Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Sebonack Golf Course Ready To Roll News & Commentary

What's Happening In The Hamptons Restaurant Scene

Here's a terrific summation of Hamptons restaurants; new, old, nofo, sofo. md

Digging In Out East
A new crop of restaurants welcomes visitors for summer dining


May 31, 2006

The annual turnover in Hamptons' real estate is under way. And new restaurants are ready for the Spielbergs, Baldwins and you.

Westhampton Beach

The most awaited restaurant in Westhampton Beach is the relocated PassionFish. Restaurateur-chef Tom Schaudel's South Fork foray brings his eclectic new American food to the waterside Dune Deck Hotel, where Starr Boggs once reigned. The perpetual-motion Schaudel just turned the original PassionFish in Woodbury into The Mansion, a retro-formal venue for more traditional cooking. Veteran diners will remember that Schaudel's first East End showcase was the long-departed Downtown Grille in Montauk. 379 Dune Rd., Westhampton Beach; 631-288-5250.


In Southampton, Lori Restaurant & Wine Bar stylishly succeeds James on Main. Chef Michael Meehan, formerly of the Mill River Inn in Oyster Bay and Tupelo Honey in Sea Cliff, among others, oversees the hot new American kitchen. This well-received eatery is owned by Lori Escallier, a co-owner of James on Main. She oversees the dining room. 75 Main St., Southampton; 631-283-7575.

Water Mill

Trata East was slated to open last season in Water Mill, but bloomed this spring. The bright, handsome restaurant specializes in grilled whole fish and the lighter dishes of Greek cuisine. Trata East is the Hamptonian offspring of Trata Estiatorio in Manhattan. 1020 Montauk Hwy., Water Mill; 631-726-6200.

East Hampton

The Laundry, an East Hampton fixture for decades, moves chef and name to Route 27, at the address occupied for years by The Farmhouse and for what seemed only days by The Purple Cow. Chef-partner Andrew Engle continues in the kitchen, which emphasizes the American dishes from the original Laundry. 341 Pantigo Rd., East Hampton; 631-324-3199.

Leif Hope owns the building where Laundry thrived. Hope, who's known as the organizer of the annual charity artists-and-writers softball game, has opened Leif Hope's Restaurant. He has kept unchanged the modernist establishment designed by architect Norman Jaffe. And his summery, very Hamptons menu includes the house hamburger as well as steaks and seafood. It already has a core of regulars. 31 Race Lane, East Hampton, 631-324-3199.

Sag Harbor

The increasingly Hamptonized downtown of Sag Harbor greets another eatery from restaurateur Ed Kleefield, who brought JL East to East Hampton and Madame Tong's to Southampton. Mumbo Gumbo is the name of his new Cajun-themed barbecue establishment. It's located where Jeff & Eddy's used to be. Figure on peanuts-in-the-shell, big TVs, lotsa cocktails and 10 types of gumbo, along with po'boy oyster sandwiches, Southern fried chicken and "five-napkin" barbecue. 62 Main St., Sag Harbor; 631-725-0055.

And the Golden Pear Cafe, a breakfast-and-lunch staple in Southampton, Bridgehampton and East Hampton, opens its fourth branch in Sag Harbor. The new muffin magnet is on the former site of the Harbor Deli. 111 Main St., Sag Harbor; 631-725-2270.


Amagansett's Napeague Stretch restaurant gives way to 27 Lobster and Surf Shack, the unwieldy name of which sums up its ambitions. Expect lobsters, Cajun dishes, Maryland blue crabs and plenty of tropical and frozen drinks with names such as "flaming volcano" and "dirty banana." 2095 Montauk Hwy., Amagansett; 631-267-6980.

And Amagansett also greets The Meeting House, where you'll find fare from seafood to meat loaf. Local artists' work decorates the newcomer. 4 Amagansett Square Dr.; 631-267-2764.

More here...
Digging In Out East --

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Former Warhol Estate Price and Broker Adjustment

We visited Eothen, the oceanfront compound of the late Andy Warhol, on Wednesday. Warhol's film partner and current owner Paul Morrissey was there, as were throngs of real estate brokers and a troupe of models and fashion photographers who took a lunch break to allow us to walk through the five rustic, shabby chic houses/cottages and around the grounds unimpeded.

Morrissey has had the compound, which sits at the end of a long dirt driveway opposite the Deep Hollow Ranch, on the market for years with what seems like nearly every brokerage house in the Hamptons. The newly-adjusted price has dropped from $50MM to $40MM. I refer to these listings as "marquee" listings. Both the broker and the seller enjoy the attention that the listing brings them, even if they are privately certain that the property won't sell even close to the asking price.

