Sale price reported

451 Cognewaugh, which started off at $1.725 million, closed at $1,338,800. The listing agent found and sold it to the buyer, which after 300+ days on the market, can’t be complained about: every other agent in town had full opportunity to sell it to her own client, but the sale price intrigues me. Clearly this was a negotiated price, and it’s fun to imagine one agent tussling and arguing with himself.

Fortunately, we don’t have to imagine what that scene might have looked like, because FWIW’s official 7-11 correspondent was on the scene:

And for those who remember him, the agent’s grandfather was also an agent – he obviously taught his son, who passed it on, the technique.

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What a dope

Just be cool, babe

Just be cool, babe

Obama supposedly “furious” with his daughter for smoking weed on the Vineyard.


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When buyers walk, it hurts

21 Mohawk Lane

21 Mohawk Lane

21 Mohawk Lane took a tiny – $25,000 – price cut today, to $1.925 million. It reported a contingent contract back in May (when we discussed it), after dropping from $2.725 in 2015 to $1.950, yet here it is, still around in August. The listing broker explains what happened:

The house was under a binding contract, but the buyer decided not to close for personal reasons unrelated to the house. Owner has moved out and the house is ready for immediate occupancy.

Agent to Agent Rmrks: Some clients may be concerned about proximity to the Merritt. This property has practically no impact from the Merritt. Also in anticipation of closing owners have moved out and the empty is empty.
That agent, Mark Pruner, is one of the good ones, and there’s absolutely no doubt that this is what happened, but at least in my experience, it’s never a good thing when a contract is busted. Now the owners have moved out, put it up for rent as well as for sale, and buyers will, or should, smell blood in the water. It’s a good house, and there have been some very expensive homes sold on Mohawk, so if you’re looking around mid-northern Stanwich, you might want to look here, and see if you can’t extract an even better bargain.
“The empty is empty”, by the way, may be a typo, but it has a nice, hollow ring to it that sounds apt for the situation.


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Entitlement is not just an American affliction

August 31, 2014: Refugee welcome celebration in Berlin. There'd probably be a smaller crowd two years on.

August 31, 2014: Refugee welcome celebration in Berlin. There’d probably be a smaller crowd two years on.

Muslim refugees in Germany refuse to work because “we are guests of Angela Merkel, and guests do not work”.

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More hysteria from the Democrat press

Trump rally, Bangor, Maine

Trump rally, Bangor, Maine

Portland Press Herald: New England Republicans near extinction in Trump backlash

My immediate question raised by they headline was “what Republicans?”, and the paper answers it without, obviously, ever asking it themselves:

Only four Republicans remain in New England’s 33-member congressional delegation, and three are in competitive races.

Republicans were driven from New England years ago, yet Trump is to blame? How prescient of those liberals.


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GMLS July statistics

460 North Street - one of 12 homes priced at $20 million and above. Number of sales $20 million and above in past 12 months: 0

460 North Street, $20 million  – one of 25 homes priced at $15 million and above.
Number of sales $15 million and above in past 12 months: 0

Pretty much in line with what we’ve been reporting here.

 Of the 96 [houses] currently under contract, six of those properties are priced over $5 million, while 41 of the listings were priced under $1.5 million. Year-to-date there are 5% fewer sales compared to 2015 yet the dollar volume of sales is down 13%. Demand continues to be strong across the Town for properties under $2 million in good condition,” stated Joann Erb, 2016 President of the Greenwich Association of Realtors.

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Desperate times call for desperate measures

No, I just checked again, honey - it wasn't yours

No, I just checked again, honey – it wasn’t yours

For the third time this year, Connecticut keeps another unclaimed million-dollar Lottery prize 

Unlike other state lotteries that release specific locations – or at least the name of the community – where a winning ticket was sold, CT Lottery only releases the name of county after the numbers are drawn. Only after the 180-day expiration date passes does CT Lottery disclose the name of the retailer and town where the ticket is sold.

“Well of course that’s deliberate,” Lotto Commissioner Francis X. Fudrucker told FWIW. “Just because our customers are idiots doesn’t mean we have to be.”

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Islamic derangement syndrome: their religion is driving them mad

Quickly! Everybody to the mental health clinic!

Quickly! Everybody to the mental health clinic!

Yet another attack by a Muslim, this time a knife-wielding shouting Allah Akbar as he stabs rabbi, attributed to mental illness.

FrontPage provides a partial list of poor, crazy Muslims who for some reason are being compelled to attack innocents: Who was it who said Trump was cray for demanding strict scrutiny of Muslims trying to enter this country?

