proud of my town for being a poster child for the Surgeon General's most recent communique to create more walkable communities? I don't really have to answer that, do I?

Location, Location, Location - in Montclair & Glen Ridge

FrontAs a born and bred New Yorker, I can be a little jaded about the filming that often takes place in Montclair and Glen Ridge. This area has long been a top destination for filmmakers looking for beautiful homes to shoot - not only because of its close proximity to the city, but also because the pickings are so vast and so varied. Here you can find classic Colonials, elegant Victorians, Georgian bricks and stucco Mediterraneans. There are California contemporaries, ranches, and stunning prewar apartment buildings. Truly a location scout's dream.

But New York City always had film crews and craft services trucks popping up here and there, and after the first few sightings, it really felt like no big deal.

But then there was the day I logged onto the New York Times website and saw my old house featured in an article. Does everyone look upon their house from the perspective of a proud parent? Because that's exactly what it felt like to see my first grown-up home, dapper and inviting, depicted in the news - and in the New York Times, no less!

Even after all these years, I'm still taken with the fact that I live in a community where home after home is picture perfect - a community that is so regularly sought after as representing the suburban ideal. If we find you a house together, I can't promise that your little bundle of joy will end up in the New York Times, but I can promise that Montclair and Glen Ridge deliver the goods for home buyers as least as well as they do for location scouts, usually even better!

My Ode to Midland Ave in Montclair

P1000940When I take clients around Montclair, at some point they always ask, "Which area is the best?" Of course, "best" is relative. If you're a commuter, living near one of Montclair's 7 train stations might be best. If you have small children, maybe it's living near one of the many parks. Or near Applegate Farms (now you know my favorite indulgence!). Some people want to live near one of the movie theaters, others prefer a New York City view.

But central to it all, is Midland Avenue. In fact, there's a plaque on Midland denoting the exact center of town. As spring turns quietly into summer, it always feels like Midland comes to life.

At the end of June, a truly magical tradition takes place. After receiving their diplomas, all the new high school graduates board a small fleet of school buses and are driven throughout the town. They begin their trek on Midland and little crowds of well-wishers gather on the sidewalks, banging pots and pans with old metal spoons to celebrate them. It's noisy and jubilant and a perfect way to lead into another one of my very favorite Montclair traditions - the July Fourth Parade. On that day, everyone in town flocks to Midland, lawn chairs flanking the block. There are vintage cars and marching bands, baton twirlers and Boy Scouts. The highlight, for me, is the bagpipes. Vendors sell balloons and pretzels, and if you're not sitting (or marching) you're wandering on the sidewalk, running into friends and neighbors as if you're at the world's biggest block party. It's hard to imagine another community with as much soul and revelry.

I can't really say where the "best" part of Montclair is. Only that there's nowhere I'd rather be.

Tips for Montclair Bicycle Commuters

bicyclecommuterAccording to the Natural Resources Defense Council, Americans are increasingly choosing to live in walkable communities, like Montclair, where there are more transportation choices that allow residents to live free of traffic jams and closer to their jobs, shopping and schools. The personal freedom, minimized carbon footprint, and cost-saving routines combine to create a vibrant and less stressful way of life.

While the notion of commuting at least part way by bike sounds idyllic, forewarned is definitely forearmed. Here are some tips to consider before strapping on your helmet and loading your briefcase onto the luggage rack.

Unless your office has a handy shower available to you, consider carefully what you to choose to wear on your commute. There's nothing worse than arriving sweaty with no reasonable way to freshen up. Ride slowly, and choose clothing that breathes. Always carry a packable rain jacket, preferably one with armpit zippers, which you can throw on quickly in the event of rain or brisk winds.

Saddlebags are a great way to carry your gear - lock, pump, tools, raincoat, lunch, laptop, what have you. Choose a model that's weatherproof. It will keep rain, snow and puddles at bay. They also keep the weight off your back, letting you balance your bicycle for optimum stability. Most come with quick release catches, allowing you to grab and go once you've parked the bike for the day.

Don't forget about the bike. Keeping your bike in good condition and well-tuned is the best way to minimize the amount of energy it will take to ride back and forth to work or the station. Check your tire pressure regularly, and make sure that your gears are properly adjusted.

Bicycle or multi-modal commuting is a great way to enjoy both the urban experience as well as the great outdoors, and Montclair offers the best of both. Built before the advent of the automobile, it is pedestrian-friendly and architecturally eclectic, and I'd love to help you make it your home. Visit my website, give me a call on my mobile at 973-809-5277, or send me an email at info@walkablesuburb.com, and let's find you the perfect Montclair home.

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      Is Montclair the New Beachfront Property?

      300px-Upper_Montclair_Station_-_July_2010As a New Jersey Realtor, I am a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Last week I read a news release on the NAR website that confirmed what I've been seeing over the past several years: homes near public transportation tend to command a higher price than others.

      According to a study done by NAR and the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), homes located near public transportation with high frequency service performed 42% better during the last recession than those further away. The difference in value was so striking that APTA President and CEO Michael Melaniphy declared, "When homes are located near public transportation, it is the equivalent of creating housing as desirable as beach front property."

      The study looked at housing prices in metropolitan Boston, San Francisco, Phoenix, Chicago, and the Twin Cities. Although New York was not included, I would certainly add it to the list.  Montclair homes located along the DeCamp bus route or near one of 6 New Jersey Transit train stations lost remarkably little of their value during the recent economic downturn demonstarting that while prime Montclair real estate may be pricey in the short term, it is a smart investment (not to mention a terrific place to live) in the long term.

      Walkable in Rutherford NJ: 45 Sylvan St.

      8 miles from Manhattan lies the popular town, Rutherford.  With NJ Transit bus and train service, the commute to either NYC or Hoboken is about 30 minutes. This newly listed Victorian is only 2 blocks from the train station and 1 block to shops and restaurants. It features 7 bedrooms and 3 and a half bathrooms in a generous 4000 square feet. An oversized 3 car garage is also included - but then again, why would you even need a car in this very walkable location?

       

      What's the Parking Situation Like in Montclair NJ?

      Let's say you just live too far from the train stations to walk there.  Or perhaps it's not such a bad walk in the fall and the spring but brutal in January and August. There are options.  As of November 2012 there are several lots with no waiting lists for permits, however some have waits as long as 7 years.  But here's the work around: Although most train stations have two hour limits on street parking for the streets within a two block radius of the station, you can always park three blocks away and walk the rest .  As long as you move your car by 2 am you're good.

      C permits(Central Business District): daytime parking permit valid in 10 lots in the downtown area, $300 /6 months - currently no waiting list. Download C Permit application form.

      W permits (Walnut & Watchung lots): daytime parking permit. Fee $360/ 6 months for Transit and $300 for non-transit/Merchants - wait list for permits approx. 2 years for Walnut and 8 months for Watchung. Download W Permit application form.

      U permits (Upper Montclair lots): daytime parking permit. Fee $360 / 6 months for Transit and $300 for Non-transit/Merchants- wait list for permits approx. 7 years. Download U Permit application form.

      MH permits (Montclair Heights lot): daytime parking permit. Fee $300 / 6 months - no waiting list. Download MH Permit application form.

      Mountain Ave. Permits (U permit valid at Mountain Ave. only):  Fee $300 / 6 months - no waiting list.

      B Permits: Valid 7 days a week,24 hrs/day in the Bay Street Deck only. Fee $360 / 6 months - approx. wait time 5 years. Download B Permit application form.

      G Permits: (Grove St. lot) - daytime parking permit. Fee $300 / 6 months - no waiting list. Download G Permit application form.