That being said, the Hamptons are famous for unique and truly incredible transactions that leave most people stunned (including the broker that made the deal and stands to make a six- or even seven-figure commission). Lightning does strike in this market. It looks like Mr. Morrissey and the new listing agents are doing a rain dance. (So am I - let me know if you'd like to view the property, as it would be my pleasure to make the arrangements.) md

Friday, May 26, 2006

Happy Start To Summer!!!!

The beach? What beach? Ohhhh, THAT beach...

The Hamptons' Most Coveted Spots - New York Times

Top 2% of Market Selling As Overall Sales Volume Falls


In the Hamptons during the first quarter of 2006:
41 properties over $3MM transferred
15 properties over $5MM transferred and
15 properties over $10MM did as well
That's 71 properties over $3MM changing hands.
The high price for the quarter was the $43MM Schwartzman sale on Further Lane in East Hampton. md

Check out numbers for San Francisco and Santa Barbara, Ca in the article below.

RealEstateJournal | Top 2% of Market Still Selling As Overall Sales Volume Falls

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Broad-Brushing A Mega Mini Market

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"The Hamptons
The Hamptons refers specifically to the towns of Southampton and East Hampton on the South Fork, Suffolk County, New York on the east end of Long Island, in Suffolk County, New York.

It is a well-known summer colony. Parts of the Hamptons are well known for being a playground for the rich and are frequented by residents of New York City particularly during the summer months for weekend getaways. This has given rise to the phrases "house in the Hamptons"."

You can't broad-brush national real estate trends on the Hamptons. Well, of course you can, but you will typically miss out on some necessary information that can either make you or save you lots of money - if that matters to you. With over $4.5 Billion in real estate transactions in 2005 and an average sales price over $1MM, the Hamptons surpass the sales volumes of many US cities and some small states.

Fact is, some people are not "day-trading" real estate - they actually want to have a home to live in either full-time or as a vacation spot. I love those people. They're the ones who ride bicycles to the beach and linger on Main Street talking with friends.

For the rest of the gang, there is no shortage of information around to use to tweak your real estate portfolio. Just remember, "The Hamptons" is a unique place that cannot accurately be analyzed or assessed by simply lumping it in with any other market. It's much more complicated than that, but it is certainly worth the effort. md

MONEY Magazine: Real Estate 2006

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Taxes Are Being Questioned Everywhere

It's interesting that when property appreciations are flying high, less attention is paid to tax increases. But the minute things start to slow, folks come out in droves.

Recently, there was a near revolt here on the East End in Southampton Township when town assessors adjusted assessments as planned. Many owners (who remained quiet when they were under-assessed the first time around) blew their stacks when they received reassessment notices closer to their fair market value.
Over a thousand residents showed up and stood in the rain last week in Hampton Bays waiting for their grievance opportunity.

Another point worth noting; many of the spring votes for local school tax increases on the East End have been voted down by residents, leaving school districts in a pinch and in need of finding ways to reduce expenses.

The article below outlines the row over resident/non-resident property taxes in Florida. md

RealEstateJournal | Florida Snowbirds Question Fairness of Property Tax

Monday, May 22, 2006

Matrix � [In The Media] Fox News Clip for 5-19-06

I believe Jonathan J. Miller is one of the brightest people in the real estate field - anywhere. Below he speaks on Fox News. Always a pleasure to listen to. md

Matrix � [In The Media] Fox News Clip for 5-19-06

Immediate threat of 7% mortgage rate disappears

Mortgage rates have defied the predictions of those who believed they would be higher than they currently are after the Fed interest rate run-up of the last several months. That being said, while higher rates comprise just one of the factors that has taken some of the steam out of investors in the mid-range, most of the high-end investors don't care. They want what they want when they want it, and many high-end purchases don't need mortgages.

The following article is from Lou Barnes. He sees the skittishness of the markets, including mortgage interest rates, as being due to the many contradicting data points that have come out in recent weeks. md

Inman Real Estate News - Immediate threat of 7% mortgage rate disappears

Most Expensive Homes In The U.S. 2006 -

Most Expensive Homes In The U.S. 2006 -

Top 2% of Market Still Selling ...