France: Muslim destroys Christmas decorations, screams “Allahu akbar”: “His mental state, quickly found wanting, required his placement in the specialized hospital Allonnes.”

France: Muslim driver ramming pedestrians while screaming “Allahu akbar” was “absolutely not an act of terrorism”: “‘This is absolutely not an act of terrorism,’ Prosecutor Marie-Christine Tarrare told reporters during a press conference, adding that the man had a ‘long-lasting and severe psychological disorder’ and had been hospitalised over 150 times since 2002.”

UK: Imam accused of recruiting for jihad group doesn’t have to wear electronic tag — it breaches his human rights: “A terror suspect last night won a human rights case to have his tag removed – because he thinks MI5 has put a bomb inside it. A judge said the dangerous preacher of hate has mental health problems, and wearing the electronic monitoring device was making him ‘delusional’.”

California: Muslim arrested in mosque vandalism: “His older sister describes Khan as having schizophrenia.”

Muslim NYPD cop killer told passers-by to watch: “The gunman who fatally ambushed two New York City police officers in their squad car had a long criminal record, a hatred for police and the government and an apparent history of mental instability that included an attempt to hang himself a year ago, police said Sunday.”

France: Muslim who stabbed rabbi gets four years: “Haddouche was deemed unfit to stand trial because of mental issues following a psychiatric evaluation…”

Toronto Muslim charged with carrying concealed meat cleaver into Parliament: “RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson told reporters that Ali is known to authorities, but ‘not in the sort of counter-terrorism context.’ In fact, Paulson does not believe that the man’s actions were politically motivated or an act of terror. ‘I understand it is less a concern around so-called national security considerations as it is a mental health issue,’ he said. ‘There is a history of behaviours that are odd.’”

Austria: Muslim drives car into crowd, killing 3, then gets out and stabs passersby: “Police are not currently investigating terrorism as a motive and the man is believed to be suffering from mental illness.”

Canada: Police shoot Muslim wearing apparent suicide vest and holding triggering device: “In the aftermath of the shooting, police downplayed the incident saying only that the call involved ‘an emotionally disturbed person.’”

Muslim bangs on cockpit door, threatens to down plane, “wanted to see Allah”: “After being held back from the cabin door, which could not have been opened anyway, the man, who fellow passengers said appeared to have mental health issues, was then guarded by staff and the sports stars in business class.”

Muslima who beheaded toddler recently became religious, started wearing hijab: “One theory is that the woman is mentally ill and that she may have been exploited by a man or men she knew.”

Canada: Ottawa shooter’s father waged jihad in Libya in 2011; shooter not a recent convert but a longtime Muslim: “Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, the slain 32-year-old suspected killer of a Canadian Forces soldier near Parliament Hill, was a labourer and small-time criminal – a man who had had a religious awakening and seemed to have become mentally unstable.”

Canada: Muslim acting “in the name of Allah” runs down two soldiers, flips car after chase, charges officers with long knife, is shot: “‘We are at the beginning of an investigation. Several hypotheses are being looked at,’ said Sgt. Michel Brunet, adding that investigators would study various angles, including mental illness and terrorism.”

Philly cop shooter: “I follow Allah. I pledge my allegiance to the Islamic State. That is why I did what I did.”: “Archer’s mother has indicated that he is mentally ill and Ross said investigators do not know yet if the suspect was indeed radicalized or tied to terrorism.”

Oklahoma: School evacuated after “Middle Eastern” woman says she came there to “take the kids to heaven”: “During the news conference, police also said that the woman had been having mental health concerns recently.”

Chattanooga jihad murderer viewed Awlaki material online, spoke of Islamic martyrdom as long ago as 2013: “As the F.B.I. sent more investigators into this city Monday to explore dozens of possible leads, a picture took shape of a deeply troubled young man who struggled with mental illness and drug abuse at the same time he found himself alienated from United States policies in the Arab world, according to the authorities, friends and the family representative.”

Colorado Muslim stabs cop, drops Qur’an during struggle: “At about 2 p.m. Saturday, the suspect’s family told law enforcement that they were worried because Clark left his residence in Penrose and said he wasn’t going to return. They also said Clark was mentally disturbed, had been working out a great deal during the last two months and recently had broken up with his girlfriend.”

NYC police commissioner: Hatchet attack by convert to Islam was terror: “Authorities also are trying to determine if Thompson had any history of mental illness.”

UK Muslim who admitted sharing jihad videos rants about “enemy of Islam court”: “Ahmed, who has a history of mental health problems, pleaded guilty to two counts of dissemination of a terrorist publication.”

France: Muslim screaming “Allahu akbar” tries to strangle police officer: “Other police officers saw the events on the video surveillance system and rushed to save their colleague, who had been thrown to the ground. His assailant was said to have a history of psychiatric problems.”

Spain: Violent Muslim screaming “Allahu Akbar, all you Christians will die!” gets arrested: “Later, he was administered comprehensive tests to ascertain if he was under the influence of drugs or suffered from a mental illness.”

UK Muslim gets 20 years for trying to set up jihad training camp in Oregon: “Haroon Aswat, who has been treated for mental illness in the UK, had pleaded guilty to the charges in March after being extradited from Britain to the US last year.”

France: Knife-wielding Muslim teen screams “Allahu akbar,” shoots teacher with BB gun: “A psychiatric examination was scheduled for 13 October, with the teenager is likely to be brought before a judge.”

Colorado Muslima pleads guilty to conspiring to aid Islamic State: “Moore set sentencing for Jan. 23, saying he wanted time for Conley to undergo more complete psychiatric testing. ‘I desire more information’ on her mental state, he said, asking for both a psychological and personality evaluation.”


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Free bowl of quinoa to first FWIW reader to spot one of these in the Whole Foods parking lot

Taraf: Only 200 to be made, and most are destined for the Middle East, but surely a hedgie will divert one here

Taraf: Only 200 to be made, and most are destined for the Middle East, but surely a hedgie will divert one here

Aston Martin introduces the  million-dollar, 195 mph Laguna Taraf

(And yes, to answer your question, there’s absolutely no real estate news to report on this 19th day of August.)


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News you shouldn’t use, or tell your spouse about

Yeah, you'll be in the dog house, but what price freedom?

Yeah, you’ll be in the dog house, but what price freedom?

Garments shrunk in dryer can be restored with baby shampoo. I only had to shrink three of Pal Nancy’s favorite blouses (and maybe a sweater or two) before she permanently relieved me of laundry duty. Of course, that still left yard and house maintenance, but it did get me out of that particular chore. Had she known this DIY trick, I might have been stuck in front of that Maytag forever.

The good news? I don’t think this will work on those china dishes you drop off the counter when asked to clean up after a party.


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Why have a federal Government Accountability Office when no one is ever held accountable?

Not necessarily story-related, but I think "helmets",  I think, "Dukakis"

Not necessarily story-related, but I think “helmets”, I think, “Dukakis”

No, I’m not talking about Obama playing golf while Louisiana drowns, although that’s an interesting issue, and I’m not referring to the two VA administrators suspended, with pay, 19 months ago for their part in hiding delays in veteran’s treatment, who were recently returned to work in other offices despite being given termination notices at the time of their suspensions,  I’m speaking about corrupt US prison officials manufacturing defective military helmets and endangering soldiers in combat.

Federal-prison inmates in Beaumont, Texas, manufactured more than 100,000 defective helmets for the US military, even hiding some from inspection and sending others directly to the battlefield, according to a federal report by the US Department of Justice that was released on Wednesday.

The report, a joint effort by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), found multiple instances of fraud in the manufacturing and sale of Advanced Combat Helmets (ACH) produced through the program between 2006 and 2009.

The helmets had a slew of defects, “including serious ballistic failures…blisters and improper mounting-hole placement and dimensions, as well as helmets being repressed,” according to the report.

The helmets were also found to have been made using “degraded or unauthorized ballistic materials, expired paint, and unauthorized manufacturing methods.”

More than 126,000 ACHs were recalled by the end of the program, costing the government more than $19 million.

The inmates were hired by ArmorSource, a private corporation that was the official manufacturer of the ACH, and Federal Prison Industries (FPI), a government-backed organization established to educate inmates and help them find work.

FPI, one of the organizations responsible for overseeing production, also “pre-selected” helmets for screening, even though the US Department of Defense (DOD) guidelines specifically required helmets to be selected at random.

FPI staff were also found to have directed inmates to forge documents that would falsely indicate that helmets had passed their inspection, according to the report.

Here’s the money quote:

As a result of these discoveries, the FPI facility in Beaumont was shut down and its staff transferred to other jobs within the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Wouldn’t it be more fit to strap defective helmets on their heads and drop them by helicopter into an Afghan fire fight?


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How often has this happened?