HREO.COM displays 493 listings over $5MM in all of the Hamptons (including some duplicates for co-exclusives and open listings).
There are:
30 listings at $20MM plus
100 listings at $10MM plus
363 listings between $5-10MM
673 listings between $3-5MM
2242 listings between $1-3MM and
1643 listings at $1MM or less

That's over 5000 homes for sale in a market that sells between 2400-2600 homes a year. md

RealEstateJournal | Top 2% of Market Still Selling As Overall Sales Volume Falls

Friday, May 19, 2006

Hamptons Chit-Chat Primer

From Memorial Day to Labor Day, be prepared to chat while on line for your health muffin at The Golden Pear Cafe. md

Investor's Business Daily: Breaking News

The Catskills MUST Be Back. They've Got NIMBY's!

Wall Street Journal reports that the former Carvel estate in Upstate New York is under plans for a golf course and a number of people aren't very happy about it. md

RealEstateJournal | Opposition Grows Against Plan To Build Golfing Community

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Have You Ever Heard of a QPRT?

Will you be passing that property on to future generations?
Great information on real estate trusts from Toni Haber, PDE NYC. md
link below:

New York City Real Estate Market Guide: Translating the Secret Language of Real Estate

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Kaa-Choo! You, Too?

I didn't have allergies until I hit 40 years old. All of my cousins suffered miserably as children. I believed I was lucky to have dodged that bullet. Well, that bullet hits me now. I thought for a few years that I was getting a coincidental "spring cold", after all, I don't have allergies! Think again. It's amazing how Claritin works on my "spring cold". md

Some pretty good advice below:
Realty Times - Real Estate News and Advice Too Much Spring Is In The Air

It Has Been Said...

...that everyone becomes an "environmentalist" after they purchase their home.

The trend, nationwide and here in the Hamptons, has been toward significantly larger homes. Land is becoming scarce as a result of demand for new homes and preservation efforts. It also is becoming more expensive. Spec builders can't make desired profit margins from a small house on an expensive lot, so that effect drives the size and prices of homes as well, resulting in some subdivisions that are starting to look

"Although opponents of sprawl believe they are making rational and disinterested diagnoses...the self-interest is clear in the case of the New Yorker who owns a weekend home in the Hamptons and rails against the continuing development of Long Island...families who have recently moved to the suburban periphery are often the most vociferous opponents of further development of exactly the same kind that created their own house, because that would destroy their views or reduce their access to the countryside..."

The link below is to a fairly in-depth essay on sprawl by Architectural Historian Robert Breugmann.
The American Enterprise: How Sprawl Got a Bad Name

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Nutty House

Buying a house, whether it be a first, second or umpteenth home, is stressful and can bring out both the best and the worst in people. I have a degree in psychology, and I worked in the mental health field through college and for a few years after graduating. I figured that with all of my experience (and as my altruism waned), I at least wanted to get paid for my mediation skills, so I went into the restaurant and hotel business where there is no shortage of opinions on both sides of the bar.

During my divorce 8-9 years ago, my dear friend Dave was there for me non-stop during my days and nights of angst. I felt so grateful for his constant support and guilty at the same time, because when he went through his divorce 5 years earlier, I was nowhere to be found. I stayed away, like I was afraid I would catch the divorce flu.

I remember telling him one evening how guilty I felt that I wasn't there for him as he was there for me, and he said to me, "Don't worry, man, you just be there for the next guy".

When I got my real estate license, I decided that the way I would pay Dave back was by cheerfully handling the occasional home sale that comes along where there was a divorce involved. Luckily, I've learned not to take things that people say during "divorce psychosis" personally, because, holy mackerel, can things get nasty! I've been used as a figurative punching bag and expected to be a messenger of evil wishes on numerous occasions, which I have resisted.

While these sales are only a small fraction of my business, the work required for a home listing in a divorce situation is often arduous; it's difficult keeping the opposing parties focused on the goal of selling the property, where often there are so many memories and emotional attachments. That being said, I do get satisfaction out of serving the families and paying back my debt to dear old Dave. md

Check out this great NYT piece:

My Broker, My Therapist - New York Times

Saturday, May 13, 2006

That 60's Show

Homes that we called "Modern" in the 60's became "Contemporary" in the 90's, and are now being called "Modern" once again. The picture here, with the hungry-looking chair, is of the inside of an East Hampton oceanfront home on the market for just south of $20MM.