474 North Street

474 North Street

474 North Street has taken another price cut and is now asking $3.150, and that in fact may actually be a good deal. The owner built this as a spec house in 2006-2007, but that was bad timing, compounded by his pricing it at $5.495 million. It’s come on and off the market since then, rented out, mostly.

I toured the place, clients in tow, several years ago and, though pretty shopworn, it could definitely have worked, even though it’s right on North Street and even though its pool is its back yard. I extended an informal offer of $3.250 on behalf of my clients, to test the water, and was told not to bother, so we didn’t.

As I recall, the reason our offer was spurned was because the owner had already received and rejected several higher offers over the years. My response then was that he should have taken one of them, and now it’s clear he also should have accepted ours.

Amazing how dated a bathroom can look after just 10 years

Amazing how dated a bathroom can look after just 10 years

That's pretty much for the backyard: it's all downhill from here.

That’s pretty much it for the backyard: it’s all downhill from here.

side yard




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Sale on Lindsay

29 Lindsay Drive

29 Lindsay Drive

29 Lindsay Drive (only link with pictures is to its rental listing which is now moot), $3.725 million. The house has been on and off the market since 2007, when it started at $5.250, and rented out between failed attempts to sell it. $3.725 seems reasonable, but I wonder where that $5.2 number came from?


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Old Church Road contract

145 Old Church Road

145 Old Church Road

145 Old Church Road, asking $1.595 million. I’ve always liked this property, and its potential, but it’s original price of $2.495 was silly; at this price, someone can afford to really do something with it and not look foolish over-improving it.

Or they can tear it down, because it’s pretty much going for land value, but I hope it stays.


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Somehow this happens in every communist country – bad luck, eh?

Or you can run them around a bit first - that makes 'em tender

Or you can run them around a bit first – that makes ’em tender

North Korea, facing famine again, encourages its subjects to eat their pets.

While the slaughtering of dogs for food could be seen as understandable if the execution was carried out in a humane way, North Korea’s methods are brutal. The state has instructed citizens to beat the dogs to death. Supposedly pummeling the animal until it dies makes it taste better.

Given its treatment of political prisoners and methods of their execution, beating a dog to death probably is seen as humane.


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High end homes are as illiquid as ships

518 Indian Field Road

518 Indian Field Road

Fjord Fishery’s Papa Fish, just before he drowned in red ink from owning too many charter boats, passed on to me the wisdom of other saddened ship owners: “Chris, it’s easy to buy a boat, it’s very hard to sell one”. I was reminded of that when I read an article in the WSJ a few days ago reporting that shipping companies are scrapping their cargo ships at record numbers, and reminded again by today’s news that 518 Indian Point Road, Mead Point, which hit the market in 2014 at $9.825 million, remains unsold two years later, and has now taken another markdown, to $7.4. 

This is a very appealing house, and Mead Point is, in my opinion, the finest of all our gated neighborhoods, but the market for this price range is about as slim as the market for 19,000-container capacity ships. (On an ironic note, Ole Skaarup, a pioneer in the containerized shipping industry, lived just a bit down the street from here at 545 Indian Field before he died in 2010, age 94. Even his house, (or more accurately, the land his house sat on), direct waterfront, took a year to sell, and had to be reduced from $15.2 to $10.6 million, but it did sell.)

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Why bury all this in the comments, when it’s a slow news day?

The Crystal Lagoon, located in Byram, Connecticut, will be the world's largest outdoor pool, stretching more than half of a mile and filled with 66 million gallons of water.

The Crystal Lagoon, located in Byram, Connecticut, will be the world’s largest outdoor pool, stretching more than half of a mile and filled with 66 million gallons of water.

Reader Balzac writes, in high dudgeon:

The project is planned to cost the town $9.5 million, of which the Junior League plans to raise and contribute $2.5 million, reducing the cost to $7.0 million. The $9.5 million is on page 234 of:

Any talk of $14-28 million is nonsense.

Response: The latest cost estimate for the new pool is $11.4 million, as reported on February 12, 2015 (the link to this article was included in the original post; feel free to read it, this time, Balzac). By the way, “plans to” ? Wanna buy a bridge in Brooklyn?

Greenwich Time:

The project, estimated to be in the $7.5 million range last year, is slated to cost $11.4 million in the proposed municipal budget First Selectman Peter Tesei has submitted for next fiscal year.