I remember as a kid enjoying the ride to the beach in Westhampton as we drove down Dune Road in the family station wagon. "I see the Tee Vee house" one of the five of us would proclaim as we got to the point where we approached this oceanfront house, built on what we called stilts (pilings), that looked just like a big television. "I see the floating house" someone would sing to the tune of "" as we went past La Ronde Beach Club and came upon a structure which looked like two huge diamonds made of white plastic on the bottom and clear plastic on the top, again propped up on pilings. We figured it was built that way so it would float in a big hurricane. I myself wanted to go up and knock on their plastic door to ask if I could come over during the next hurricane so I could be in the house when it floated away. I used to fantasize about where it would end up; on Main Street? By the Country Club? Maybe if it was a really big storm, it would end up next to the ice cream place on Montauk Highway and I would live there forever and have as many banana milkshakes as I wanted...forever.

Well, I never got the ride, the ice cream place is now a bank, my doctor told me to stay away from any and all milkshakes, and the houses that got washed away in the 1995 storm in what now has become the Village of Westhampton Dunes have almost all been replaced by post-modern McMansions.

But, alas, Modern Architecture is back! Modern homes are being bought and renovated, new modern homes are being built and sold for million$ (i.e. Houses at Sagaponak) and the pre-fab Modern Home has arrived. See the link below. md

ABC News: Boom Nation: Prefab Chic

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Second Home Owner Survey Shows Solid Market, Appetite for More 06

Demographics and lifestyle trends alone will continue to drive the Hamptons real estate market. Add to that a stong economy and things look even

Second Home Owner Survey Shows Solid Market, Appeitite for More 06

Bankrate: 50-Year Mortgage Debuts in California

I wonder if anyone over 30 has to get a physical before taking out one of these 50-year loans...? md

Bankrate: 50-Year Mortgage Debuts in California

Choice Hamptons Rentals Scarce

I imagine the lack of available rentals will convince some to Culture

Flood Insurance

Some interesting points made here. Flood insurance is getting harder to find and more expensive to

RealEstateJournal | Who Really Needs a Flood Policy? There's a Good Chance You Do

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Fresh Direct Coming Back to the Hamptons !!!

A great way to avoid the lines at King Kullen and Citarella's. md

New York - LONG ISLAND CITY -- With nearly four million orders fulfilled since its first delivery in 2002, FreshDirect has become a mainstay in the lives of its customers in Manhattan, parts of Brooklyn, Queens, and Westchester and sections of Northern New Jersey, including the most recent new delivery zones of Weehawken, Edgewater, West New York, and Guttenberg. Today, FreshDirect announces the extension of its home delivery service to include parts of Douglaston, Little Neck and Great Neck, Long Island. FreshDirect's success in each additional market drives the company's continued growth.

In addition, FreshDirect is preparing for its second summer delivering to the Hamptons. Service to residents and vacationers in East Hampton, Amagansett, Southampton, Bridgehampton, Westhampton, Sag Harbor and Hampton Bays is expected to begin in time for Memorial Day weekend and will continue until Labor Day.

"Long Islanders are some of our closest neighbors here in Queens, and we are thrilled to respond to the consumer demand for our service," said Steve Michaelson, president of FreshDirect. "With each added expansion we continue to stand by our promise to provide only the freshest food and highest quality prepared meals to the consumers we service, offering the same ease-of-use that current customers associate with FreshDirect."

Based in Long Island City, FreshDirect is known for offering superior quality food with its convenient online ordering and home delivery model. From delectable chef-prepared and ready-to-cook meals, including popular new items such as Smart & Simple meals, to specialty departments such as organic, kosher and local market selections, FreshDirect prides itself on being New York and New Jersey's preeminent provider of the finest quality and freshest foods available in a convenient and cost effective way.

About FreshDirect

Founded in 1999, FreshDirect is one of the nation's leading online fresh food manufacturing and delivery services. FreshDirect is setting a new standard for fresh food production and distribution by offering unparalleled quality, product customization and value pricing from its state-of-the-art facility in Long Island City. The company is expanding rapidly and currently serves most of Manhattan and locations in Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, as well as parts of New Jersey, Westchester and Nassau County. The company's vision is to change consumers' lives by providing the ultimate shopping experience for impossibly fresh food and meal solutions. The company currently has over 250,000 customers and has fulfilled nearly 4 million orders since opening for business in September 2002. Additional information can be found at

Alleged Mortgage Fraud Ring Indicted in New York

Every day, more reports are made about mortgage fraud. This fraud cost is covered through increased fees to everyone, just like shoplifting causes retailers to increase prices to cover the losses.

In the meantime, banks are casting wide nets and developing new longer-term mortgage products for new customers as interest rates climb and the refi boom winds down.