Numbers are estimates, and the project is only 30 percent of the way through the design phase. He said he was hopeful that phase would be completed by June allowing for better information.
“People hang onto the estimates like it’s the final number of what a project is going to cost but this is why we still have go to out to bid,” Monelli said.
There have been cases in which an estimate was set and the project came in for less once the bidding was done, he said, pointing to the ongoing Central Fire Station construction as an example. [In fact, it didn’t; see below. Ed]
“This is an estimate and I am sure the numbers are going to change but I can’t tell you when,” Monelli said.


Spending on such enduring and useful infrastructure is a valid choice, unlike spending $3-5 million annually forever on a money-losing nursing home, the only one in the state owned by a municipality.

Response: What’s enduring about any structure, let alone a swimming pool? Have you visited the Eastern Civic Center lately? Eastern Middle School? (the former) Hamilton Avenue school?


This pool will add to, not subtract from property values in town.

Response: Explain how a municipal pool, so situated that it will be used exclusively by our poorest, non-property-owning residents, will increase property values for Greenwich taxpayers, and please include in your answer any studies that support your claim.


And there are no pensions involved.

Response: Is it really intended to staff this entire complex with volunteers and part-time workers, or hire independent contractors? While any of those options would be preferable to adding workers to the town payroll, they all seem unlikely.

Or are you folks on the BET planning to eliminate all town workers’ pensions? If so, bravo!

Revisiting your claim that “any talk of $14-$28 million is nonsense”, I submit the following:


Hamilton Avenue School: cost estimated at $22-$24 million, 18 month construction time. Actual cost, $31 million, 3-year construction time, 7 years subsequent litigation (we lost, and paid an additional $1.4 million in 2014).

Greenwich High School Music hall: Original estimate: $17 million. Actual cost: $46.1 million.

Greenwich Police Station: Original estimate $33 million. Final cost: $44 million.

Greenwich Fire House: Original cost estimate: $16 million. Final cost: $22 million.

(Note that the official numbers for the fire house and the police stations don’t add up to the admitted final cost for the two buildings, $75,487,100 – we’re missing $9,847,100 – where’d that go?)

We’re drowning in debt, and our elected fiscal watchdogs not only want to add a swimming pool, they won’t even admit what they’re doing. I repeat: they’re either incompetent, pussy-whipped, or both.

Junior League model shows off its proposal for" "Byram Pool II, The Addition"

Junior League model shows off its proposal for” “Byram Pool II, The Addition”


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Speaking of Glenville

21 Riversville Road. Homes built downhill from ridge lines always make me nervous, because, I've been told, water flows downhill.

21 Riversville Road. Homes built downhill from ridge lines always make me nervous, because, I’ve been told, water flows downhill.

11 Riversville Road, new construction asking $1.9 million, reports a pending sale. It started off at $2.595 464 days ago, but $1.9 obviously seemed more reasonable to at least one buyer. It looks like a good house, and it’s an easy walk from here to Glenville, if there were anything in Glenville to inspire someone to walk there.

It’s a lot more house, and land, than similarly priced homes on Riverside Lane, but long term, Riverside Lane may prove the sounder buy. Personally, I’d prefer to live here, all things being equal, which they are not.


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Who said the back country is dead?

20 Steeple Chase

20 Steeple Chase

It took a year and several price cuts, but 20 Steeple Chase has sold for $2.2 million. The owners paid $1.750 for it in 1992 and put more money into it, so they probably aren’t getting rich on their sale, but at least they’re rid of it. I’m always  a little surprised when houses this far north manage to sell at any price, but they do, and many sell for millions of dollars. Go figure.


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Finally, it closed

21 North Street. You'd think that after 7 years, the agent could have come up with an actual photo rather than a drawing from the Famous Artists School, but no

21 North Street.
You’d think that after 7 years, the agent could have come up with an actual photo rather than a drawing from the Famous Artists School, but no

21 North Street has sold for $4,512,500. I thought it was an exceptional house (with incredibly pleasant owners) when I was showing it to clients back in 2013, but my clients, having narrowed their search to this and another house a bit further north, chose the one further north because of its bigger yard.

The owners paid $5.650 for it in 2007 when it was newly constructed, but priced it at just $4.995 in 2010, in acknowledgment of what had happened to prices after the 2008 collapse. That price was reduced steadily until 2013, when it was down to $4.695 (and I thought my clients could probably get it for less), then the house was removed from the market and rented until 2015, when it came back on at that same $4.995.

Its location right on North Street really hurt this house, but it’s set down from that road and I thought the noise was minimal. But not so minimal that the owner didn’t lose $1 million + on the place.

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