Have you noticed the "lead generators" packing our email spam inboxes with desperate attempts to get our contact info? "CONGRATS, MR. SMITH, YOU'VE BEEN APPROVED!!!"

Inman Real Estate News - Alleged mortgage fraud ring indicted in New York

Monday, May 08, 2006

The Changing Face of the Hamptons

I remember the last time I was at the CPI. At that time, it was known as the OBI East. There was what felt like a thousand people in the room with the DJ playing Billy Idol. In the next room, there were another thousand partiers rocking to a Marshall Tucker cover band.

I once heard the Boomer generation characterized as being like a sheep eaten by a boa constrictor as it passes through time. Well, the biggest nightclub around for over 30 years is closing and the property is turning into a "private residence club" with the amenities of a Four Seasons luxury hotel.

I can't help but feel a bit nostalgic. md

Click on the link below for the story:

New York Daily News - Boroughs - Club's days numbered

Speaking of the Royal Family...

Suffolk Profiles reports the transfer of the Sagaponack compound of Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg to a new owner. Looks like the more civilized Kennedys are saying goodbye to the Hamptons. John Jr. would spend summers here as well... The property transferred at $5,750,500. md

Further Lane Bouvier Family Estate On The Market for $25m

This home was designed by architect Arthur Jackson and built in 1917. Its name means "place of peace", and the six-bedroom home sits on over six acres with a pool. See more photos below:

Lasata, Estate of the Day - Luxist: "Bouvier family "

Self-Directed IRAs and Real Estate

There is lots of talk, emails and general chatter about using your IRA for real estate investment.

"But it can be a risky investment if you don't know the rules. Here's a look at some common myths that can result in costly penalties and fees", says Phoebe Chongchura from Realty Times.
see article below:

Realty Times - Real Estate News and Advice

Friday, May 05, 2006

Hamptons - No Condo Craze Here

Much of the bubble talk that drones on and on in the news is geared toward the condominium investment segment of the market. As was said on CNBC yesterday, if you do a rain dance long enough, it WILL rain! Sure, talk of overheated markets and increased interest rates has given pause to buyers in many markets, giving some long-awaited satisfaction to the real estate "bears". Also, as we have said before, Wall Street is on a roll and is attracting investors back.

Here in the Hamptons, while we struggle with issues of affordable housing and land preservation, values continue to appreciate and sales are brisk in many segments. We have very few condominiums here, so that's not an issue - and many of the area's residents are connected to Wall Street (either directly or indirectly), which has always been a driver in this market.

So, my view? If you are a seller, your property has never been worth more, so go for it and reap the rewards of your investment. If you are a buyer, buy what you want today, because it will cost more a year from now. What a great place to be, eh?

ABC News: How Smart Is 'Flipping' Real Estate?

Thursday, May 04, 2006

It's Not Too Late for East End Rentals - New York Times

A hodge-podge of anecdotal rental info from the NY Times. In a nutshell, this is the best rental season in the Hamptons in the last four years.

It's Not Too Late for East End Rentals - New York Times

Generation Y Enters Housing Market Search

Food for thought for the Baby Boomer-centric luxury real estate market. Especially here in New York, Gen Y-ers comprise a serious market segment and have needs, wants, and requirements of their own.

Generation Y Enters Housing Market Search

News From Around The US

Locally, East End sales are reportedly brisk in the over $5MM and under $2MM markets. The number of sales is down 1st quarter '06 vs '05, but prices are stable.

RealEstateJournal | Where Vacation-Home Shoppers Are Buying, and Where They Aren't

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Inman Stories

Brad Inman's newest venture. It's almost time to do a summer update!

Inman Stories - This Could Be Interesting

Another example of consumer empowerment comes to NYC. As competitive as New York real estate is, it will be interesting to see if this site will become a trusted consumer advisor or just another "Page Six".

Hamptons Classic -

Every now and then, we like to see our market through the eyes of others...

Hamptons Classic -

Monday, May 01, 2006

Trading Places...

Reportedly, Rick Hoffman, former Hamptons Regional Manager for Prudential Douglas Elliman, has been hired by Corcoran for the same position. Recently, David Fite, former CFO for Corcoran, was reportedly hired by PDE.

The Second Most Popular Subject (North of The Highway)

Newest (and Oldest) Ways to Control Deer - New York Times

A Hedge on Your Hamptons Real Estate...

A Real Estate Boom That Keeps on Giving - New York Times